When Sophia was younger, I tried very hard to implement a good sleeping plan. She slept from 8pm to 7am everyday without waking up and life was good. But as she got older, she learnt to demand grandpa at bedtime because grandpa will give in to her demands. Her bedtime gradually got pushed later and later and her bedtime routine became one with the lights turned on till she falls asleep and at least half an hour of playing with the ipad before sleeping. For the longest time I was too busy/lazy to do anything about it since she still slept by the halfway decent hour of 10pm. However, recently there were 2 days in a row where she fell asleep at 7 plus, woke up at 8 plus and refused to go back to sleep till well past midnight, resulting in everyone being very very tired.
The one good thing about those few nights is Sophia said her first complete sentence “Mama go inside”. That was when I came out of my bedroom and told her to go to bed. She commanded me back into my own room to sleep so she could go on playing.
THAT is when I decided to put my foot down. The following night, I told grandpa to leave it to me and after he left the room I turned off the light and put her on her bed. When she tried to climb out I carried her but she howled and screamed for grandpa. Eventually grandpa couldn’t take it and came in but I stood ground in her room to ensure that the lights stayed off and rather quickly she drifted off to sleep.
From that night on, I stood guard in her room to ensure that lights are off by 9 plus. Each night she tried a different trick to change the situation. One night she would cry pitifully while saying “dark dark, on, on!” while another night she will cry “mama 出去” ie mama go out. Sometimes, even grandpa tries to ask for the lights to go on. That was one night when she was so tired she looked like she was all ready to drift off to sleep even while the lights were on, but I told him that it is not about dealing with each night as it comes but establishing a good bedtime routine that will make things easy for us in the long run.
The struggle is still ongoing. At the moment she would still cry and complain when the lights go off and I have been able to be with her at bedtime to enforce the rule. I’m looking forward to the day where she will no longer complain but just go to sleep when the lights go off.
I was never going to write about this on the blog until I read Jean’s post about saying no. This is not quite saying no but it is about the not so glamorous not so feel-good part of parenting. Bringing up a child is not a bed of roses, but we as parents should have the courage to do the right thing and not take the easy way out all the time. Jean’s post was encouraging to me and I hope my post will encourage some parent out there to do the right thing for their child as well, even if as seemingly small a thing as ensuring that the child gets adequate sleep and rest, which is often neglected but actually a very important component of a child’s growth and development.
Would you look at this poor little baby? She can’t sleep from teething pain, she doesn’t dare to let us near her mouth so we can’t apply numbing gel for her, she stuck her finger in her mouth to sooth her gums so much that she tore the corner of her lips and an ulcer developed, she’s screaming from pain/fatigue/both every night. I hope the ordeal ends very very soon!
What was I thinking, running the JPM Corporate Challenge after not running for more than 2 years and having a child in that time?
When I crossed the starting line, I was squeezing my way forward among the crowd, completely ignorant of how unfit I am at the moment. 300 meters of this left me exhausted and I had to content myself with a slow jog while runners overtake me from all over. After what seemed like eternity I spotted the 2km sign and at about the same time my right knee started to hurt. Nevermind I can do it. I shall not stop for rehydration because once I stop running I tend to develop a stitch. So on I go, jogging jogging… at about the 3 km mark I realise I have a glimpse of what its like for Terry Fox because each step brings a sharp pain in my knee. step… ouch… step… ouch… I finally reached the point where I turn back. Bottleneck. Its not even moving. I jogged on the spot like an idiot again worried I won’t be able to get myself started again. After 4 traffic light turns of jogging virtually on the spot, I finally clear the u turn and start running again. Huff puff… Rehydration station ahead at 4km. Heck it. I need water. I stopped and grabbed a cup. Kicked myself for being an idiot at the earlier rehydration station because the water helped so much. I have strength to go into a faster trot. But not for long because the 100m or so of sprinting hurt my knee too much. In fact, beacuse of overcompensation, my left ankle is hurting too. Slow to a jog again. Remind self of how I’ll be able to brag on my blog that I ran all the way, nevermind that my timing is potentially slower than a brisk walker. Jog jog.. finish line in sight. Dash.. ouch.. ok jog. Yay! Cleared 5.6km without walking. Pats self on back.
After celebratory drinks I limp home with a hurting knee hoping to be able to shower and collapse in bed but see that baby’s room’s lights are still on. She’s still playing with grandpa!!! Off with the lights. After a lot of pacifying, she finally sleeps at an unearthly hour (for her). And off to bed for me too…..
Hopefully this will be the start of a healthier lifestyle (ie some exercise at least) for me!
I swear I did not intentionally put her in this position. I went in to find her like this and couldn’t resist taking a photo of the poor rabbit.
At least when it comes to sleep training since Sophia has been sleeping from 10-ish to 7 without voluntarily waking up since she was, oh I don’t remember, somewhere between 6 weeks and 2 months old, and this progressed to 8pm to 7am as she got older. BUT last night she screamed for a full 3 hours and more before eventually sleeping at 11 plus. Ok, the poor girl was sick so I should cut her some slack but I’m not used to dealing with a sick baby. Prior to this Sophia was breastfed so never fell sick except once when she was about 6 weeks old and she was very good that time, no fussing or anything. Ate and slept as per normal. I do hope she recovers soon. Brought her to the doctors for some non sedating cough syrup which hopefully will help her sleep better. I need some sleep……
At times like this I kick myself for stopping breastfeeding.
The IT manager at my firm was telling me how he was suggesting to the partners that we should install motion sensors in our offices so that we won’t waste electricity even if people forget to turn off the lights to their rooms before they leave. We were talking about how it can potentially be quite irritating if we’re sitting at our desk working and hence not moving much and the lights went off all the time. And how we can potentially set the timer at say 45 minutes and it will reset every time it detects any movement, it being unlikely that someone will not move for 45 minutes.
Well, it just occurred to me that I feel very much like a motion sensor every night when putting Sophia to bed. What I usually do is turn off all the lights, turn on the air conditioner and put her in her crib. I then have to sit next to her till she falls asleep as she would immediately start crying if she sees me physically walking out of the room. But, of course, since its pitch dark, I won’t be able to tell if she’s asleep from the usual way of looking at her face and eyes. I can only rely on my perception of her motion. Ie if she doesn’t move for 10 counts she’s likely asleep. So I hold my breath and count to 10, but in those counts if there’s the tiniest movement, I start all over again, just like a motion sensor.
I finally got Sophia to consent to sitting on the stroller when out with me alone. Here’s us on the train and she didn’t even ask to be carried when she saw me sitting in front of her. Unfortunately its a different story when anyone else is with us. It seems she thinks there are so many of us surely one of us can carry her.
Not too happy but nevertheless accepting
Getting her to sleep is a breeze once I figured out the trick. Just push her into the nearest megamart or toy shop, hand her a soft toy, preferably a soft bear roughly her size, and push her around for approximately 5 minutes. Works like a charm.
Dozing off hugging Pooh Bear
Look at all the padding my dad put around the bed when Sophia is sleeping. Its as if she’s taking part in a wrestling match on the bed! Of course, this only happens when he’s going to leave me alone at home with Sophia because, of course, mummy is incapable of paying sufficient attention to baby.
Fully padded bedside
There was a post on The New Age Parents‘ facebook page yesterday featuring a question from a mum on whether she should partially breastfeed her baby because her confinement nanny told her that formula at night helps the baby sleep through the night. I was about to comment but the reply got too long. And it seemed to me that I was the minority and I was afraid of getting rotten eggs thrown on me. So I retreated to my personal sanctuary that if my own blog on which I can say whatever I want without fear or favour.
I don’t think making babies sleep through is a good reason for partial breastfeeding. I have been exclusively breastfeeding for the past 11 months, with solids from 6 months, of course, and my baby slept through the night from 6 weeks onwards. Its not true that formula is more filling. It is more difficult to digest and hence stay in the stomach longer, that is true but volume for volume babies actually need less breastmilk for their energy needs. This must mean that breastmilk is more “filling” in that more nutrients and calories actually absorbed. My experience is that letting baby sleep through the night is a poor reason for not exclusively breastfeeding. It may not help but yet baby is deprived of exclusively breastfeeding benefits.
There are also a lot of benefits of exclusively breastfeeding that is lost once any other food, even formula, is given. The most common benefit of exclusively breastfeeding is a heathier “flora” in the intestinal tract but there are also lesser known ones for example iron in breastmilk is absorbed much better than other forms of iron but this benefit is lost once other forms of iron is introduced to compete with the iron in breastmilk. I don’t explain it wekk as I’ve digested all these informatino and retained only the conclusion I drew but see for example the following article: http://www.drmomma.org/2010/10/virgin-gut.html. Kellymom’s Why Delay Solids also has a lot of information that I drew analogies on . In a sense formula and solids are similar – both are not nature’s intended food for very young babies – even though formula is closer.
That said, genuinely not having enough milk after an earnest effort, or an ill mother or medically unwell baby or just being unable to cope with the hassle of breastfeeding due to say lack of help with babies are all valid reasons for not being able to exclusively breastfeed and formula is close enough to breastmilk for mothers to really not have to bash themselves up for not exclusively breastfeeding. All I’m saying here is make an informed choice, not a choice based on with frivolous words of a well meaning confinement who probably doesn’t have evidence backing her speech.
Here’s my bedtime routine for Sophia in case any first time mums like a reference. Only steps 4, 7 and 8 are sleep inducing actually, the rest are things that need to get done before she sleeps, that’s all.
1) eat dinner
2) take a bath
3) go for a walk to 7-11 downstairs and get her face pinched by the Indian cashier who says “chomaterpunay” to her countless times. I’m told this means “many many love”.
4) drink milk
5) brush teeth
6) bedtime story
7) lights off and goodnight song
8) get thrown into crib, pull self up, walk all over, tumble down, pull self up again, tumble again, repeat till tired enough to sleep. All the while mummy needs to be sitting by the crib but need not be actually doing anything.
I’m a bit miffed that without the maid dinner usually starts at about 7 and by the time steps 1 to 7 are completed its past 8 and on a bad day (which is, by the way, common), Sophia can toss and turn till 9. The plan was to put her to sleep at 7 each day so I have my own life after 8!