SLEEP: TO FERBERIZE OR NOT TO FERBERIZE?

A friend told me that her two-year old woke up crying four times last night. Finally, she was so exhausted, she put him in her bed and he fell asleep promptly with no more night-awakenings. Sound familiar?

Well, consider this. A typical sleep cycle alternates between light and deep phases. During the times of “light sleep” it is easy to wake up. Infants and toddlers wake up during these times because they are cold or hungry or wet or teething etc. Most adults go through the light phase too, but our bodies put ourselves back to sleep.
The sooner you teach your infant how to put themselves back to sleep i.e. “self-soothe” during those light phases, the happier you will be.

You may have heard about the “Ferber method” which recommends letting your child cry it out, until they fall asleep in their bed. I have an easier way. You just have to teach your baby to be a good sleeper from the early months of life. Following is a timeline, which may help you establish good sleeping habits.

0-2 months: Place baby’s crib/bassinett next to your bed. Most often, she will fall asleep while you are feeding her. Put her down on her back to sleep (not her tummy).

2-4 months: Start putting the baby in her crib while drowsy (but not fully asleep). Hold and comfort when needed.

4-6 months: Move crib into her own room. Put her in the crib first and pat on her chest until she gets drowsy and goes to sleep. Pat her again (but try not to pick her up) when she awakens.

6-8 months: When she wakes up at night, wait five to ten minutes before you go in to see her. Then pat her without picking her up and say “time for sleep.”

8-12 months: As she get older, keep increasing the time it takes for you to go into her room to comfort her. Try to avoid picking her up.

Remember, the guidelines above are just that. They are, by no means, set in stone. Your family structure, your values, and your cultural background are huge factors in deciding your child’s sleeping habits and arrangements. Most importantly, remember that sleep is important aspect of your child’s growth and development.

Image courtesy: Dynamite Imagery / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

MY BABY “READS?”

Your baby either chews on books or chucks them across the room. “Wait, this is not a football. He is supposed to be reading this book,” you say to your hubby. Well, is he? A lot of parents don’t know what to expect when they read to their child.

Babies don’t have much of an attention span. They just stare off into space while you are reading. They may look at you and coo and smile. They will rarely bother to even hold the book, let alone look at the pictures.

A six month old may hold the book, but generally drools all over it.
A one year old may look at the pictures transiently and even point to them.
A one and a half-year old will turn pages of the book and identify some things.
A two-year old will listen to a simple story, but may not care for all the details.
A three-year old often wants to hear the same books over and over and will tell you the story by looking at the pictures.
A four-year old starts to put sounds together to read the words.

Here’s a not-so-radical idea. Start reading to your baby during pregnancy and onwards. Believe me, he is listening to you all the way. The little nerve cells are firing off and absorbing your sounds and words. Let’s foster a lifelong love of learning and imagination from day one.

Photo courtesy of: vichie81 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net