Monday, July 8, 2013

Sleeping Theories and Book Reviews

I love to read, I always have, but I realize not everyone is like me. There are some who love to read, there are some who hate reading, and there are others who are indifferent. Regardless, if you are a parent of a child of any age, I would highly recommend the book "Healthy Sleep Habits for a Happy Baby" by Marc Weissbluth M.D. This book is absolutely amazing and how we got Levi into such a wonderful sleep habit. And, honestly, I think it has a lot to do with his disposition. I realize that personality is a big key, but one of the big points in this book is that if the child isn't getting enough sleep, they will get over tired and not be able to sleep nor function well. Then they get irritable and don't learn or adapt as well. 

What I find funny, is how much you can relearn. I am reading through this book for the second time. I thought that we had "messed up" with Levi by making sure his naps were in his crib with a sound machine (he slept really well with it. We tried not using it and he never slept well), preferably in a bedroom that was semi-dark or at least quiet during any sleep/nap times. At bedtime, we tried making a difference and make it even darker, etc. and the routine was different. Where I thought we messed up was the fact that after 6 weeks, he struggled to sleep outside of that routine (sound machine, dark room, etc.). Oh, he'd sleep, but not as well. I thought with this next one, we'd let the baby sleep out with us in the living room more during nap times...until I re-read the book and was reminded of why we had done what we did with Levi. 

I won't go into great detail because I would just really recommend you read the book. What I did was read and devoured the section for Levi's age and then skimmed the rest of the ages (the book goes into the teenage years!). So, that makes reading it a bit less intimidating. But basically, his reasons for not letting your child sleep without being in a still bed (he isn't against swings and such, but says that there will be times when those can't be used or they won't work and it's best for baby to learn to sleep without them) or in a living room with the rest of the family past 6-8 weeks is because even though they are sleeping, they aren't in a deep sleep and it basically isn't doing much at all. It causes poor baby to become over tired and then have issues going to sleep and naps become shorter and shorter until they are pretty much non-existent and parents are left with an irritable baby that refuses to sleep. I was relieved to realize we did good with keeping Levi's naps and sleep times "sacred" as much as possible and though we had a pretty rigid schedule, it was a flexible rigid schedule. hehe Sometimes it frustrated friends and family because that meant less awake time, but we had to do what we thought was best for our little guy despite what others thought even with something as simple as sleep. 

Another thing he talks about and it's fascinating is the fact that if your child has issues going to sleep at night and wakes up super early in the morning, you should put them to bed early. Or if their naps are too short or nonexistent, then you should also put them to bed earlier. I won't explain his reasons for doing so. Get the book!! :D

Another amazing thing is he talks about all the different methods. We used a mix of cry it out (which in the end, he ended up crying less than if we hadn't used it). But, he doesn't really care what method you use. He talks about how to use all of them to achieve healthy sleep habits, which I appreciate. It's an awesome book and I'm glad I decided to re-read it because obviously I forgot important information already! lol

Check this awesome book out. Rent it from your library, buy it, borrow it. (PS. I own it if you know me and would like to borrow it).