Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
58
The Weissbluth Method: Q and A (1 of 2)
December 20, 2021

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Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

5th Edition: 
A Step-by-Step Program for a Good Night's Sleep

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Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

5th Edition: 
Chapter 1 (only 16 pages!) outlines everything you need to know about your child's sleep.

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Introduction

A Healthy Child Needs a Healthy Brain, A Healthy Brain Needs Healthy Sleep

If you have not already done so, please read Blog Posts 1 through 5 that describe how sleep is important and beneficial. I will post specific information for parents and children based on my book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” Please do not be put off by my book’s length. This is a reference book. Read only the topic of interest to you.

Blog 58The Weissbluth Method: Q and A (1 of 2)

The Weissbluth Method: Q and A

Q: What is the Weissbluth Method?

A: The brain is the only organ in the body that requires sleep. Parents are responsible to make sure this need is met. Think of healthy sleep like healthy food in the sense that there is good quality food and junk food. Just as parents don’t look at just the number of calories consumed, parents should not look at just the number of minutes or hours asleep.

Healthy Sleep for Children is composed of five main elements:

  1. Sleep duration: night and day.
  2. Sleep consolidation.
  3. Sleep schedule, timing of sleep, bedtime.
  4. Sleep regularity.
  5. Naps.

These five elements interact with each other so parents need to be mindful of all five.

Respecting your babies need for healthy sleep is a core principle. In practice:

  1. Start early to help your baby sleep well. Practice bedtime routines.
  2. Many Naps or Brief intervals of wakefulness which prevent a second wind that interferes with easily falling asleep and staying asleep.
  3. Many hands means involve others in soothing to sleep so your baby learns how to self-soothe in different circumstances.
  4. Get Dad on Board means that fathers help at night and general support during the day predict better infant sleep.
  5. At 6 weeks of age, the brain wants an earlier bedtime. Respect the night sleep circadian rhythm.
  6. At 2-4 months of age, naps become more regular. Respect the nap circadian rhythm.

At any age, sleeping in synchrony with circadian sleep rhythms produces better quality sleep. Use your child’s natural sleep rhythm as an aid to help your child sleep well.

A Healthy Child needs a Healthy Brain. A Healthy Brain needs Healthy Sleep.

Q: How should a new parent be preparing for their baby?

A: Coparenting is the manner in which parents work together to raise their children. Within the context of specific family circumstances, to achieve healthy sleep, focus on teamwork. High positive coparenting quality elements include:

  1. Agreement: “My partner and I have the same goals for our child.”
  2. Closeness: “My relationship with my partner is stronger now than before we had a child.”
  3. Support: “My partner asks my opinion on issues related to parenting.”
  4. Endorsement: “I believe my partner is a good parent.”
  5. Division of labor: “My partner does carry his or her fair share of the parenting work.”

When positive coparent quality is high, parents’ ability to deal with bedtime issues and nighttime awakenings is greater.  This emphasizes the importance of communication and concordance in nighttime parenting practices.

Communicate with each other and coordinate nighttime parenting practices.

Q: What are the signs of baby fatigue?

A: Drowsy signs are the early warning system, signaling that you need to start the soothing process to sleep. Then, sweet sleep is almost guaranteed. Fatigue signs occur when you were too late and finding sleep might be tough.

Drowsy Signs

Moving into the Sleep Zone. Moving away from alert, calm and relaxed.

  • Decreased activity, less animated, becomes quieter.
  • Slower motions, less social, less vocal.
  • Less interested in toys or people.
  • Sucking is weaker or slower.
  • Yawning.

These behaviors are most noticeable when the child is in a quiet and relaxed environment, for example, when being read to. They might be less apparent in a stimulating environment such as a busy mall or when he is in front of a television or screen-based media device. Or they might not be noticed because you are distracted by looking at a screen or on a phone call.

IMPORTANT POINT

Try to begin soothing before you notice changes in the eyes.

  • Pay close attention to the eyes and eye lids as he transitions from mild to deeper drowsiness to almost a sleep state:
  • Eyes become less focused on surroundings, eyes appear glazed over, staring, or not as sparkling.
  • He may seem to look “through you” and not socially “at you.”
  • Eyelids drooping, eyelids come down slowly, long blinks.

Fatigue Signs

Entering Overtired Zone. Becoming overtired. Moving toward irritable and tense.

  • Mild fussiness, irritability, cranky, moodiness, pulling ears, drooping head, rubbing eyes.
  • Easily upset, clinging, peevish, easily frustrated, short-fused, rough around the edges.
  • Whining, whingeing, mewling, crying, slightly “wired”, less cooperative, less able to entertain himself.

The most common mistake made by parents is mistaking fatigue signs, which come late, with drowsy signs which appear early and signal the rising of the sleep wave.

(To be continued.)

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