In those glorious university days when I had time in between lectures I would often head back to my condo, curl up in my bed and take a nap….or what I considered a nap. They would regularly last 3 hours. My roommates quickly pointed out to me that for some this wouldn’t constitute a nap, but a full night’s sleep (I expect these are “people” who must be robots rather than human beings). My friends would eventually dub them “(my name) Naps.” You can call them “Foreigner Naps.”
So as I’m sure you can predict, one of my biggest fears while I was pregnant was that I would become a Mombie or a Mommy Zombie, strolling around like the Walking Dead and resenting The Duchess for stealing my precious sleep for weeks, months, possibly years. As a thirsty man walking through a blazing desert hallucinates about water, I feared I would hallucinate about my Foreigner Naps and eventually lose my mind.
For this reason I decided to read up a bit on sleep routines and how to get a baby to sleep through the night as soon as humanly possibly. I will admit that I don’t think ONE method or ONE “professional’s” opinion is the be-all, end-all so I tried to listen to what different people were saying and make a decision that would best suit us.
I ended up picking up The New Contented Little Baby Book by Gina Ford.
She claims that your baby is more contented when they know what to expect and when they are getting good sleep. She outlines how to go about implementing a structured routine and make changes to that routine as the baby gets older. Once The Duchess was feeding well I started to put some of her principles in place (I say “some” because she was too hardcore for me, but I felt I could use what she was saying with flexibility). Gina Ford is pretty controversial because where in the UK midwife’s instruct expectant mothers to let babies feed on demand, Gina Ford instructs you to set a schedule for feeding and specifically get them into a routine where they are having sufficient feeds during the day so that you know they don’t need those feeds at night. And the result? The Duchess began to sleep through the night between 6-8 weeks old and thank goodness because I’m sure that I would have dropped dead from exhaustion (well, at least felt like I was nearly dead). My hunch is most American moms veer towards this kind of method because while UK maternity leave is 9 months, America’s is generally 8 weeks.
She will have an off night from time to time and I’m sure once teeth start to make their appearance, we will be in for a very unwelcome block of sleep deprivation, but I’m so glad that we put our own spin on Ford’s principles and got her to sleep early or else that Mombie would have been curled up in a corner in the fetal position muttering something about the glory days of 3 hour naps….
Question: My very ill-informed take on things is that my American friends seem more likely to put practices like Ford into place (perhaps because maternity leave is only 8 weeks). Are you British or American? How did you approach the sleep/feeding issue? With what results?