Friday, August 27, 2010

Keeping a baby on a strict schedule?

My sister and her baby.Image via Wikipedia

Solve Your Child's Sleep ProblemsI always thought I would go with the flow when I had liv. She would sleep when she is tired, we would eat when she is hungry and just live. On demand parenting this is sometimes called and it can work great, for some children. But children crave rhythm an consistence in their life. This is something Liv needed and all my AP books did not offer. She was cranky, fussy and over tired.
I am not a CIO fan, but for a while I was so desperate I read several popular CIO books. 2 I would highly recommend are Dr. Ferber's book, the father of CIO and Dr. Weissbluths book. They have great ideas and tips on how babies should be sleeping and how to be consistant. Doing the tips in there helped me greatly and I never resorted to CIO methods. I also used The No Cry Sleep Solution to implement a sleep plan. But with out the first 2 books mentioned I don't think the NCSS would of worked.
Babies need a schedule, or a rhythm of their day. The wake, eat, sleep. This is very babywise, but really helped. Babies like to know what to expect. Rhythm in your day can help this.
Rhythm is much looser then a schedule. With rhythm there isn't a specific time. I have seem on some Babywise blogs questions on how to get their LO to sleep to a specific time. This shouldn't be important. But what happens after they wake should be. So they know what to expect. It makes them feel safe. If Liv wakes up at 6 or 7 or anywhere inbetween I don't worry. When she was younger 3 hours later she needed a nap. I didn't look at the clock for its 9am every day naptime. No, she wasnt sleepy till 3 hrs later, why force her to stay up or force her to sleep early. There was a rhythm to out day inbetween. She knew that nap time was coming and for the most part goes down easy.
Now that we have switched to one nap our rhythm is off and she is giving me a little problem with going down. But I'm not worried, I know once she gets used to the new rhythm of our day everything will be fine.
In someways rhythm is a go with the flow. It just helps go with the natural flow of the day, in a consitant and predictable manner, but with flexablity when needed.
This is very "waldorf" style parenting, which goes a lot with attachment parenting, but is not usually mentioned in any ap books. If you are having problems with the sometimes chaos that can devolp with parenting a rhythm to your day can help greatly.
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  1. we are a "waldorf" family, and gentle rhythms have always worked for us. I still lay down with DS before he drifts off to sleep...he relies on me to do it, yes, but I think of the days when he won't need me as much and how soon they will come...I know that this time we have together, right now, is precious and fleeting.
    I haven't ever heard anything positive regarding ferber among AP folks....I'd be interested to know more about your take on his philosophy and practices...

  2. I read his book a while ago, so I might be mixing some of his advice with Healthy Sleep Habits happy baby, which is similar to Ferbers method.
    They both talk about closely watching you child to check for tired symptoms and have a nice nap routine, one that is similar but a littel different from the night time. That the day should be predictable and that napping and sleeping is almost as important as eating. There was also lots of advice for specific problems and being realistic about how much sleep your LO should get. Not every kid will do 12hrs no matter how much want them to.
    Take out the CIO stuff both offer lots of practical adivce. I was almost at a breaking point with Liv's sleep and almost was about to try CIO and the advice in these books helped me enough so I wouldn't even consider doing CIO.
    Now Ferber has even said that if you can get your child to sleep with gentler methods you should. I think if more people read his book and didn't just start sleep training immediatly at 4,5 6 months or whatever time they feel like it, there would be a lot less babies left to cry it out.

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  4. I am also a big believer in "knowing your enemies" which is another reason I wanted to read these books. The other info was intereting and am always very surprised that when ever I mention stuff in his book to parents who do CIO they know nothing about his books.