Friday, September 07, 2012

This Mama Loves Sleep training..

Hi all this is my first time guest blogging at The View from Mama's Desk. Hope I can contribute more of my little tips for raising children :)

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Sleep expert? Nah I am definitely not one but I think I do better at the above. Yes, sleep training.

For every newborn each family has, I would say one of the (countless) challenging tasks will be one of the topic that I am going to write today. You may ask how you, a new mum on the block, could do this. I would always tell them , "Go goggle it!"

Many years ago when I was expecting my first, google and facebook were not as popular as now. Call me old school but I prefer to read info from books. I count myself lucky as my preschool diploma did came in handy.

Ok let's start the ball rolling.

How I started:

Inculcate habits since young (or better from the womb)

But I did follow this myth and I think it works for my kids in a way or another. I had a rule, if I was/am pregnant, I always go to bed by 11pm. It is easy when I had my elder then and when it came to my 2nd one, it was also quite a breeze cos my elder sleeps about 10pm. So I had this nice and comfortable night routine for the whole of both pregnancies. Though I had to make my way to the loo in the middle of those nights, but I never had a problem plonking back to bed.

Provide a time difference environment 

I once had a student's father who shared with me how he managed to "train" his son to sleep through out the night when he was 2mths old and boy I was in for a shock! But after umpteen readings on the net, I was finally convinced that sleep training can start as early as 4mths (or even earlier if baby is ready).

So I did. For both kids, how I trained them was to keep them active during the day and I even went to the extent to wake them up from their naps if I feel the naps were getting too long and too close to their bedtime. I was that routine freak who did not want to bend the rules on this. I started this training when both were about 3mths old. And technically their night sleep hours started to extend from a 3hr to a 5hr.

Under this category, I also trained my babies to take their day time nap in the living room / bedroom with curtains drawn open. Do some day activities routines such as switching on the television or turning on the vacumn while the baby sleeping. Fret not, you will be surprise that sometimes babies sleep better with some of these "noises". And on the other hand, you can create a night time routine for your child e.g. by giving him or her a quick bath, a massage and perhaps some reading or lullaby follow by a milk feed. On top of that, also provide a softer lighting environment in the night so as to ease them into bedtime. 


Plan your child's feedings

For the nth time, I am the routine freak mom who believes that training a routine baby was the easier way out. 

For a typical young baby say about 3mths or so, their regular milk feedings can be every 3 hours or so. Here is a feeding scenario:

Baby's feeding time 6am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm, 9pm, 12am, 3am and cycle repeats.

So from about 3rd month old or so, I tried to give feedings at a overlap timing: say baby needs to drink milk at 9pm and 12am I would bring forward the 12am feed to 1130pm then after a week, pull it to 1130pm feed to 11pm rather. From this feeding pattern, I realized my babies would sleep better and sleep longer. So instead of waking up at 3am, they will wake up later at 4am or even later. (If baby will sleep from 1130pm to 4am mean you will get 4.5hrs of sleep!) This also depends on how satisfied your baby can get with the total amount of milk he had from 9pm-11pm. Typically a baby would require about 2-3weeks to set into a new routine, so do make sure that you need to persevere with your new routine with your baby.

And from the 6th month, things got easier as semi solids were introduced to them.
Here is the schedule for my kids when there were abt this age:

6am milk
9am cereal
12pm milk
3pm cereal
6pm milk
8 pm cereal
930pm milk

If you can see, I had deliberately insert an extra feed of cereal at 8pm so that it will help to fill the little stomachs of your baby.

Ok, maybe I cheat a little, I started semi solids with my children as young as 5.5 mths and I straight away introduce at the 8pm feed so they were literally sleeping through the night (meaning sleep at 9pm to 6am when they were about 5.5mths). This is one great way for me to gain back my beauty sleep as studies have shown that sleep depriviation is the major factor to weight gain.

Technically this method works for both  my kids and in fact the younger one could already sleep through out the night as young as about 6mths plus. You can also refer to my previous post on how to prepare pureĆ© for your baby.

Hope my sharing helps! Good luck!
Disclaimer: This blog entry is non advertorial based and no monetary compensation was made to me, all opinion are of my own.

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