Motherhood: Sleep Challenges With Kids

sleep
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Sleep is essential for the mind and body. It gives the much needed rest that keeps us fresh in mind and spirit. A baby becomes utterly cranky when sleep evades her. We often feel why doesn’t the child sleep when sleep takes over? Why does the baby become cranky when sleepy? Oh! Why can’t God program little ones to sleep? Ah! My dear mom, don’t forget that God couldn’t be everywhere and therefore created mums.

Cultivate The Granny’s Vibes

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Your child communicates her needs as well as desires very clearly. It is just that we are not in the right frame of mind to understand the vibes that are transmitted. I think my thoughts sound like riddles. To understand what I am trying to imply, just recall how the baby sleeps comfortably in her Granny’s arms. Yes! You call it experience but I describe it as her peaceful demeanour. A grandma transmits her peaceful vibes that spell security and comfort to the baby. It is like reiterating that:

I am there for you my little one, I’ll stay till you want me to ….let’s relax and sleep.”

Yes! She may have ten chores that need to be looked into at that point of time but she knows what needs to come first. She is mentally free and is one with her goal of making the baby rest. With her rock solid desire to lovingly put the baby to sleep, she holds her close to her heart, croons softly and gently takes her into the land of dreams. Just look at her; she is half asleep or seems to be like that as she creates the aura with her comfortable breathing and patient ways. The baby feels secure and dozes off.

Listening To The Experts

I was lucky to be in a maternity home that combined the best of age old traditional ways and also was well equipped to deal with any emergency with the latest technology and expertise. The nurse simply folded Little Tanya’s sheet into a triangle and wrapped her up. She told me how children disturbed their own sleep by moving their little limbs while in deep slumber. How challenging it is for the little ones to initially adjust outside the womb? And how important it was for the mum to hold the baby close to her heart? Gosh! She mesmerised me with her convincing ways. Then one night my little one refused to sleep. I had switched off the fan and air conditioner. I held her tightly and became a jittery mum with anxious vibes. I wondered, “Why is little Tanya being so troublesome and just wished… Oh! “If only the tiny mouth could speak to make some sense …”

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To my relief, the doctor was on her rounds at night and made a beeline to my room as she heard my baby wail irritably. She just held her close and touched her little form to understand that the humid weather was bugging her. She simply carried my little bundle to her cabin that was cool and comfortable. Thereafter, to my utter surprise Tanya started to make agreeable sounds and slowly dozed off to sleep. Actually I was wrapping her up that made her feel hot. I realized that switching off the AC wasn’t a good idea.

Treat Your Baby Like A Little Human

The next morning the neonatologist counselled me to treat my baby like a little human who would feel warm when wrapped up on a hot and sultry day… who would feel bored on some other days …and be irritated enough to throw tantrums on some days. She also counselled me that my baby would twist and turn when held in an insecure manner with little arms floating in air and pointed out how I had unknowingly clasped her midriff while her head wasn’t securely placed in my arms. I was simply asked to listen to the baby, understand her ways and to be at ease. Jittery ways would put the baby in some confusion and make her behave haywire. After all, a mom has got to be a patient listener. Listen and observe and you shall see how enjoyable life becomes with the little one.

These lessons were learnt by heart …bit there is more to come….

Listening To The Growing Baby

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Generally we have some kind of help from our mums or relatives for the initial one or two months but later we are all on our own. Well! I realized that Tanya wanted to sleep at regular intervals and her sleep deprived form would create havoc in my life. She would wail, fret and fume… Oh! my little human was growing up to become more demanding. I would put her to sleep but like all new born babies she was an extremely light sleeper. The door bell or the whistle of the pressure cooker and not to forget the phone calls… just every sound disturbed her. I requested my friends not to ring the door bell at specific timings but it did not work. Next ideas began to pour in that we must train children to sleep in noisy environs so that they become fit. But I wasn’t going to develop her immunity to sleep in noise!! I recalled the doctor’s words to realize that most of us sleep in peaceful environments so why perturb the baby.  Thank! God my motherly instincts guided me to cater to her natural demand to rest. I switched off my door bell, completed my cooking before putting her to sleep and lowered the volume of my phone set. Indeed it was successful.  Once my baby was six months old, would play, get a bit tired and started eating some baby food, I noticed that she slept well. Quickly I changed the silent settings to discover that she slept soundly even when somebody was at the door or my phone tinkled.

A Peaceful Demenour And Logic Helped

To sum up I realised a peaceful body language worked well with my baby’s sleep timings. We need to put a hold on our social life to take care of the baby especially when we are on our own. As mums we need time to understand what works best to raise a happy and healthy baby. My shoulder seemed comfortable and she loved it when I crooned. Yes! From desi songs to bhajans… somehow every rhythm became a lullaby and quite often I would sleep for a while with her.

Putting Toddlers To Sleep (1 to 3 Years)

Toddlers pose many challenges. They are little busy bees, over confident nosey beings who reach every nook and corner, climb windows, topple from beds, throw tantrums and evade sleep. I would put little Tanya to sleep using great efforts and an idea would make her open her eyes wide and she would wriggle out of bounds in a matter of minutes. Oh! Tough times were here again. It was time to reorganise her schedule. My mum coached me once again. “Since Tanya is an early riser, you can easily make a slightly expansive time table for her.”

A Step By Step Approach To Summon Sleep

I would give Tanya a fruit shake early in the morning and she would play for some time. Then after an hour I would give her a good massage which she enjoyed. She would babble and strike a conversation with me. It was great fun. Somehow a massage mellowed her and she would lovingly put her head on my lap and tap it for more head massage. I would wrap her in a towel and make preparations for a warm bath. It was relaxing for her as she would play with her water toys, play with soap bubbles and feel great. Here I would like to add that we enjoyed water games because luckily we were posted in coastal strips and the weather was conducive enough for frolicking. (Sun bathing is also a good idea during colder seasons.) She would feel hungry after bath and it was time to give her a healthy and sumptuous breakfast.

After breakfast I would not leave her side. I would play with her with simple building blocks wherein my tyrant would make agreeable sounds and then all of sudden…throw toys or bang them …ah! Her irritable ways were a clear signal that sleep was overtaking her.

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Gently I would stroke her back and whisper sweet nothings in her ear. Whispering had a soothing effect and she would sleep in no time. She would be up after two hours just in time to have lunch. But would play after lunch and by evening I would freshen her up, pack snacks and go for an outing. It could be the nearby park or maybe a friend’s home on a rainy day. A change is a must for babies otherwise they become prickly.

Managing Bad Days

On lonely days, cranky days or maybe bad weather days when my little one would just not sleep, I would set up her play house and invite a few of her little friends. She would forget her blues with her sweet friends. Popcorns, French fries and some lemonade did the trick. She would cheer up, bide away some time in a playful manner and be weary enough to sleep at night.

Reading To Dream

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By the time our children turn three years old, they begin to show interest in pictures, stories and we need to introduce them to the world of books. In my case the Mumbai monsoons made outings impossible. I introduced her to the world of books as early as two years of age. At night she would snuggle closer, babble about the pictures, kiss the cute Goldilocks and a little while later go off to sleep and dream to smile and call out ‘baby bear caying(read crying)… Godilocks geedy (read Goldilocks greedy).

Life with toddlers is an enjoyable challenge so just smile and create great memories.

This topic was given to me by one of my friends who found my blogs useful. I request my readers to come up with personal tips, ideas or even topics to make my journey more fruitful. Love you all… you are so special.

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