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Discover the secret of childhood from 0-3 year old:

Nap and sleep

Benefits of a floor bed

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011 3:50 pm | By Stephanie Woo

If your baby doesn’t sleep in a floor bed, I highly recommend it! It is SUPERB for developing their movement and excellent for your sanity. They’ll be independent and free, which means they won’t disturb you quite so early in the morning! M&B will play in their floor bed for 30-45 minutes in the morning before making a peep because they have easy access to their toys AND they can roll around and entertain themselves!

How To (Not) Rock Your Baby To Sleep

Thursday, June 9th, 2011 12:37 am | By Stephanie Woo

Brooke and Mackenzie are 4 ½ months. Two weeks ago, I hired a new nanny from China who has been nannying for five years in the US. On the third day she started working with us, Brooke fussed a little bit before her morning nap. My nanny immediately picked her up and rocked her to sleep. Brooke fell asleep in her arms. I didn’t say anything but I made a mental note because in my house, we never rock our children to sleep.

Another time, she told me that babies like to drink milk before sleeping, so as soon as Brooke started fussing before her nap, the nanny started feeding her some milk. In my observation, this did not shorten the fussing time. I could tell that the nanny was experienced and I didn’t say anything once again.

Sunday and Monday came (nanny’s days off) and it was just me and the kids. Again, Brooke was fussy before her nap. I just let her fuss and eventually it became full-out crying. I let her cry for 3 minutes and then went in, picked her up, patted her until she became calm and then put her down again. Lo and behold, she started screaming again. So I let her cry for another 3 (LONG, it’s so hard to listen to your baby cry) minutes, went in and did the same thing. I did this 4 times in total, till she finally fell asleep.

The next day, she was fussy AGAIN at nap time. I did the same thing. This time, she fell asleep after 2 times. And then that afternoon, I left her on the play mat and she fell asleep by herself, no fussing at all.

The funny part, when the nanny arrived the next day, Brooke did the same thing again. Babies are smart, they know who’s around – who will spoil them and who will not. I told the nanny to leave her to me. It was clear it was just gonna be mommy! And she quickly fell asleep – no rocking, no milk.

I had to have a conversation with the nanny about the whole thing. From her point of view, she, being my employee, didn’t want me to think she was leaving the baby to cry. I reassured her that in this household, it was okay to employ our strategy: if the baby fusses before sleeping (and it’s clear she is not wet, hungry or needs to be burped and that she is really just tired or fussy), let her cry for a few minutes, pick her up to comfort her, then put her straight down. No rocking, no milk, nothing. Just put her down and repeat if necessary. A couple days later, Brooke was back to her old self: we put her down in her bed and she puts herself to sleep.

I want to raise independent, happy children. When babies can put themselves to sleep, they are learning to be independent, without needing an adult to fall asleep. And this makes for happier babies.

Baby Beds

Thursday, June 9th, 2011 12:35 am | By Stephanie Woo

In our family, we don’t believe in cribs. I’ve never seen any of my 6 nieces or nephews in one. Cribs confine babies to small spaces and hinder their movement and development. It also restricts a baby’s vision because they cannot see clearly past the wooden poles. All they have is an empty white ceiling to stare at. No wonder babies will stare at a mobile all day long, because they have nothing else to look at. Parents believe mobiles are great for developing their baby’s vision – it is, if that’s all they have to look at!

Night bed

Up to four months, our babies slept in baskets and co-sleepers at night mainly because we lived in a tiny 400 sq ft house and didn’t have much space to work with. The basket and co-sleeper were fine when they were tiny infants, but I could tell it was cramping their style. And it wasn’t until I put them on their own mattress that I saw just how cramped they were. 

As soon as we moved to our new 1200 sq ft house, we put them to sleep on a twin mattress. I saw just how much space a baby needs to move around, even in their sleep. I couldn’t imagine Mackenzie turning 360 degrees in her sleep until I witnessed it! When you don’t give them space to move, they don’t. But when they have the space to exercise, they do and it really helps their development. 

I have found that since they’ve been sleeping on the low floor mattresses, their overall movement has increased and improved. The other morning, we found Brooke (5 1/2 months) had ‘crawled’ off the mattress (we put a thick rug next to the mattress so it wouldn’t hurt if they fell). I figure she probably put one limb down and then gravity helped the rest of the way, but, in either case, she wasn’t crying, instead she was working hard making her way somewhere (we think perhaps to the candy store) but never made it there before we caught her! 

Day Bed

The first two months, the babies spent most of their time in our bed or on the living room sofa, which is where I spent most of my time. At 3 months, as they started moving more and more, we devised a day ‘bed’ (mat) on the floor for them that consisted of two thick wool blankets, some towels and a regular bed sheet on top. It was about 5’ x 3.5’. Whenever they were awake, we would put them on this mat on their tummy. As they’ve grown, their mat has grown to 8’ x 3.5’. This mat gives them ample room to move around.

At four months, Mackenzie had slithered 5 feet from one end of the mat to the other end. At five months, Brooke slithers around the perimeter of the mat in a circle. I think having room to move helped their development whereas many babies at this age are still confined to mother’s arms, cribs, swings or baby car seats and never get a chance to move much on a open, flat, hard surface, which is what they need to move properly.