Friday, April 9, 2010

Sleeping through the night and Co-sleeping

I confess: I was bought by the "establish a night-time routine to help babies sleep longer" marketing and the sleeping-through-the-night mojos I keep reading about. But, it was because of the studies that accompanied it that a lot of a baby's development happens during nighttime sleep.

And so we began to establish a bedtime routine. We bathe him, or rinse rather with lavender-scented bath salt, massage, then nurse to sleep. The result? Well. We got to sleep earlier, too, or rather, I did, since J would often stay in the living room and use the computer then come up after a half-hour or so and I would usually drift off to lala-land while my baby nurses. And Jack-Jack? He would sleep through the night on some nights, on other nights... Not so much. He'd sleep for 4-5 hours straight, then 3, then 2, and then 1. Sometimes 4, then 3, then 3. There's no specific range on just how many hours he sleeps per stretch. And I often wonder, if my baby sleeps enough, if we're doing right by starting his bedtime routine at around 8-8:30PM or it should be earlier so he'd sleep longer...

I work full-time outside the home and I usually am able to get home at around 6:30-7PM. And as much as I want to take him to bed and let him sleep earlier, say, around 7:30PM at the latest, I couldn't. Why? I'm selfish. I want to be the one who helps him go to sleep. I want to be there for his nighttime wash, especially now that it's summer here. I want to be the last person he sees before he closes his eyes.

And so here comes my problem: I've been wanting to push his bedtime routine earlier so that he'd get more sleep and hopefully sleep through the night more (especially when I heard J's cousin's baby, who's a month younger than Jack-Jack, sleeping through the night, sleeping at around 6:30PM and then waking up at 5:30AM, of which I was jealous envious is the right term actually unless I heard it wrong since my babysitter told me that the baby feeds more during the night so maybe, although the baby doesn't fully wake up at night, she still does wake up during the night) but I couldn't implement it because of my working hours (which is 8:30AM to 5:30PM). I was also a bit worried since he nurses a lot during the night, especially since he usually stirs up after about an hour after his first nighttime nursing to nurse again. And because of this, I was constantly bugging J that we have to go home early when we're out with the baby, that we eat at this time so Jack-Jack can do his routine already, etc.

I mean, we know our lives would change once we have a baby and well... I didn't realize it would be such a big change. We can't hang out with our friends too late into the night anymore without me lugging my pump. I can't drink too much alcohol else it'd pass to my milk and I don't even want to think of the consequences of alcohol entering my baby's young system. I quit smoking (well yes, I already did while I was pregnant but I actually do miss it). Date nights are out of the question (but lunch dates are very much welcome). Movie nights are seldom and it's always "we have to get home by 8!" so it's always a weekend movie and lunch time kind of thing. Creativity in lovemaking takes a whole new meaning (since Jack-Jack is just a few inches away from us... ha!). My patience is being tested daily by my baby since he learned how to roll over and grab and reach for things every diaper change, bath time, clothes changing time...

I was beginning to worry if my baby gets enough sleep even if we're not starting his bedtime routine at around 7PM. He sleeps during the day, too, and when we're out, I'm careful to let him sleep on me when I sense that he's already sleepy even if we're not yet home and not able to do our routine. He'd sleep on my chest, in my arms, and then when we get home and he's still asleep, I won't put him in his playpen. I'd sit down and let him continue his sleep in my arms. And when he wakes up, we change his clothes and off we go to our bedroom.

It's worrisome. This counting of sleep. And thinking if the advantage of co-sleeping that I'd be able to nurse him when he needs to without really standing up (just going to the other side of the bed so he could properly latch on my breast) is hindering his development. I'm easily worried when it comes to Jack-Jack especially when I hear things about other babies that follow the "studies" I read even when I feel that he's actually doing ok and that there's nothing to worry. I mean, he's a happy baby! He barely cries and it's usually when he's hungry I missed his signal or when he's overtired or when his nappy needs a change. So I was so happy when I read this post in AP. And it eased my worry.

I then started searching for more reassurances that what I feel is right and I saw a lot from So if you're also worried, read up:

  • Sleep

  • Sleep Studies

  • Comfort Nursing

  • Family Bed

    Happy reading. And... Don't worry. Follow your instincts. More often than not, they're right.
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