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Saturday, April 14, 2012

hush little baby! - PART THREE

One last AWESOME book about children's sleep patterns! This is my favorite of all of the sleep books I found. It has EVERYTHING in here. If I were going to buy one this would be it.

The Baby Sleep Book by William Sears, M.D., Robert Sears, M.D., James Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N.

The book starts out with a list of 5 things that will aid in good baby sleep:
1. "Find out where you and your baby sleep best.
2. Learn baby's tired times.
3. Create a safe and comfortable environment to sleep.
4. Create a variety of bedtime rituals.
5. Help baby sleep for longer stretches."

There is a large chapter on helping toddlers and preschoolers sleep - tons of great, real life examples and ideas for what works. Another chapter dedicated solely to co-sleeping - again the most I've seen from any book on that topic.

Chapter 6 is dedicate to "Night Feedings and Night Weaning - When and How?" Great information in there, because as many moms know nursing or being hungry in the night is oftentimes a reason children get into a pattern of not sleeping or falling back asleep on their own.
Some tips for getting a nursing baby to sleep longer at night:
1. Fill up baby during the day more.
2. Increase daytime touch.
3. Introduce change during daytime naps. Start helping baby sleep on her own with less nursing there instead of starting to change at night.
4. Awaken baby for a full feeding just before you go to bed.
5. Get baby used to other "nursings." Dad can give the bottle for instance.
6. Nurse to sleep - but not completely.
7. Offer a substitute like a finger or pacifier or water in a sippy cup.
8. Make the breast less accessible, or stop co-sleeping if that is part of the reason she smells and wants mommy.
9. Move out of the room for the night if need be.
10. Just say no.
11. Share night duty. Have your partner help you out.

-Dr. Sears, et al

Moving a toddler to a big kid bed
Dr. Sears first says to check that the timing is right. Typically, he said toddlers move out of their cribs between 18 months and 2 1/2 years, depending on a couple of factors, but primarily safety reasons. If a child is trying to climb out of the crib that's a sign it's time to move out. Another big factor is that another child needs the crib so the first needs to move out.

He then suggests including your toddler in the choosing of the bed, blankets, room arrangement, etc. to make it an exciting thing. Then beginning the process of having your child sleep in his own bed by using the same bed time routine he's had all along - reading, music, rocking, tucking in, etc. He suggests for a period of time parents sit in the bed or on the floor next to the bed quietly letting the child know you will stay until he's asleep. Then really stay until he's asleep so he knows it's safe to be in the new room alone. Eventually, parents should begin saying, "I have to go get a book or move the laundry" or do something that takes only a few seconds to leave the room while the child starts to fall asleep on his own. Then gradually make the times outside the room a little longer.

Nap Needs by Age
On page 188, Dr. Sears gives a great list of suggested nap needs for babies:
newborn - 3 naps a day, usually 1 to 2 hours each, or frequent, irregular, short catnaps

1-3 months - 2 to 3 naps a day, 1 to 1 1/2 hours each, with some predictability

3-6 months - 2 naps a day, 1 to 1 1/2 hours each

6-12 months - 1-hour morning nap, and 1 to 2-hour afternoon nap

12-24 months - no morning nap, 1 to 2-hour afternoon nap

2-4 years - 1-hour afternoon nap

OVERALL, a great resource!

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