Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Newborn Hatches IntoAMonsterWhoWillOnlySleepInMyArms

My baby is 12 weeks old today! She's hurtling out of the newborn phase. In any event, she's outgrown her newborn clothes. In these past weeks, she's had two doses of vaccinations and a surgery. Nothing too serious but frightening for the new parents nonetheless.

These past months have been exciting, to say the least. She's moving from being a sleepy (and portable) newborn to a lively girl with clear likes and dislikes. It's been fun taking her out. Last month, we took her to a friend's reception and she just slept in her soft carrier through all the noise. Everyone commented on how cute and calm she was.

I'm trying to get her into a daytime nap schedule as well. To this end, I've been reading two books:

  1. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth; and
  2. The No-cry Nap Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
The first book contains very little on newborn sleep and just tells me that baby will be consolidating daytime sleep from weeks 12 to 16 while the second book is helping me transition her from in-arms sleeping to on-bed sleeping.

Dr. Weissbluth provides good information on how infants sleep, which is presented in a scientific manner citing lots of studies and statistics. However, my problem with Weissbluth's advice is that it's excessively harsh, conveying the message that babies are master manipulators who will use crying to reinforce bad sleeping habits. I'm sure cry-it-out or CIO will help the sleep-deprived, frazzled parent of a similarly situated child but I'm not going to, nor does he advise me to, use this method on a three-month old. He does, however, insist that babies be on a routine from as young as six weeks and says that you've missed out if you haven't done so already. Hmm.

Pantley's book, however, comes from experience - she's the mother to four children and her book is written as such. It isn't judgmental and doesn't make the reader feel like a failure for being unable to ease their child into a routine. I didn't think my baby was ready for a routine until now, when I see her fighting sleep to stay awake and play. Also, falling asleep isn't as easy for her now that she can see things and is able to process her world.

My plan for this 12th week of hers is to watch her carefully for signs of fatigue and note down the times at which these occur. I will also note down when she wakes up from her naps that she currently exclusively takes in my arms. Oh my poor, poor, aching back.

Why didn't anybody teach me this when I was pregnant?
At the start of her 13th week, I'm going to check for a pattern and start to put her down in the 30 mins leading up to sleepy time. My plan is to institute a nap-time routine of a bum wash in warm water, gentle massage with lotion, diaper change, nurse, and rocked to sleep with an attempt to lay her down in the crib or bed once she's asleep. I will end up bent worse than a 90-year old if she keeps napping in my arms.

This week will also see us having fun in the crib because she doesn't particularly enjoy being in there. I'm going to try playing with her in there using my teddy bear - teach her object permanence - and basically make it a cozy, safe space that she will feel comfortable napping in. 

Sleep is important for babies - it's when they learn how to live in the world they simply exist in while awake. She sleeps well at night - 12 hours with two brief awakenings for a diaper change and a feed and she goes right back to sleep. She's also really good about falling asleep by herself after these awakenings. I've noticed that on the days she doesn't sleep well during the day, she has trouble staying asleep at night thereby convincing me of the necessity of good daytime sleep.

More updates later.

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