Sleep is Good

I think I have an unhealthy mental obsession with sleep. And not for myself. For Finley.

I had NO idea how much babies slept. This aspect was not discussed in the baby classes we attended and it never came up in conversations with my friends with kids.

Sleep is so important for babies. Here are some things I’ve learned in the last few weeks:
~ the more babies sleep during the day, the better they sleep at night
~ between naps, babies are awake for only 45-90 minutes
~ an 8-week old (which is how old Finley is) should sleep around 15 hours a day
~ sleep is important for babies’ brain development

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Finley sleeping on Bridget – aww!

At Mother Baby Hour a few weeks ago, a mom mentioned the book The 90-Minute Baby Sleep Program by Dr. Polly Moore and what a difference it made in her child. I got my hands on it last week and read it in a couple days (skipping the section for babies six months to a year). The gist of the book:
~ babies operate on 90 minute sleep and awake cycles (often times they’ll sleep and be awake in 90 minute increments)
~ Dr. Moore recommends establishing the N.A.P.S. routine: note time of waking, add 90 minutes to know when baby will need to go down again, play (this includes eating), and soothe baby back to sleep
~ watch for baby’s sleep cues: yawning, rubbing eyes, fussiness, blank stare, etc.
~ whether a baby sleeps for 20 minutes or three hours, the 90 minutes of awake time begins

I’ve been tracking Finley’s daily schedule using the Total Baby app for weeks now, and it was interesting to go back weeks before I knew about the 90 minute “theory.” Often times, Finley was awake for 60-90 minutes between naps!

If anything, this book has made me pay closer attention to Finley’s sleep cues. Also, the book offers some piece of mind in that if a baby goes past 90 minutes and becomes inconsolably fussy, she’ll likely be ready to sleep after another 90 minutes.

The unpredictability of Finley’s sleeping (which really has been amazing in what I’ve gathered from reading and hearing about other babies) is what gets me. Last week, Finley slept for almost nine hours STRAIGHT one night.

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She apparently blew lots of bubbles and ended up with these funky white lips.

Early on I felt a teensy bit of anxiety each night when going to bed, not knowing when I’d be waking up and for how long. I do my best to create a safe and soothing sleep environment (swaddle, swing, pacifier, white noise, my nursing tank), but beyond that, I cannot control how long Finley sleeps. This includes her naps, which typically range from one to three hours each.

Yesterday was not a good nap day, and it was so frustrating. While she took one 2-hour nap in her carseat (which included a walk to Orange Leaf), all of her naps were 40 minutes or less. I felt so defeated, and it made me very nervous that we were in for a terrible night of sleep (see first bullet point). To my surprise, she slept like a champ last night: 8:30pm – 1:30am and 2:00am – 6:10am.

So what did yesterday teach me?

a) I can’t control everything. No matter how much I read about sleep, Finley’s going to determine when she sleeps and for how long. All I can do is help her go down when she shows that she’s ready.

b) I need to chill the heck out. When things don’t go as well as they had been, this doesn’t mean it’s not going to get better.

c) I need to keep napping. It had been a few days since I had napped, so I think this made point a difficult and created point b.

When Finley woke up yesterday morning after a less than awesome night of sleep, I sleepily shuffled into her room, bent down to pick her up out of the swing, and she smiled at me.

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Way to put me in my place Finley.

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