Welcome to Risky Baby Business here at More Cowbell. We talk about moms and babies every Saturday over here, particularly those of the high-risk variety. If you want to catch up on the previous posts in this series, click here.
Today I’m going to talk about a subject very near and dear to my heart: SLEEP.
I had my daughter when I was 41 years old and my husband was 50, after we’d been told to give up on our dreams of children. Since our days of all-night partying were long behind us, sleep was a pretty important subject.
Plus, as a long-time child development person, I’m aware that sleep and diet are at the root of a ton of health and behavioral issues. Still, an older mom is often a practical mom and I knew I’d be Bitch Mommy from Hell if I couldn’t get this child to sleep on a pretty regular basis as soon as possible.
- The book: On Becoming BabyWise
- The Happiest Baby On the Block video
Baby Wise – under $10 at Amazon
We worked hard at breastfeeding (here’s my post on THAT) and followed Baby Wise to the letter. We had a good experience with it and Baby Girl went about 4 hours between feedings within her first two weeks and slept through the night at 9-10 weeks.
If you’re willing to work hard for the first three weeks to get great sleep in the coming months, Baby Wise is the best game in town. I recommend you read it early so you can internalize it before you have trouble concentrating in your last trimester.
Note: for Preemies or babies who have issues with failure to thrive, all bets are off in those early months and I feel for you.
Happiest Baby on The Block – $17.99 at Amazon
We lived in awe of the 5 S’s from this video (that’s swaddling, side or stomach position, shushing, swinging and sucking). Swaddling and shushing were by far the most effective means for keeping our baby happy.
My other secret weapon, learned from this video, was the blow dryer. Yep, you heard me. The whole point in that first month is to get the baby turned around to sleep at night and to recreate the conditions of the womb so that child can relax and adjust to the world easier.
If Baby Girl would NOT go to sleep, I turned on the blow dryer. It worked like a charm, every time.
What sorts of events wrecked our sleep?
One of the most frustrating truths of parenting is that it’s like the weather in the Midwest: stick around, it’ll change! Also, what works for one child isn’t guaranteed to work for the next one.
Some things that are likely to make sleep patterns change, or simply keep your child awake:
1. Change of environment
Like I said, our baby slept like a champ from about 2 months on. Until we moved in with my mother-in-law when my daughter was six-and-a-half months old. All bets were off at that point. Not only did she wean herself, almost overnight, but suddenly she became a light sleeper.
Once we were able to move her regular crib over, and everyone wasn’t running around stressed out, caring for a cancer patient, she went back to her previous sleep patterns.
Every baby doesn’t wake up screaming when they cut teeth, but ours did. All night long. We tried everything – some worked and some didn’t. For information on teething, click here.
We freaking love those Simethicone gas drops (Target seems to have the best price) – the brand name is Mylicon. We give them to our daughter to this day whenever we give her a new food. Everything gives this kid gas. She handles it better now, but she used to wake up screaming and was unable to be soothed until the pain was gone.
Twenty plus minutes of walking her and massive gas explosions in her diaper would usually calm her down enough to get her back to sleep. (But, yes, it sucked.) My advice is – if you have a gassy baby – change your diet or the formula if you bottle feed, and use gas drops at each feeding.
Note: The directions on the gas drops lie. They tell you to give them part way through the feeding. LIARS! Our rockstar pediatrician clued us in that you’ll get better results by giving the drops before you start feeding and she was right.
4. Growth spurts
Here is a great link on when to expect growth spurts for your baby. The post is extremely accurate about how to tell whether your child is experiencing one. Our baby woke up in the middle of the night whenever she had a growth spurt and sucked down many ounces of food. When the growth spurt was over, she’d go back to her normal habits (and we’d fall into bed exhausted).
The few times our daughter has been sick, sleep is a dicey business as well, but it is for me too, so that one never surprised me.
What kept the babies in your life awake? Do you have any tips or tricks that have been handed down in your family? Please do share the wealth in the comments – we’ve got lots of pregnant ladies tuning in!