|Esther slept here on the table the first couple months of her life, until she needed more darkness.|
Continued from the last two posts...
7. Sleep the baby in another room.
This secret goes against SIDS advice, which is to sleep them in your room for your six months. I, however, am an exceptionally light sleeper, so I face the option of either sleeping or getting no sleep. I follow all other SIDS advice (but for sleeping them on their backs), including the most important related to fresh mattresses and sheets, and sleep my babies far enough away that I don't hear every grunt, but close enough that I hear their cries, usually in the next room over with a closed door between us.
For Gideon, this meant he slept in the bathroom beginning at three weeks. For Esther, it meant she slept in the living room/lounge the first night (after having her in my room all day and not sleeping). I think there was a direct correlation to how soon they slept long hours through the night. Gideon started consistently sleeping seven-eight hours through the night at four weeks. Esther was consistent at 10-12 hours at four weeks, but she would go nine or 10 hour stretches almost immediately, if not consistently.
I'm convinced the correlation is due to two factors: not only can we not hear every grunt and are therefore responsive only when it's serious, but they can no longer smell their mothers. If I'm not mistaken, smell is one of the most developed of babies' senses at birth. It makes sense to me that if they can't smell mother's milk, they are more likely to sleep through their transitions (see next post for a discussion of sleep cycles).
8. No stimulation during night feeds.
My sister taught me that you need to teach babies the difference between night and day, including when they wake in the night for a feed. This means the light should be kept as low as possible, and there should be no talking and no eye contact during the twelve night time hours. After eating, they are put straight back to bed. I still do this with my toddler when he wakes in the night when sick or from a loud noise. He knows if it is dark, it is time to sleep.
9. Night routines.
Another teaching of my sister is to differ the going to bed versus the going down for a nap routine. Nap routines for me involve swaddling (prior to three months), singing to them the same song, and patting their bum once they are in bed. Night-time involves a bottle and breastfeed, bath time, and being fed the last little bit swaddled in the semi-dark before being sung to and kissed near their basket. I try to do everything at the same time and in the same way. When traveling, I try to follow the same routine as best I can, even if on an airplane (Gideon's received several "baths" in airplane lavatories.)
To be continued!