Wednesday, August 04, 2010

A second note on sleep deprivation

We're still sleep deprived!

So we decided it's time for a change.

I packed Layla up in the Moby and we went to Kids on 45th, a used kid store in our neighborhood, to look for some books on sleeping. Fortunately, sleep is a BIG issue so there were lots of books. I bought, "Healthy sleep habits, happy child" by Dr. Weissbluth, on a recommendation, but the book I really wanted, 'Solve your child's sleep problems' by Richard Ferber, was not there, which I've been told has the same general ideas but is better written.

I read 'Healthy sleep habits' and it was really informative.

Apparently babies make a big shift in their sleep patterns around 3-4 months (which we had noticed) and go from a random sleep pattern to one that is more routine and adult-like. Little babies like rocking and swaddling (outlined in the 'Happiest Baby on the Block' video, which any new parent MUST WATCH), but when they transition into an adult sleep pattern they need consistent bedtimes, a consistent sleeping 'nest' (isn't your bed the best place to sleep?) and some help making sure they get enough sleep (since life is exciting now, and sleep isn't).

I also learned that staying up late really screws you. You release nasty stress hormones that make you sleep poorly and wake up too early. So, it's much better if you want your baby to sleep well to make them go to bed early and be well rested in general (sleep begets sleep).

So, we made some changes. We also hired a 'sleep doula' to have a chat with us about our plans.

We decided to shift over to the new routine cold turkey. We set up a different bedtime ritual where we put Layla down awake instead of asleep so she could learn how to fall asleep by herself. When she cried at night we didn't go to her unless it was at one of the times that she's usually actually hungry.

It was a really hard transition, for her and for us. None of us got any sleep the first night, and not much more the second night. But the THIRD night, she slept ELEVEN hours..!! STRAIGHT!!!! We were relieved (and a little destroyed). I think she was relieved too. She is clearly learning how to sleep better, which is a very useful skill to have.

Now to get our lives back on track - and emerge from the fog of sleep deprivation..!


Tony and Lisa said...

Your comment "sleep begets sleep" is so true. I was always amazed at how our kids went to sleep quicker and slept longer when they had slept well during their afternoon naps. When they missed their naps, they had a difficult time falling asleep at night. Adhering to a schedule really helps. You're doing a great job with Layla. I'm proud of you!
Aunt Lisa

J-Funk said...

Thanks for the support Lisa! It's been a tough week!!

uncle bruce said...

"used kid store" -- what a concept. We used to go to a store called "Babyland" to get baby things. We would say to each other, "let's go to Babyland and get a baby."

J-Funk said...

Ahahaha, they don't have any used kids at the used kids store, just used kids stuff. I suppose one should specify, for any people who might get confused!