Friday, 9 January 2009

Sleep issues

As a parent, have you ever come across a piece of information that made you sigh one of those sighs that comes from deep within, and releases a huge weight from off your shoulders? I have had this a few times, and an article I just read on infant sleeping had this exact effect on me.

For all mothers of infants who just won't seem to sleep, check the article out:

It's titled "5 reasons why high-need infants sleep differently". I love that the article is not called "why your baby won't sleep" or "why won't your infant sleep through the night by one years old." It wasn't called "sleep issues" or "sleep problems". The title doesn't insinuate there is something wrong with my child, just that there is something different.

Reading the article was such a relief. We know Caleb is high-needs, a definition which includes several important and distinct differences from your average infant: different temperament, different stimulus barrier, different transitions, different sleep maturity and different nighttime needs. All of these difference combine to make sleep a difficult thing for him.

- a tense daytime temperament results in nighttime restlessness
- sensory overload causes him to overreact instead of retreating and tuning it out
- having a hard time making any transition means difficulty going from awake to asleep
- immature sleep habits mean his deep sleep periods are not as long as the average infant
- craving constant physical contact and not being able to self soothe during the day translate to needing mom's presence to sleep at night during the first months. However, these same characteristics as the infant gets older mean that the close presence they crave will actually stimulate them into not sleeping.

This is a perfect description of Caleb. The article doesn't give any "advice" or "solutions". It's simply about understanding your child. and really, that's half the battle. We can read all the books out there, surf all the web sites and desperately try to find someone who wrote something that comes sort of close to what your child is. But the truth is, you'd have to write the book on your child, because no other child out there is exactly like yours. I've found that as I've read books looking for solutions, the case studies might come close to describing our situation, but they rarely include all the elements. Any number of differences could result in a complete success or failure of a method. The best thing I've found is this: read to understand your child, and then use the old mommy instinct (and a little faith a and prayer always help!) to come up with the best solution.

No comments: