Mother As First Guru ( By Swami Gurupremananda Saraswati
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continuation of those same cycles. But for many women there is not this harmony. A baby's life is not seen as a continuum of pre-natal experience but as "starting" from birth.
   Many parents make the mistake of thinking that their babies and children are capable of judging for themselves the amount of stimulation they need or that a reasonably contented child should just be left awake until they show signs of tiredness before putting to bed. In my opinion this is a recipe for a disaster. Imagine if, as an adult, you only went to sleep when dead tired. Your life would run to no timetable, your sleeping patterns would be completely out of sync with both nature and society, your diet and bowels would go haywire, it would take months to get back to a sensible routine. Imagine if this awakeness was brought about by randomly self-induced stimulation from any means which took your fancy. But this is the regime some parents allow their children. We've all seen the rampaging toddler who doesn't stop till he drops dead at 10 pm. The parents say - "Oh he has always been like that since he was a baby". This may well be true, but only because he was never taught or shown any other way to be. Perhaps he has simply copied the parents' own energy patterns.
   In teaching a baby to sleep a mother must have faith in herself and confidence in her approach that she is the teacher, that she is the guru. The infant is only barely conscious of its own basic needs - it needs to have its needs prioritised by someone of organised energy. Of course babies need times of stimulation, intimate physical contact and play but these times are frequently there in between the normal basic functions of resting and feeding. A child also needs time just to be happy alone -comfortable with itself.
   For all humans, it is normal to have a short time of sub-consciousness (alpha state) both before and after deeper sleep. This is the time when a mother should not disturb the baby so that they learn that lying alone can be OK rather than picking them up as soon as they wake for fear they might become lonely or afraid.
   Poor sleeping patterns in children (and adults) can begin to emerge simply because the person has never been given opportunity to find routine in their sleep or be comfortable with themself in bed. The world is full of such adults, who can only sleep next to their partner, or who need the boredom of T.V. or books to put them to sleep. In my experience, these are the people who cannot lie or sit still with their eyes closed in Yoga Nidra for even 5 minutes or who fidget after 2 minutes in meditation practice. The common link is.


 the inability to simply wait and watch time pass, to be able to contemplate nothing in particular and witness the passing of one's thoughts and feelings All these patterns may have their beginnings right back in infancy with bad sleeping patterns, connected to a cycle of over-stimulation and dog tiredness.

~Day Sleeps and Night Sleeps~

   A newly born infant can be expected to sleep for an average of about 18 hours in every 24 hour period. This sleep will be punctuated by periods of feeding and activity. The activity for a child at this age is simply looking around, relating to his mother, and maybe 10 to 15 minutes of "kick time".
   After about 6 weeks old, he will start to reduce sleep time by an average of about an hour in a day over several weeks, usually adding that increase in alertness and wakefulness to the mid-morning wake period. A few babies may begin to sleep right through the night around this time.
   By the age of twelve weeks, the wakeful day-periods should have expanded to about 2 hours. The need for multiple breastfeeds throughout the night should then begin to diminish as mother's supply increases and as they get the idea that "day is for fun and night is for rest.".
   By age 6 months, around the time solid food is being introduced, a baby should need only two periods of sleep in the day - one morning and one afternoon. This is also the best minimum. He may or may not be sleeping right through the night at this stage, and often, after weeks of happily sleeping "right through", may occasionally start waking again. Be careful never to get attached to their sleeping right through, as babies and young children often have disturbed nights in different phases of their development. Try not to be depressed or anxious if full night sleeps disappear for a while. Inconsistency of sleeping patterns is often the norm.
   At about 12 months, a baby usually sleeps for (and should be getting as a minimum) about 12 hours at night, plus 2 to 4 hours during the day. Plenty of sleep is needed for this period of rapid growth in consciousness. The day sleep might be split between morning and afternoon, or just taken on either occasion. Two sleeps during the day may continue up to 2 years of age for a child used to such a routine and who has a regular opportunity to relax in their own bed. The morning sleep will eventually be dropped first, but

   
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Please Note:
The complete ‘Mother As First Guru’ Set also contains Book 2 + 2 audio cds. Book 2 relating to comprehensive Yoga Practices as well as the Audio Instructional practices (2 cd set) are only available with your purchase and is NOT available on the Reading Room.

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