My daughter is now 16 months old and I have seen the benefits of giving her as much sleep as she needs. Now I am editing and posting an entry from my previous sunmom blog to reiterate the importance of sleep in babies:
I've known of a lot of babies, even before I became a mother, who have exhausted their parents and caregivers with lack of sleep. Of course, we all love our little bundles of joy! But this lack of sleep not only lessens our energy but also IMPEDES LEARNING on our children!Babies need sleep because this is the time they process everything they learn during their awake time. If they miss sleep, precious information could just slip away. (source: The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night by Elizabeth Pantley)
Another incorrect idea was to keep the baby active, almost to the point of exhaustion, so that come night time, baby would just sleep away 'til morning! I've learned this through reading and have proven it on my own daughter --that babies need to be well rested in the morning to be able to get a good night's sleep! And to achieve that, we must maintain naptimes in the morning as well as a very stable nap and bed time routine. Actually, I have mixed that style with another parenting secret I've learned back in college Psychology...I make my daughter's whole day routinary! Here goes her day:
6:00 wake-up time / breakfast
7:00-8:00 morning outdoor play
8:00-9:30 play alone / tv time
9:30-10:00 toothbrush and bath time
10:00-11:00 or 12:00 morning nap time
1:00-3:00 free time/play time
3:00-4:00 or 5:00 afternoon nap time
5:00-6:00 afternoon outdoor play
6:30-7:30 evening quiet time
7:30-8:00 toothbrush and clean up time before sleeping
This is practically the same schedule she started with when she was just 3 months old. We can add variety to this schedule on some days like when were sleeping over at her grandparents' house, but the key is CONSISTENCY. Babies like to know what to expect. This would change as they grow older, so we'd like to take advantage of the time they still stick to our daily plans.
There was a time when I and Drew got too tired at work and get home very lazy that we just played with Ella for a few minutes, slept and left her with the nanny. She developed separation anxiety and would cry 3/4 of the day! Because of this, she resisted sleep especially when we're awake. She became too restless to sleep the entire night and the next day will just be all tantrums, tantrums, tantrums! We resolved to balance my family and work life to keep up with Ella's needs and now we're back on track!How about other mommies? What do you do to give your little ones enough sleep?
your every woman,