Eating is an important part of the whole daily routine as sleep that includes (mother’s) milk at first and then solid foods. I knew, just like a vicious cycle, if my son did not eat enough, that he was going to be hungry again in less than 3 hours, therefore wake up in the middle of his nap/sleep because he is hungry. I had shared with you that I could not identify different tones of crying for different needs. If he had been fed well, and woke up in the middle of his nap/sleep and is not able to go back to sleep, I knew that the problem was something other than hunger. Once I breastfed him and helped him burp, and played afterwards, I assumed that the problem was not gas and tried to find the it by trial and error.
The two reasons why the cycle goes from “Eating → Activity → Sleep” instead of Eating → Sleeping → Activity are :
- To avoid making a connection between sleeping with eating (breastfeeding)
- To help the baby be happier and more alert during activity time since (s) he is going to be full.
The bonus is less gas pain during sleeptime after play compared to sleep time right after feeding your baby. Obviously, this only appliies to daytime routine. At night, when your baby wakes up to feed, the best things is to breastfeed, burp and put him/her right back to sleep.
One of the most helpful recommendations BW talks about in regards to feeding, which is called “Cluster Feeding” helps reduce the waking-ups during night sleep. Using Cluster Feeding method, I was feeding my son 2 and 4 hours after putting him to his nights sleep. After a while, in order to know exactly how much milk he drank, I pumped and fed him with a bottle. With this method, I would put him to sleep at 7 pm and feed him at 9pm and at 11pm and then sleep from 11 pm to 7 am without waking up. I remember clearly we were able to sleep though the night by his 3rd month.
FALLING INTO SLEEP
My baby didn’t learn to fall a sleep on his own until he was 4 months old. Actually, he was not so bad until he was 3 months old. He would fall asleep in his own bed, with little pats on his back or bottom and shusshing. Unfortunately, during our overseas trip to Turkey, with the intervention of grandparents and great aunts, he got uses to being rocked on our legs. At first he would fall asleep very quickly being rocked, then it started to get harder and longer as he got used to it. He was more easily distracted as hew grew 3,5-4 months-old.
My grandma insisted putting him to sleep rocking him in various ways and places so that he would not cry. I needed to go back to work so I tried to convince her that it will be easier for everyone including my son to learn to fall asleep own his own. I needed to do this not only for me or my son. I was thinking about my grandmother’s back while she was rocking him. She was very old, I didn’t want the rocking ritual put physical burden on her either.
One Friday evening, I locked myself, my husband with my son in the bedroom to put my baby’s sleep habits back on track. My son, who was 4 months old then, poor thing, he was already ready to fall a sleep on his own. He just needed our guidance.
While my grandma and my mother in law was waiting outside my bedroom in fury, we were already in agreement with my son. They banged on the bedroom door, they threaten to kick my rear, if my baby got sick from crying. By Saturday, my son was falling a sleep on his own, in his own bed in 15 minutes, and I was receiving the congratulations.
After this incident, I was proud of myself, for following my instincts and my determination as a mother since I had overcome this hard task. I was able to see and experience other benefits of having him fall asleep by himself later on as well.
That weekend, I put my son to bed with a ceremony like we always did. For the first night, because he was surprised and did not know what was happening, he cried for about ten minutes. The “relativity of time theory” can be tested in situations like this. He cried for like 5 minutes on Saturday and Sunday. I always stayed in the room with him, comforting him, talking to him or patting him in his bottom. Since then, he has been grunting maybe for 50 seconds or a minute and going right into sleep unless he has a major problem.