A strange “development” is not a strange “development”. It is not uncommon for new mothers to enroll their children in boarding school when they are 3 months old or weigh 40 pounds, which is considered the age at which children usually sleep most of the night. Believe it or not, the school is under the control of the Community Health Program, and mothers can get a doctor’s prescription authorizing the child to see a sleep specialist.
At boarding school, you can go in and stay for 5–7 nights with your child (my “Australian mom” friends seem to like this arrangement), or you can sign up for a two-day deep stay. visit where you do not stay overnight. Instead, you go in at 8 a.m. and leave at 6 p.m. for two days in a row.
My eight-week-old son, Archie, and I attended a boarding school called “The Masada Mother Baby Unit,” which is part of a private hospital in Melbourne. I went to school with six other mothers and their children. We were all put on the same schedule and a sleep specialist gave us lectures while our kids slept a lot. For two days, I did not leave my side or my baby.
The school believes that sleep is a habit to be learned. While it makes sense for many children, some need to be pushed by their parents, who are encouraged to create conditions that promote this wonderful natural gift for their children. And it all starts with our kids learning how to move into a bedroom without the “moving” arms of their parents.
Adults have multiple sleep cycles throughout the night and wake up about an hour later, which means much to us that we go back to sleep (apparently, our parents taught us well). Although we enjoy natural but practical sleep on many cycles, children should have 45-minute sleep cycles. Therefore, they not only need to learn to “sleep” but also need to keep the act of happiness throughout their cycles and during the napa.
At 8 weeks, I was told that Archie needed two intensive 90-minute sleep sessions during the day (doing two sleep cycles each) and one “cat rest” of 45 minutes at the end of the day. When I was told that Archie’s 45-minute sleep deprivation did not result in sleep but “cat’s sleep,” which means little, I was amazed!
Sleep breeds sleep, so we needed to develop daytime sleep so that Archie could sleep well at night. Every nap (or at least the first two naps) should be at home and in bed, with no strollers or car seats. Of course, many mothers have stated that this is not true and that a sleep specialist has told us to do our best until we establish a healthy sleep routine (and then, we can cut a few corners).
Confidently, Anna told me that Archie would go to bed from 7 pm to 7 am as soon as possible. Archie’s first sleep was scheduled for no later than 9 a.m. (1 to 2 p.m. after his first wake-up call). Anna explains that the first sleep of the day is always easier because she is the one who is most relaxed at the moment — the more the baby is at rest, the harder it is to be humble. Therefore, it was also important to put him down before he became exhausted. Also, we needed to look for signs of “sleep”; eye rubbing is normal. At first, the sign was confusing, but Anna showed me how to put it on with gusto. I said “good night” and I went out.
Surprisingly, Anna was right. Archie fell asleep easily that first morning; I don’t think I ever put him down to sleep so early. He fell asleep for the next 45 minutes and then woke up like a clock. Anna held me for a moment and explained that we should wait two minutes before entering her room to see if she could “settle down” and go back to another sleep cycle. No such luck. After 2 minutes, we went back, and he showed me the solution. It contains “loud noise,” rhythmic “catch,” and no talking or glaring. And under no circumstances would I be able to pick her up because that was like telling her that if she cried, I would pick her up-when all I needed to do was communicate and pat her, and she was in your bed, and it was time to sleep. ‘ As Anna said, we were trying to get Archie to sleep.
Once, we were quiet and slipped out of the room. If he cries again, we will let him go for 2 minutes, then come back with “boring” tricks to solve, sneak up, wait 2 minutes, and “clean and re-do it”. There are many similarities with Ferber, but it just seems easier when you have Anna confidently directing it all in one move. And it worked after a while-we put her on her second sleep cycle that was guaranteed to get her the required 90-minute nap. Anna explained that we had to use this “fix” method before we went to bed—at bedtime and when Archie woke up at night.
Another tactic was a rollover feed at night that included putting Archie to bed at 7 pm and sneaking out at 11 pm to give him some feed-and no talking, eye contact, or lights-just pick him up, give him a feed, roll over and put him down. He slept his way through the feeding and seating at that time, which was okay. With the roll-over feed, the idea was that when he woke up at 2.30 am, I could see he was full to the brim. So obviously, I could just use my solution without worrying that he was hungry. Shhh, shhh, shh, pat, pat, pat, do not lift-it was always a mantra!
I must admit that our two-day schooling had very good results. Once we were well on our way to bed, we put rollover food in place, did a lot of mind-blowing things, and patted her for a few weeks. Archie got some rest, and we slept like babies.
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Photo Erik Ekroth
POSTED IN: BABY · TAGGED: BABY SLEEP, PARENTING ADVICE, PARENTING TIPS, SLEEPING BABIES