Lately, we have been working really hard at helping Noah get plenty of good sleep. Many people say that babies will sleep when they need to. But with Noah, we have noticed that this is simply not true. Noah will stay up all day and most of the night if he has the chance! For awhile, we had a pretty cranky baby, and looking back, I realize that a lot of the crying in the car seat and scream fests in the evening were probably a result of too little sleep.
A friend turned us on to a great book when I was pregnant: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. In general, the author points out that sleep begets sleep. So while it seems counterintuitive to think that taking three naps during the day will lead to better night sleep, it does in fact work! I couldn't believe how naturally Noah fell into the routine. It's more of a challenge for me to adjust to the schedule so that we are home when Noah needs to sleep, but it does work and I know he is better rested because of it. It's interesting how much more happy and smiley he is during his awake time now that we are doing our best to "protect the sleep" as the author describes it.
We are also still big fans for the swaddle when it comes to sleeping. Noah didn't seem to be fond of being swaddled at first, so for about a month or so, we didn't swaddle him. However, after a few long and frantic nights, we decided to break out the Miracle Blanket. We had been given two of these little treasures as shower gifts before Noah was born, but I just thought it seemed really complicated and I was a bit intimidated by the seemingly complex directions. The Miracle Blanket is really like a little baby straight jacket in a way, and I didn't know how I felt about tying my baby up! But, I decided enough was enough and we gave it a try. Noah slept 6 straight hours that night. OH. Well then! We have been big fans of the Miracle Blanket ever since. Even Noah seems to be a huge fan - when he's really tired, he actually straightens his arms down by his sides - the exact position they are in when he is all wrapped up! The only downfall to the Miracle Blanket is that Noah is getting too big for it! We've already had to forgo putting his feet in - now we just put socks or footed PJs on him and do the wrap around his arms only. It's amazing how much it helps him wind down and stay asleep! After learning about the "fourth trimester" during which it is really helpful to do all you can to mimic the security and comfort of the womb - swaddling, white noise, gentle movement, etc. - we started to realize the power of the swaddle! (Thanks again to the Lindorfers and Gallianos for the Miracle Blankets - they are both in CONSTANT rotation!)
We feel fortunate that Noah started sleeping well at night pretty early on, but the naps during the day were a challenge for the first 3 or 4 months. But now, with some good advice from the book, we've found a pretty good solution. I am definitely not one to read a book and then treat that book like the Bible when it comes to parenting, but I would say that this particular author seems to really have a handle on how to develop healthy sleep with your baby or child. He outlines solutions for pretty much every possible sleep 'problem' imaginable. I would recommend it to anyone!
And on that note, a big THANKS to the tip from our friend Julie, for suggesting the book to us in the first place. Yeah for nap time!
No, Noah does not usually sleep on the floor - this was a Daddy photo shoot :-) As you can see, Jack is supervising in the background:
Noah, snoozing in the Miracle Blanket: