Sleep Schedules - Revisited

Posted by  | Thursday, November 27, 2008  at 11:22 AM  
Happy Thanksgiving!!

Here is a post about sleep schedules (and my personal favorite sleep book) that was written a year ago in November, 2007. Enjoy!! And don't get too bent out of shape when your toddler gets way too much sugar during the holidays and won't nap. Happens to us every time!

I think it was Hollie that mentioned that Babywise was the MOST recommended book to her during her pregnancy. I would definitely agree with that! I too read this book along with Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and the Happiest Baby on the Block. Of course, it wasn't until a few weeks after Will was born since his arrival was so early, but I read most of those three books. Basically, I found myself taking away pieces of information from each to form the routine that worked best for Will.

Simply put, Babywise just didn't totally click with me and seemed too rigid for my little 3 pound preemie. You have to remember that since Will was so early he literally slept all the time until he was at least 8 weeks old. Our biggest battle was getting him to wake up enough to eat and get his calories! Either way - the babywise program by itself was not for me. I felt like a failure when Will wasn't taking organized naps yet. He did however sleep through the night right at 12 weeks old. I will say that reading Krista's post reminded me about the part about getting a full meal including both hind and foremilk and that part of Babywise I DID like and made sense.

The strategies for soothing in the Happiest Baby on the block are priceless. These strategies kept us sane once he woke up and became a real newborn. Also as we battled terrible reflux as well. (I do need to add that I do not agree with the first part about evolution and the missing "fourth trimester.") We shushed with the sound machine, swaddled with a swaddle blanket, used the swing or carried him in a sling for soothing during times of fussiness.

Being a science minded person - I still felt like there was more to know about infant sleep. It was around this time that a friend from church recommended "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child." This is the ONLY infant sleep related book that I recommend to anyone who asks. I have referred back to this book numerous times and probably read the entire thing at least twice. It just plain makes sense! The best summary I can give from what I learned (and this is quoted from the book) is that "sleep begets sleep." This is definitely counterintuitive and is hard to fathom at first, but it is so true! The more rested they are, the better sleepers they are. Along with this, we quickly learned that we needed to move Will's bedtime earlier. This was our golden ticket to sleeping through the night! The earlier he went to bed, the better he slept. At one point, he was going to bed around 5:30pm and sleeping until 7:30am!

I found this book to be a happy medium for us and sleep training. It explained the biological aspects to sleep, what we should expect sleep-wise with each developmental stage and how to keep our child well rested. There were several times around 6 months that I felt like Will was ready to cry it out, so we have used that on occasion (mainly with nap times). I realized that even though he slept through the night by 12 weeks old, it was normal that his naps weren't organized and predictable until almost 6 months old. I think babywise set my expectations too high for Will's sleep patterns, but this book helped me develop a more realistic and practical approach to his sleeping.

I still get crazy looks from people when they find out that Will's general sleep routine looks something like this at 17 months old:

7am - wake up
9am - nap
10:30am - wake up
1pm - nap
3:30pm - wake up
7pm - bed

I like to refer to our approach as a "routine" and not a "schedule" that we follow and change according to the cues Will gives us or our family schedule for that day! Because my child is fairly laid back and formed his own routine easily, I think I have too quickly forgotten all the moments of desperation that I know I felt in the beginning concerning sleep. (I'll get a wake up call come next March!)

We still do have occasional sleep issues that we have to work through, but the routines we have established have helped keep those to a minimum and for that I am SO THANKFUL!! The things that interupt his routine include teething, poopy diapers (we still have TONS of these), illness and reflux.

We recently realized that reflux was a big culprit in his sleep troubles lately. At 17 months Will is still on reflux medication despite several weaning attempts. In the beginning Will's reflux really didn't affect his sleep as much as it did his eating. He was not a good eater whether by bottle or breast. But now, it seems that it really affects his sleep. Are there any readers out there that have dealt with reflux beyond a year? Any tips for helping an active toddler that takes 15mg of prevacid once a day already?

I have really enjoyed reading all the comments everyone has posted about sleep this week! Many of you have so wonderfully shared your stories and thoughts on infant sleep and in ways far more eloquent that I could ever write. I think some common themes are:

1. It's all trial and error because every baby is different.
2. As the Mom, you have to be confident in whatever routine/schedule you establish and how exactly you establish it.
3. No one book is going to give you all the answers - read carefully taking advice with a grain of salt and applying it your situation.

Looking forward to next week!

1 comment:

April said...

One of my twins is almost 16 months and is still on reflux meds. We have only tried to wean him once, which was recently. At one point about 2 months ago, he was having trouble sleeping due to terrible coughing caused by reflux. At that time, they changed him to Nexium 10mg once a day at bedtime. That really seemed to help. This conclusion was recently reinforced when we tried to wean him off of the medicine, and the cough came right back. Also, if prevacid is not working there is also zantac. At one point, my son was also on a stomach mobility drug that helped manage him reflux, but your son is probably past that stage now. Also, you will probably want to watch what foods you give him at supper--nothing acidic in nature--which would aggravate the reflux. Hope this helps!
God Bless,

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