Obsession with Sleep

The biggest piece of unsolicited advice I received when I was pregnant with my first child was “SLEEP!”  Moms would always tell me to “Sleep NOW because you won’t sleep again for a LONG time!”  I heard a lot of  “sleep when the baby sleeps” advice too.  I just logged it in the back of my mind with all the other pieces of advice like “take a breastfeeding class” and “buy a wipe warmer.” (Which I never used, BTW.)

I also read all those pregnancy BIBLES (What To Expect…,  The Girlfriends Guide…) and they just had chapter after chapter of overwhelming information.  There was the chapter about the MANY delivery options. The one about the scary things that can happen to the baby.  The one about the scary things that can happen to your BOOBS.  So maybe I just skimmed the chapter on sleep.

I just summed up the sleep part to this: babies like to sleep.  They sleep a lot.  They will eat, poop, and sleep.  That’s what will happen.  Okay, got it.

Bean was a good sleeper during those first three nights in the hospital.  I later read that this is called a big TEASE.  Babies just sleep ALOT when they are first born.  It’s great!  So when we all came home from the hospital, I was ready for my new baby routine.  I thrive on schedules so I was ready for my eat, poop, sleep cycle.  Well, it worked for a little while and then…it didn’t.

I became OBSESSED with sleep.  I could not understand why (after a feeding, a bath, a swaddle, a book and a song) Daniel could not just close his eyes and fall asleep.  He would fight it. I decided to rock him a little longer in my arms so he would get a little more tired.  That didn’t work.  Each day I started messing with the schedule so I could figure out what worked best.  I would panic when Bean would fall asleep in the car seat or the swing.  My husband would tell me to “just let him sleep!”  But I didn’t want him to rock in dreamland for two hours in a car seat or swing because that would equal two hours that he would not sleep at night!  (Well, that’s what I THOUGHT).

I called my sister, who already had two kids, and she recommended this book.  I didn’t really vibe with the sleep parts, so I started researching other sleep books.  That was when my exhausted, new mommy eyes were opened wide for the first time.  There are a bazillion book just on baby sleep!  I thought I was so cool and organized with my five books and my baby planner, but NO.  I surely missed the boat on this world of baby sleep.  I read all the reviews and decided on Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. 

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It honestly changed my life. I read the book cover to cover and started to put some of the sleep habits into play.  They worked.  I learned that babies need to go to bed ALOT earlier than you think.  I learned to put Bean down for naps when I saw the very first signs of tiredness.  I learned that “sleep begets sleep” and that a baby who is overtired will sleep LESS.  I learned that your child just can’t sleep too much.  I learned about the sleep cycles and that babies have to teach themselves to sleep.  (Thus the famous “Cry It Out” method all new moms speak about.  It was like torture for me for three nights, but then it was done and my kids SLEPT). It was also a perfect book to reference during each stage of my child’s life.  Weissbluth writes clearly and really made me understand the importance of sleep to a child’s development and temperament.  It made sense to me.  It worked for me.  

I love this book so much that I now give unsolicited advice to new moms-to-be.  “Buy Weissbluth. He rocks!”  They might roll their eyes, but it’s like I uncovered this cool new mom mystery and I just have to share it. 

I still reference the book today.  I wonder when Bean will give up his nap.  (There is a chapter about that.) We are buying him a “big boy bed” this week and I worry that it will mess up his sleep.  (There is a chapter about that.) Every time I hear Annabel coo over the monitor at night, I still wake up and wait until it’s quiet again.  But I don’t go in. (There’s a chapter about that.)

My obsession with sleep continues as my children keep growing, but for now….I have to go to bed.  Good night.

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Comments

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Comments

  1. This is the very first book I bought for my Amazon Kindle. Thanks for the advice! Alex has been a great sleeper from the start. He is three months old, and he sleeps through the night (last night he went to bed at 6 pm and woke up at 7 am), but he DOESN’T NAP. Not for more than 30 minutes at a time, anyway. I’m trying to figure out the key to that. He doesn’t give me much warning — he goes from bright-eyed to fussy in very little time.

    The book keeps saying, “At four months blah blah blah,” so I’m hoping I (and he) will sort it all out soon.

  2. PopMommy Pam says:

    I had the same situation with Daniel. The no napping. But then I read the book and followed the clock figure on page 246. It really works. He may cry it out for 3 days until you get him on the schedule, but it’s great and so worth it! Babies need LOTS OF SLEEP! Good Luck!

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