May 6, 2008

The Baby Whisperer to the rescue

I've been tracking Nat's feeds and patterns the last 3 days and concluded that her interrupted sleep was a hunger issue. No wonder she started waking up, she's a growing girl and was not drinking as much as she should at her age.

The reason I concluded it was hunger and not a habit was because the timings were erratic, I've upped her day feeds by an ounce and it seems to be working. She slept for 5hrs continuous the last 2 nights. Another 2-3 extra ounces during the day would probably yield 6 hrs, will slowly aim for that.

According to The Baby Whisperer, babies undergo growth spurts at certain intervals and that's just what Nat was experiencing. The next time something similar happens, it signals time to up her feeds.

Ok, now I feel guilty for blaming the MIL for overstimulating her last, last Sunday...although the erratic sleep started that day. But still the MIL continues to bug me at times.

This past Sunday, she said I bullied Nat...just because I installed a new rule about no playing after 8 pm to minimise overstimulation. She kept talking to Nat and picking her up, each time telling the baby her Mummy bullied her and wanted to discipline her. And then she asked whether I had been playing Nat the music she brought...told a white lie and said 'Sometimes." I shall have to go find my own CDs soon!!

When Nat hits 4 months, I will start implementing the routine I have outlined for her. Essentially, it's based on The Baby Whisperer's book on problem solving, apparently babies like predictability and routine because it's comforting, plus it makes it easier to identify problems later on.

A routine is not the same as a timetable, it's more of a cycle repeated over the course of the day. The Baby Whisperer's routine is called EASY, which stands for Eat, Activity, Sleep and time for You. A 4-month old baby goes on the 4hr routine. 30 mins feeding, 1 - 1.5hrs of play, and 1.5 - 2 hrs of sleep. While baby sleeps, the parents/caregiver can rest or do their own thing. And then the cycle repeats itself.

At any one point, you know what stage of the routine they are at, so if they fuss, you know it's something related to either food, activity or sleep and thus easier to problem-solve. E.g. if they have eaten and are fussing, you know it's not a hunger issue.

I haven't finished reading the book yet, but I like the advice so far. I don't want to be a victim of 'accidental parenting' - settling for a short term solution to appease the baby, which might actually cultivate bad habits later on. Like rocking to sleep, snacking, distracting with TV etc.

Actually I had never heard of The Baby Whisperer before pregnancy, but it was one of the books recommended by my gynae. My sis bought it and I borrowed it from her, seeing as to how she is 4 months away from delivery...I think I need to get her a new copy, I'm keeping this one!

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