When I saw the prompts, I instantly knew they were meant for me. I relate to all the prompts as though they have been handpicked to make my experience with this challenge particularly interesting and fulfilling. So here we go – Today’s prompt is ‘PATTERN’.
What pattern will a mother talk about more often than the ‘SLEEPING PATTERN’?
Since the very first day, the one thing that I have been closely monitoring is my son’s sleep. Initially one feels that the baby sleeps way too often. During the first month, my niece would come to check on us every hour and disappointedly ask, “He is still sleeping? He is hardly awake! When will we play with him?” Now when I look back, I wonder how fast time flew – now he barely sleeps in the day. In fact, my mother complaints now, “He is still not sleeping? He hardly sleeps! Doesn’t he get tired playing?”
Motherhood makes you experience the essence of day-to-day life – all that you had stopped noticing while getting stuck in traffic and wanting to rise higher on the ladder of career and work – you come back to it. You start watching your own breath more carefully. You have given birth to a new life and that new life is your new life now! The smallest of things around him or her are the centre of your very existence at this point. You begin to care less about what goes on around the world – you care a damn that Donald Trump got elected – but you care a mighty lot about the color of the poop of the new-born. You are observing the smallest of developments and traits to look for patterns in them. And it is only you, the mother, who will be able to spot these patterns.
Yes, they say that it takes a village to raise a child. But no one ever said that the village can make up for the mother. The minute you become a mother, biologically or emotionally; there is a trigger in your system that enhances your ability to follow your instinct. And trust me, your instinct is more accurate than anything else in the world. I read somewhere that there has been a research that has even proved this claim. So no one else will spot a pattern in your child’s behavior better than you. And you need to be that vigilant and involved. People (which even includes the father) will play with your child, take care, feed them, clean their diapers – but somethings they will never understand.
In my case, I can vouch for this for the matter of sleep patterns. I know a lot of friends who have complained to us that their children just didn’t let them sleep in the night for the first year. And not to boast about it or comment on their parenting skills – but we luckily never had those problems. And without being a narcissist I would like to solely credit myself for it. Sleep patterns change almost every fifteen days. Some days he sleeps twice in the afternoon, and then he doesn’t sleep for more than an hour for a few days; some days he sleeps by 9 in the night, then some days he just doesn’t sleep till almost 12, and then he gets back to sleeping by 9. So, one has to watch for a day or two to know the shift. And if you have been closely following the sleep patterns, you will immediately know that there has been a shift.
The point is that if you are aware that it has changed – you will not waste your energy putting him to sleep at the wrong time. Till the first six months, putting them to sleep wont be that much of a hassle. But later, if you are going to try to put them to sleep when they don’t want to – you are up for a long struggle. And at the end of which, you most probably will not come out a winner! But having said that – if you want to inculcate a habit – you must be sincere and regular about your routine as well. If you expect that one day I am going to put him to sleep at 9 because I have to wake up early tomorrow. And tomorrow I am going to put him to sleep by 12, because I have guests home. Then this certainly doesn’t work – you are just breeding an environment for a cranky kid. As infants, they cannot tell you that they want to sleep. You will have to read their mind and follow their body needs.
- First fifteen days to one month – They will mostly sleep through the day and feed through the night. (Remember – night feeding is of prime importance)
- Second month onwards – some pattern will begin to set in. (It is important that you start to apply a routine to your actions as well – introduce sleep time rituals and stick to them forever!)
- Three months onwards – Patterns will set in – The time to go to bed will happen now!!
- 6month onwards – exact timings and patterns will change every 10-15days. But on the whole, they will learn to sleep through the night.
- Growth spurts and Milestones – tend to change patterns!
- Work your schedule around theirs – it just doesn’t work the other way round.
- Do not over-tire the kid – if you feel that is going to promise a good night’s sleep – you are misguided – that will make things worse – the baby’s body must be aching and he or she will be unnecessarily cranky while going to sleep and later also will have a disturbed sleep.
- Set the mood for sleeping right! (Create rules for yourself and follow them – simple things like no loud music post a certain time, dim lights, sponge/bath ritual, etc)
- And then there are things you will do on instinct – and that will work the best, trust me!!