TEETH and SLEEP

Little Champ’s first incisor made its debut 3 weeks ago, after he had turned 9 months old.

I would have blogged about it earlier, only it was near impossible to get a photo of my son, with his mouth open, looking at the camera, without his tongue blocking the view.

Even restrained in a high chair and tempted with cookies (rice rusks), it was not an easy task. Here’s a glimpse at the 141 photos that document my son’s shy first tooth.

Can you guess my favorite photo out of these?

Highlight between the brackets for the answer: [ 2nd row, third from the left. The glazed over, kooky look. ]

Oh, and the reason Little Champ had been so cranky? Not teething. It was because he fought naps so badly and was sleep-deprived.

Lesson Learned: Babies need a nap routine. (At least the alert ones, who refuse to sleep if given the chance)

I was doing the baby-led nap thing. I figured, his body should know when it’s tired. Yeah, that didn’t really work. Joey is a very alert baby. He wants to see the action and be a part of it, even if nothing is happening. Because something exciting COULD.

Once I started putting him down at the same time every day, I saw some improvement. He was much happier and cried less, but he still fought the naps.

Lesson Learned: If your baby fights naps, put him or her down earlier.

I’m sure you have heard that when babies are overtired, they won’t go to sleep. That sounds odd, since they are so tired, you’d think they would just sleep already. But, after reading a magazine article (Sorry, I can’t remember which of the zillion magazines I read it in!), I discovered the reason behind the mystery. Here’s a paraphrase…hopefully I’m getting it right:

When babies are tired but aren’t sleeping, they produce cortisol, a stress hormone which keeps them functioning while sleepy, but then also keeps them from going back to sleep. It’s sort of like being tired, drinking an espresso, and then trying to immediately take a nap. The solution is putting them down before they start to produce the cortisol, but that is easier said than done!

The suggested sleep schedule for babies Little Champ’s age is wake up, nap 3 hours after waking up, nap 4 hours after start of first nap, bedtime 5 hours after start of second nap. 3-4-5.

Well, 3 hours after wake up time was far too late for my little nap warrior. He’d be overtired by then. So I started putting him down 1.5 to 2 hours after he woke up, and then his afternoon nap would happen whenever he started showing signs of dwindling energy and bubbliness, or 4-5 hours before bedtime, which I wanted to be 8 but is now between 7 and 7:30.

Before traveling, his schedule was pretty much

  • 7 am—wake up, nurse, breakfast
  • 8:30 or 9—nap #1
  • 11—nurse, then lunch
  • between 12 and 2 pm—go down for nap #2
  • snack after nap
  • 5—dinner
  • 6:30—get ready for bed
  • 7—in bed
Now that we are traveling in MN, visiting people at least 3 times each day, his schedule is a bit out of whack. But we still get him three meals and two naps. He isn’t sleeping well in the 5 am – 7 am window, because his schedule isn’t set and he wants cuddle time with mommy, but I’m hoping once we get home and back into the routine, he will still be happy, but mommy will be happy and well-rested, too.
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