September 29, 2012

Hi lovelies! Since having my baby, I've been a bit obsessed with sleep. It's probably because I wasn't getting any. Hubby and I had a couple of rough weeks but we made some changes (bought a co-sleeper, went to bed earlier) and also Sofia started her own and better night time routine so now things are MUCH better.

In the spirit of infant sleep schedule, I though it would be fitting to share this post from Katie Moore who blogs about healthy living, baking, fashion and....BABIES :)

Having a new infant in the home introduces many changes to established routines. After months of preparing for post-delivery options like breastfeeding, cord blood banking, or circumcision, mothers need to prepare for new everyday routines like feedings and diaper changings. Few of these changes affect mom more than disruptions in the sleep schedule. Getting less than the optimum 7-9 hours of sleep each night reduces tolerance to all manner of stressful situations. A cranky mom is less likely to correctly interpret her infant's non-verbal communication.

Even though this is understood, sleep disruptions are an accepted sacrifice during infancy. Mom will benefit by learning the sleep schedules associated with different stages of development. Mom also benefits by using exercise, meditation and nutrition to support her healthy sleeping habits. Even without a set routine, it is possible for mom to stay well rested and ready to respond to baby's needs during the first month.

What is the Infant Sleep Schedule?
After coming home infants usually sleep 16 or more of every 24 hour period. Their digestive systems hold very little, they have not developed Circadian rhythms for distinguishing day and night. Unfortunately for mom's schedule, these 16 hours of sleep is broken into periods of 3-4 hours punctuated by the need for food. Formula feeding may result in longer periods of sleep, but this is only due to the difficulty of digesting formula. Babies on formula tend to eat more at a time and burn more calories during sleep.

Is Co-sleeping Helpful?
Some moms’ response to the frequent feeding needs at night by bringing baby into the bed. Co-sleeping does make it easier to respond to baby’s needs and it is a well-documented practice in many modern cultures stretching back to pre-history. Experts have mixed opinions on the topic with some suggesting mom simply bring the crib into the room. All agree on the need to provide safety by following a few rules with co-sleeping.

* Baby should sleep on his back.
* The mattress and bedding should be firm to discourage rolling or smothering hazards.
* No other small children should be in the bed.
* There should be no gaps in the headboard that could trap baby.
* Babies should never be left in the bed alone.

Are There Ways to Encourage a Tired, Restless Baby to Sleep?
A most frustrating experience is a tired infant who nevertheless refuses to sleep. These tactics for promoting sleep should be learned early. They will continue benefiting mom and baby in the years ahead.

The environment is extremely important. Darkness and a cool temperature are most conducive to rest. Some babies enjoy a very peaceful sound, such as a meditation CD with night sounds at low volume. Eliminating light sources is a way to encourage production of melatonin. Consistency is another factor often overlooked. Babies thrive on consistency, as it is the first sign of safety. Perform the same routine for each naptime for the best results.

The best way to encourage healthy sleep is learning to recognize the signs of tiredness. Droopy eyes and crankiness are your cues to begin the nap ritual. With awareness of baby's needs, moms can prevent most sleep problems.

“Katie Moore has written and submitted this article. Katie is an active blogger who discusses the topics of, motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things Mommy. She enjoys writing, blogging, and meeting new people! To connect with Katie contact her via her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter, @moorekm26.” 

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