28 March 2012

By the Book

My parents like to say that I'm raising Ike "by the book." They're mostly right. I followed the American Pediatrics recommendation that says babies shouldn't have solids until they are six months old. That wasn't really hard to follow because he honestly didn't seem interested in anything besides breastmilk until about 6 months old anyway. I gave him peanut butter well before his first birthday, but that's because neither Eric nor I have any family members with nut allergies, so I figured we were good in that regard. I was hesitant to give him any dairy products before he turned one, but that was because early on he had a very obvious milk sensitivity - based on how he reacted when I went off dairy for about six weeks. I mostly didn't want to give him dairy because I didn't want to clean up puke - especially if that puke was no longer just regurgitated breast milk.

But mostly I'm "by the book" when it comes to sleep. I had heard great things about  On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam, and I read it. I felt like the authors were beating me over the head with a brick. While some of the methods certainly appealed to me I did not like how the book presented their sleeping method as The One True Way To Get A Baby To Sleep Through The Night. I also felt like the authors implied that those babies who were not sleeping through the night via the Baby Wise method at like 3.5 weeks were probably going to have sleep problems for the rest of their lives, which would eventually turn said babies into axe murderers. Anyway, that was the tone that I perceived. So I took the tidbits I liked and moved on to a different book.

I had not heard much about Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by March Weissbluth, but what I had heard was favorable.I was given this book for free for participating in a survey. I still use this book, and I love it. The author does beat a dead horse a bit when he goes on and on and on about the importance of babies developing good sleeping habits, but beyond that I found this book incredibly helpful. It is divided, in part, by age, and it gives good averages for when children usually sleep through the night, what naps are like for babies of certain ages, and just general information about the average baby's healthy sleep habits. If you had asked me before I had a baby about how many naps most babies take, I would have had no clue. This book informed me. I also learned that Ike tends to be on the sleeps-a-lot side of things. He didn't phase out of three naps until very late compared to other kids. He is nearly 16 months old and is still taking two naps. According to the book most kids transition from two naps to one between 12-18 months. This is just good information to know. It's also useful because it gives a number of techniques and suggestions, and allows you to work things out in a way that is best for you and your family. I really liked that aspect of the book. He doesn't tout any particular method as the best and emphasizes that some methods work better for some babies and some parents than for others.

Another thing that I love about this book, is that he gives great descriptions of sleepy behaviors. One of the messages is that if your child is cranky, he is past the point of being easy to put to bed. He says it is important to recognize the sleepy behaviors that precede crankiness, and to put the kid to bed during that phase rather than wait for the crankiness. I have found this to be incredibly helpful.

I seriously knew so little about babies prior to having one, and I have found books and websites to be incredibly helpful in figuring out methods and habits that work for me and Ike. Am I "by the book"? Overall, I'd say that I am, but I also like to think that I'm not so rigidly by the book that I'm a crazy person.


Janssen said...

I love you for not liking Babywise. Bllllah.

Erin Gong said...

I also love this book - just bought it for reference for Xena.

Angela Noelle said...

I would LOVE to Skype you...for a general catch-up (why don't we do that more0)...but this would be a catalyst.

Laura {a spoon full of joy} said...

Thanks for the recommendation. While I think my son is finally on a good schedule I'll keep this in mind for the next time around...

Just found your blog through Everyday Reading. Your boy at the window is precious!

Nemesis said...

Yep. Loved "Healthy Sleep Habits." I got lucky with the Dark Lord, who just turned out to love him some sleep and basically just worked out his own awesome schedule and it was my job not to throw off his groove. :-)

I'm with you--it was nice to have information about what was generally going on at different ages, and a heads-up about when/how naps and things might change and what to be looking for. That was good stuff.