Monday, July 25, 2005

When Baby Wants to Party at 2 A.M.

Countless new parents spend a lot of time reading all the baby books and articles they can get their hands on. They look at the charts and think that every baby will hit every milestone at the exact time that the book says things will be happening.

One of the biggest "chart disappointments" happens with when the charts indicate that a baby should be sleeping through the night. Even well meaning friends and relatives will sometimes say things like "oh, don't worry, in two more months, she'll be sleeping through the night!" This simply can not be estimated because babies sleep through the night at different times just the same as they start to walk and begin to talk at different times.

My daughter followed the charts on many things, but not the night sleeping patterns. Waking in the middle of the night went on for much longer than I ever read or heard could actually happen. It started when she was very young and had colic and continued until the colic was long in the past. After a certain amount of time, I was always so tired that I had fears of still waking at 2 a.m. to make her pizza and hamburgers when she was in college!

Unfortunately, I didn't have the internet back then. I was not able to look things up that may have helped the situation. I was not able to research what other parents going through the same thing were trying. All I knew was that it was 2 a.m. and baby wanted to party. She never went right back to sleep but I know now that there are perhaps things I could have done to keep her sleepy. I needed to stay awake so I usually turned the television on for one thing. Not a good idea. I kept the lights very low. Good idea. I talked to her. Not a good idea.

One thing I would have liked to try is baby massage before bedtime. There is no guarantee that it would have worked, but I think it would have made for some excellent bonding times. I would have probably tried it while applying baby lotion. There are many more benefits than just possibly relaxing the baby enough to get a good night's sleep. Massage is said to help with circulation and digestion as well. It helps to relieve some pains baby may experience such as gas pain. If this is something you may be interested in, by all means research it and ask questions of pros or the baby's doctor. There are techniques that should be learned before attempting baby (or any) massage.

Another thing I may have tried, had I known about it, was having soft music or even white noise in the background while baby (and mom!) slept. Soft lullabies may have helped her to fall asleep, but more importantly, to stay asleep. Some of the "nature sounds" CDs that are manufactured now would seem to me to be a good choice. You can choose rushing water, wind, or the sound of waves on the shore to name a few.