more frequent breastfeeds, longer periods of playtime, or their desire for more physical activity which heralds the approach of sitting up, crawling or walking.
As a child starts to get interested in solid foods, this can greatly disrupt your own meal times. A whole new regime of waking and sleeping may need to be arranged so that the baby can have long wakeful periods around the times of your 3 adult meals. (See section "From Milk to Solids", page 359).It helps to know this
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in advance so that you start working towards this around about 4 months of age.
Obviously illness (yours or the baby's) can cause major disruptions to routine. If only a mild illness, routine can usually be re-established within a few days, but for families with children with disabilities or chronic illnesses, the disruptions can also turn chronic. In such cases the need for lifestyle routine is even more important to the healing process of the child and the harmony of the household.
Sleep for humans of all ages, is an important time of physical and mental regeneration following on from periods of physical and mental activity. This activity can be both input and output. It is not only putting out which makes us tired but also excessive input or growth in consciousness. In babies and children this growth of body and consciousness is far greater than adults and this is why they need more sleep. Therefore we can say that sleep is good for your growth - not just quantity, but quality of sleep too.
Inadequate sleep (for both mother and baby) is one of the most common problems in the first 12 months of life with a new baby. Sometimes I used to joke about the madness caused by the torture of sleep deprivation, but of course, poor quantity and quality of sleep for months on end is no joking matter. Not only do the parents suffer in their ability to function during the day, but a baby who is not taught how to sleep properly suffers too.
Notice I used the phrase "taught how to sleep". A baby has very little idea of day and night. Much of a new baby's life cycle is pretty well anarchy from birth, so it is the patterns of existence we teach it which become its understanding of what is "normal". Believing that a young baby just needs to be changed, fed, cuddled and then it will sleep, is naïve in the extreme. It needs to be helped to find a life cycle to its advantage and the first cycle it needs to learn is the sleep cycle. I say that the sleeping cycle is primary, even to that of the feeding cycle because, in-utero, a baby has already been sleeping and waking in sync with its own needs and your daily activities.
Of course, a young baby's sleeping and feeding cycles are intimately entwined.
Initially they are nothing but complementary opposites! Therefore, if we can balance one, we can often balance the other.
I have dealt previously with a balanced daily life routine into which a baby and its household can fit a harmonious eating regime. Around this sort of general daily routine, a baby will learn to sleep in periods which introduce it to healthy patterns of sleep for early childhood and beyond.
Sleep, rest, relaxation, are all synonyms for the opposite of stimulation. In all of life, for all creatures, it is necessary to have a balance between the cycles of rest and activity. In humans, tip the scales too far in either direction and mental and physical disorder appears. So what is the correct balance? Of course it varies for the individual, but certain natural factors come into play and teaching a baby these rhythms is one of the first challenges of a mother.
To be able to teach them, it is a pre-requisite that a mother understands them herself. Her own life needs to be in harmony as much as possible with the cycles of light and darkness which humans have evolved with over millions of years.
I believe that much of a baby's early sleeping habits are establish in-utero when the woman goes about her life, sometimes knowing the baby is awake within her and sometimes knowing it is asleep within her. Sometime she and baby are in tune and sometimes not. We are taught to believe that the baby is in there, just doing its own thing, sleeping and kicking spontaneously. But is it not possible that it is our own pregnant life which is causing much of the baby's rest and activity cycles? If they have a pre-natal life whose rhythms of rest and activity flow in harmony, then it seems obvious that upon entering the real world of night and day, they would like a