We are not advocates of the Ferber method, crying it out or anything that would come across as neglectful and emotionally damaging to a baby. According to the theory of psychosocial development, the first 18 months of a baby’s life affects the trust vs. mistrust in the little one.
That being said, it requires a lot of effort to craft a routine for sleep.
Day and Night Differentiation
Ever since Baobao’s 6th week, we have tracked her daily sleep times and sleep hours to ensure that she gets the sleep she needs. Sleep is so crucial to a baby’s development. From the 6th to 7th week we were faced with a crying baby reluctant to go to bed.
It turns out that we did not teach the difference between day and night! Upon waking from her supposed bedtime that started at 7-8pm, her sleep resisting would occur from 11pm-1am, 1-3am, or that whole period.
It took me one week to reverse her time by staying up with her until exhaustion. I was essentially pushing back the resisting time each day, from 11pm to 1am to 3am to 5am to 7am to 9am, along with light cues throughout the day. Curtains open, bright lights, curtains half drawn, dim lights, curtains drawn, no lights. The longest I went was a full day without sleep.
Processing High Energy
By 7 months of age, Baobao had started speaking her first words and this amounted to a high amount of mental and physical energy that made it difficult for her to fall asleep.
As her active mind kept on going, we had to redirect the energy to calm her body and mind. Calming the body would lead the mind to get ready for sleep, and after a few minutes of random talking to herself she would fall asleep. The real challenge is calming the body.
At 7 months we started with bedtime sit ups to wind her down. She would usually do 4 to 5 sets of 10 reps before being tired enough.
At 8 months when she liked to roll, she would roll across the bed from one end to the other and back again.
Around 9 or 10 months when she could crawl and pull to stand, she would crawl back and forth between two points. Eventually this developed into standing, spinning one round while moving back and forth between points.
These days at 13 months, it varies by night but it could be one or a combination of repetitive exercises to get her tired enough for bed.