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Friday, April 6, 2012

hush little baby... books about sleeping! - PART ONE


Part one of 3 blog posts I'm working on about great books with information about helping babies sleep. Hope this helps some parents out there who are struggling with getting some shut eye!

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Sleep The Brazelton Way by T. Berry Brazelton, M.D. and Joshua D. Sparrow, M.D.

On page 2, "For the baby, learning to sleep is part of becoming independent. For a parent, teaching a child to sleep means being able to separate, and to step back and allow the baby to 'learn' to be independent at night."

On page 34, "During an 8-hour period of sleep, it is normal for a baby to become wakefupl and restless at least twice; in 12 hours of sleep, at least three times. To sleep through the night, she must learn to get through these times on her own.
"Parents who feel the need to go to her at each rousing will inevitably become part of her pattern of settling back down. If they pick her up to feed or play with her, if they rock her back to sleep in their arms, they will become part of the child's self-comforting habits."

Brazelton said parents should assist the baby in reaching a drowsy state, not asleep. Once back in the crib parents can sit beside her, pat her, talk softly that she can go to sleep OK on her own. Gradually the parent does less to help the baby fall asleep.
He said that in order to do this method 3 things are needed: "the parents' determination that the baby will learn to soothe herself; the baby's ability to stretch out to 3-or 4-hour pattern without hunger inerfering; and that the baby's nervous system is mature enough to allow her to find a self-soothing pattern for herself. It seems that this often becomes possible by 4 months of age."

Brazelton wrote that by 4 months old most babies are able to self-soothe, do not need to eat in the night, and are able to sleep through the night. He does not say to "cry it out," but rather to assist the baby in helping herself fall asleep while you are there singing, patting her, letting her know you are there, yet you are not picking her up to get her to sleep or feed her. He writes to encourage a "lovey" toy or blanket, as well as encourage the thumb or a pacifier to help her self-soothe and suck.

Brazelton did a nice job of explaining the difference between nightmares and night terrors also, that start around age 2-3. Nightmares are bad dreams where a child will wake up and be able to state "I'm scared" or that it was a bad dream. Night terrors occur within 2 hours of going to bed and the child is not awake when crying or screaming out in terror in bed. The child does not recall night terrors.

Overall, a great, quick resource about helping babies sleep through the night by teaching them they are capable of doing it themselves, with your help.

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The Happiest Baby on the Block - The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Baby Sleep Longer by Harvey Karp, M.D.

The author writes about the 5 S ways of helping babies calm themselves and sleep longer. These are:
1. Swaddle
2. Side - lying a baby to the side
3. Shhh - saying this to the baby over and over
4. Swing - movement helps babies feel calm, like they experienced in the womb
5. Suck - providing breast or pacifier helps babies fall asleep

Karp states that all babies need to learn to put themselves to sleep, and most babies are able to do this on their own by 3 months of age. The reason the 5 S's work is because they symbolize the things the baby was used to in the womb.

There was tons of great information about colic in babies in this book also.

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Sleeping Through the Night - How infants, toddlers, and their parents can get a good night's sleep by Jodi A. Mindell, Ph. D.

On page 6, the author suggests predictors of sleep problems in children:
-firstborn - Typically parents of firstborns are more worried and check on their baby more often, which wakes them up.

-colic or ear infections - These babies have a difficult time sleeping.

-same bed or room - Studies show that these children in the same bed or room as their parents wake more often in the night.

-Breast-feeding- "One study found that 52 percent of breastfed infants, but only 20 percent of bottle-fed infants, wake during the night."

-Foods - In some cases a milk intolerance or other allergies interfere with sleep.

-major changes - life changes can affect a baby's sleep - moves, illness, etc.

-awake or asleep - "The National Sleep Foundation poll found that babies who are put to bed already asleep take longer to fall asleep, are twice as likely to wake during the night, and sleep on average an hour less per night."


Mindell states that most babies over the age of 6 months will no longer need nighttime feedings and should sleep on their own. She encourages putting your baby to bed awake or drowsy versus asleep, as well as avoiding feeding your baby to sleep.

On page 51, "Sleep is like any other behavior; you can manage it just like any other behavior."

On page 65, "Breastfed babies are also more likely to fall asleep while feeding and thus develop a sleep association with nursing. This means that when they wake during the night, they need to be nursed back to sleep. It is also more difficult to break this habit because the mother is so closely associated with breastfeeding. During the night the mother may have a reflexive letdown of her milk when she sees the baby. She smells like milk. It is hard to tell a baby that nursing is not allowed when he smells the milk. There is no question, though, that a breastfed baby can be a champion sleeper. The most important thing is to avoid falling into the trap of nursing your baby to sleep."

This author wrote about sleep training and a crying it out method. She wrote that the first night babies typically cry no longer than 45 minutes, the second night is typically longer - up to an hour or so. But it takes only a few days and the baby can soothe herself to sleep.

This book has a great list of resources in the back, including books for babies and toddlers about sleeping. It is full of great information.

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