Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Gina Ford technique

We are still struggling with Ayden's bedtime. I don't know if I have unrealistic expectations or I should start being more strict with his bedtime routine.

Ever since he was a few weeks old, we've had a bedtime routine according to Gina Fords book, The Contented Baby Book. No am not a stickler to her book or her routine, but it really does work… to some extend.

As many new borns do, Ayden slept more during the day than at night in the first few weeks. At night he would wake up at 4am and not go back to sleep until about 7am. This went on for a week over and I was exhausted. This could not go on! So I sent hubby to the bookstore to get the much talked about Gina Ford book. I read through and got started.

In very brief summary, she emphasizes on feeding and putting your baby on a routine. Some may frown upon this but to me, its more like putting the parents into a routine and it really gets the day more organized and less chaotic. Feeding is important because a well fed baby will sleep well. The first feed should start at 7am and the last feed should end at 11.30pm. In between if your baby feeds every 2 hours then that is how it should go. Baby must only sleep certain hours of the day so that he is able to sleep longer at night. I don't follow her routines precisely but as close as possible.

And it worked! After only just a few days, Ayden slept more at night, or to be exact, he sleeps but only wakes to feed and falls right back to sleep. And because we were breastfeeding and we co-sleep, we fall asleep together. Again, some maybe against co-sleeping but there were some research saying that co-sleeping is good for the baby for all sorts of reasons. For the first few months, Ayden woke only once at 3am for a feed and then the next was 6am by then I already needed to wake up for work.

However, he only falls asleep at 11,30pm or maybe even later! And that's not the way to go!

At 4 months plus I decided that I had to do something about it before it becomes a habit that he sleeps late (again somebody please straighten me out if I am expecting too much).

I left off Gina Ford's schedules after the first month as I was happy with his sleep cycle then. So back we go into her schedules now because I really needed him to sleep earlier.

In the past months also we've always wind down for bed time starting 8.30pm. We wash up, get changed into pjs, sometimes a story and then I breastfeed him to get him to sleep (apparently another bad habit but oh well!). But I NEVER succeed. He almost NEVER go to sleep then and will sleep at 11pm over. And this went on until he was 5 months old. So reading Gina Ford again I discovered that at his age, he should only be napping no more than 3 hours during the day. Ayden so far has been napping for almost 5 hours. According to my maid, he naps from 11am to 2pm. And then a few more hours later in the afternoon. In the evening when I come home early we go to the playground or take an evening walk in hopes that we get some activity to tire him out. Apparently this is not the way to go.

So for his age, he should be up and awake and fed by 7am. And should have his bath by 8.30am. By 9am he should nap for 45 mins. Then he should be playing. His next nap should be 12pm and should nap no longer than 2 hours. After that its all play and feeding until his next bath at 5.30pm. And then he should be sleeping by 7pm. According to her, babies his age should be able to sleep through til 7am provided he's ad 4-5 feeds a day and naps no more than 3 hours a day.

But again I don't follow exactly so I will work around it to suit us. So far it is working as at least now Ayden is sleepy by 9pm and then we manage to get him to sleep by 10.30pm. He wakes up every half hour fussing, but I just need to pick him up, pat him a little and put him down again and he would sleep. This will go one 2 or 3 times before he goes into deep sleep. He still wakes for feeds about twice… I think… because nowadays I do things in my sleep so I don't really remember. I must accept that he still needs to wake up to feed as he is growing and some babies just needs to feed more than others. But the good thing is that after he feeds he falls right back to sleep.

Its only been a 6 days since we started Gina Ford again. We hope to continue and see more improvements. I will be reporting now and again of our progress!

Stay tuned :)

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