Sunday, October 10, 2010

Easy Sleep Baby

Two easy sleep baby methods on the market today are the Secrets of the Baby Whisperer method and The Happiest Baby on The Block method. The baby whisperer’s sleep method makes use of the concept E.A.S.Y. which stands for Eat, Activity, Sleep and You. Tracy Hogg’s book, Secrets of the Baby whisperer talks about how to calm a fussy child with techniques that help them get the rest and support for a good night’s sleep. Dr. Karp creator of The Happiest Baby on The Block states that there are 5 S components; Swaddling, Side/Stomach position, Shushing sounds, Swinging and Sucking, when used together, work amazingly well to calm a crying baby and in many cases help them go to sleep with no fuss. To summarize a little about each:

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer

Eat – We all know baby’s need to eat, but do we know how often and how much? Hogg’s Feeding Guide gives you a breakdown on how much to feed your child at every stage of development.

Activity – Try to encourage your baby to have a little bit of activity after eating as this will help their quality of sleep. It is also good that they don’t associate eating with sleeping. As the child ages they won’t wake up during the night and want to eat in order to fall back to sleep. Establishing good sleep routine early will encourage good sleeping habits later. Newborns don’t need much activity a bath, song, staring at toys or even a diaper change would be enough.

Sleep – Baby’s especially newborns can sleep between 20 minutes to 2 hours off and on throughout the day and night. This is known as a polyphasic sleep pattern. They need 14 to 18 hours a day during the first week and 12 to 16 hours a day by the time they are a month old. Sleep helps them develop and grow.

Your Time - After baby is asleep, you get precious time to do whatever you want. Maybe a little sleep of your own.

Baby’s sleep habits need two things: a regular bedtime and a consistent routine. A bedtime that occurs at the same time every night will set your baby’s internal clock so that he’s naturally sleepy at a predictable time. E.A.S.Y has structured sleep routines, but since each child is different so you may have make an adjustment here and there to find what works best for you and your baby.

Typical E.A.S.Y. Day for a 4-week-old to 4 months:

E – 7:00 – Feed

A – 7:45 – Diaper change, bath, singing..etc. (select activities that calm the mind rather than excite the mind)

S – 8:15 – Swaddle and lay baby in crib. May take 15-20 min. to fall asleep.

Y – 8:30 – Your time

E – 10:00 – Feed

A – 10:45 – See 7:45 above.

S – 11:15 – 2nd morning nap.

Y – 11:30 – Your time.

E – 1:00 – Feed

A – 1:45 – See 7:45 above.

S – 2:15 – Afternoon nap.

Y – 2:30 – Your time.

E – 4:00 – Feed

A – 4:45 – See 7:45 above.

S – 5:15 – Catnap (about 40-45 min)

Y – 5:30 – Your time.

E – 6:00 – 1st Cluster Feed

A – 7:00 – Bath, bedtime ritual

S – 7:30 – Another catnap

Y – 7:30 – You eat dinner.

E – 8:00 – 2nd Cluster Feed

A – None

S – Put baby right back to sleep.

Y – Enjoy your time until the Dream Feed.

E – Between 10-11 – Dream Feed.

This routine assumes baby doesn’t have special needs, isn’t below birth weight, etc. that may require more frequent feedings.

Your baby will want to eat when they wake up then they should be active throughout the day. Activities should be based on the child’s age and personality. Look for cues they need to nap. Like yawning or crankiness. Using a consistent routine allows your child to know exactly what to expect. If your child remains fussy after you put them down, rub their back or hum a lullaby. This approach sends out a message that you are there but want them to fall asleep on their own.

As your child gets older you need to continue your sleep routine of putting them to bed/nap at the same time every day. This goes a long way in helping the baby to learn how to fall asleep easy without your assistance. Some older children, 8 to 12 months, may find it hard to be separated from their parents when going to bed. Separation anxiety disorder is not a normal stage of development, but a serious emotional problem characterized by extreme distress when a child is away from their parents. Unlike the occasional worries that children may feel at times of separation, separation anxiety disorder causes fears that limit a child’s ability to engage in ordinary life. If your baby has a favorite toy or blanket that you feel is safe to have in the crib, it can be left for comfort. This is when "transitional" objects become important to babies. They help your baby transition from being with you most of the time to having some time away from you and becoming more independent. For these children you may have to reassure them that you are there and that everything is all right over and over again until they fall asleep. The Baby Whisperer Method should only be used on an infant who is healthy and well-fed. Never use it on a baby who is sick or who is upset for other reasons, such as physical discomfort.

The Happiest Baby on The Block

The Happiest Baby on The Block is a sleep method formulated by Dr. Harvey Karp as he believes that babies, especially newborns can experience “fourth trimester” issues trying to adjust to external stimuli and that is why they are fussy. The 5 S’s system he developed will help induce what he calls the “calming reflex”.

Swaddling – Tight swaddling provides continuous touch and support they experience while still in the mother’s womb.

Side/Stomach position – When placing the baby in these positions while holding them assists digestion and reassures support. Once the baby is asleep you can then place them in their crib on their back.

Shushing Sounds – These sounds imitate the whooshing sound made by the blood flow through the arteries near the womb. Shushing sounds can be created by a white noise machine or CD, fan, hair dryer or vacuum cleaner.

Swinging – While the baby was in mother’s womb they were used to the constant swinging motions she made every time she took a step which calmed them. Once the child was born they missed this motion that was so familiar and comforting. Engage the same motion by rocking, car rides or other swinging baby aide.

Sucking – Dr. Karp says - "Sucking has its effects deep within the nervous system and triggers the calming reflex and releases natural chemicals within the brain." This "S" can be accomplished with breast, bottle, pacifier or even a finger.

If you have a fussy baby you can try to incorporate these methods into their sleep routine. Establishing good sleep habits will let your child know they will be comforted beforehand and what is to follow next which will allow your baby to sleep better and a fall asleep faster. Even when you travel or buy a new house where a new environment may stress the child, you will be able to settle them down faster if you keep to their routine.

Remember how to make baby sleep easy involves the child in activities that calm the mind such as getting into their pajamas, taking a bath, telling stories, playing lullabies or singing a song. If your child is wound up with a lot of stored energy let them sit in a bouncer or swing before changing into a calming activity. If taking a bath is part of your nightly routine try adding chamomile or lavender oil into the water for a calming effect. If the child is older let them take their favorite stuffed animal or blanket to bed for security and comfort. Most of all bedtime should be a positive experience so indulge yourself and your baby with any of the above easy sleep baby methods that will help them and rest of the family get the rest they deserve.
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