Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 6: 20 Day Commitment to Becoming a More Mindful Mother

Getting to my post a little late today as we woke up with no heat this morning and most of the day has been dedicated to figuring out our furnace issue.

Sooooo today's topic is sleep. Both my kiddos are napping at this time. Is this normal for our day? No Way! My son does not nap. He stopped napping way before the birth of my daughter. He is tired but he will not sleep. My daughter naps twice a day usually once for a long period in the morning and one shorter nap in the afternoon. She goes to bed at 7pm and wakes probably on average 6x a night until 6am when she is up for the day. My son goes to bed at the same time and wakes up and will not go back to sleep in his own bed by himself.

Are we all getting enough rest? No I do not believe so. If it was only one child waking it would be fine but with both kids waking we cannot even trade off to ensure the other gets rest. You never know how important sleep is until it is disrupted on a nightly basis.

Sleep is crucial to my sanity. It's crucial to my kid's behaviours and rhythms. How to find the optimal sleeping solution for our family?

I've actually had sleep in my mind almost every day for a couple months now. I am currently researching food allergies and may be putting my son on an elimination diet after Halloween. I suspect food allergies may be the culprit of his nightwaking and current state of nastiness. With my daughter I believe it may just be a matter of perseverance, eating more solids and crawling and walking, breaks between teething etc. Not nursing her at night is not an option. Baby's under 1yr acquire 25% of their daily calories at night and early nightweaning may cause breastfeeding problems later. That being said I would kill for a 4hr stretch at night. The actual definition of sleeping through the night is a 5 hr stretch. This would be ideal at this point since she's waking every 2hrs. I may try homeopathy with my son if the elimination diet does not work.

We are a cosleeping family who do not believe Cry It Out (CIO) is ever an appropriate solution. There is a huge amount of research out there that shows that CIO is detrimental to the health and emotional wellbeing of a baby/child. It's also been shown that baby's left to CIO do not wake less often they just do not cry out when they wake (because they have been shown no one will come) and will often develop sleep issues later when they can physically get out of bed on their own.

Parenting is not a 12hr a day job. It's 24/7 and my children deserve me to gentle and compassionate with them in the middle of the night as well as the middle of the day. It is not their fault they do not know how to get back to sleep on their own. Sometimes sleep deprivation can make this nearly impossible. I have been heard to sternly tell my daughter to "STOP TOUCHING ME", When her little hands have reached out to pinch and fiddle at 2am. That being said, I am certain that I would be getting less sleep if I had to get up to go to her in a different room. She would be fully awake and so would I. With her in a crib sidecarred to my bed she has her own space and when she wakes I can either nurse her or resettle her without even sitting up most of the time.

I could go on all day about sleep. But some things I do believe work and are gentle:

1. Early bedtime
2. Routine
3. Naps
4. laying a child down awake but drowsy how they fall asleep is how they want to stay asleep.
5. Not nursing completely to sleep just until the sucking slows.
6. Swaddling first and then grobag when they get to big for swaddling

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