Three Months

Emma is three months old. I’m glad she is still sleeping through the night. My efforts have paid off in starting her early with a bedtime routine. Although, I haven’t nailed the daytime naps yet. It has been a challenge this week as she hasn’t been drinking much milk too. I can’t figure out this little ladybug sometimes.

Emma is a cat napper. She only naps for max 30 minutes at a time. I scream for joy whenever she lasts longer than 30 minutes. I thought I had it figured out by bringing back the swaddling blankets. Looks like it isn’t enough. For a brief period of time, she was sleeping better. However, just a few days ago, things seem to be returning to square one. Either she is getting more playful, and wants to stay awake longer than she should be or there is an underlying discomfort which I do not know. My husband and I tried napping with her on our bed, but there is no improvement.

Last night, I found myself turning to the likes of Dr. Google again. I typed out my distress signal in the search bar, “3 month old baby sleeps only 30 minutes.” Voila … there are other mothers out there who share the same predicament as I do. My husband sat next to me and watched how the information unfolded. We clicked a couple of links, and then finally stuck on one wbesite where we read 8-10 comments from experienced mothers. This is where we found another clue – too bright of an environment during the day for baby’s naps.

And so, we decided to give it a try. My parents built their home to utilize Hunter Douglas blinds. While they are very easy to maintain and use, it was still very bright during the day time even after we’ve drawn close all the blinds in the room. I’m not ready to take on another project of installing room-darkening shades as it looks complicated as an add-on to the existing customized curtain rails. Personally, I like my room to be bright in the day. I find much joy in seeing the sun rays shine through the window. My husband on the other hand is the opposite. I believe he is of the nocturnal species. But I guess, if it is going to help Emma sleep better in the day, then so be it.

Sometimes, I wonder if I’m going overboard with parenting baby Emma. Perhaps, I am just surrounded by too many people who still think using canes and yelling is the best way to discipline your child. When I tell them Emma needs to go back to her crib and sleep, they’ll retort with such confidence by saying that’s not good for her. Apparently, she needs to get used to sleeping outside of her crib. What they do not know is that my baby sleeps through the night effortlessly. She doesn’t need to be held or rocked for hours to sleep. She doesn’t need to sleep with me on my bed. I lay her down in her crib, swaddle her, give her the pacifier and play some lullabies … and she knows it is nap/bedtime. She will drift off to sleep on her own. I have successfully trained her to associate sleep with her crib.

The old generation believed putting babies to sleep in noisy environments will train them to sleep anywhere and in any situation. Well not all babies can handle that kind of sleep. Emma is growing more alert each day, and getting more playful. Which baby wants to sleep when there’s so much to explore? There’s a reason why they say babies need to be parented to sleep. They need to be taught to take naps, and that sleep is important in our daily life. As a mother, my role is not just to feed, clean and play with her. I am teaching her healthy sleep habits. Who says discpline doesn’t start now at 3 months of age? Babies are smarter than we think. They are quietly observing everything we do every day. So it makes sense to me, as a mother, to be firm with sleep and play times. It is in the best interest for my child.

Of course, there will be times where we have to go outside of routine. Travelling and other important family events will throw the schedule off, and the baby is likely to get more fussy. But it isn’t necessarily a negative thing. At least, after all that, Emma can easily adjust back to normal routine. That’s because I had established one in the first place. I am a true believer of the saying, “A well-rested baby is a happy baby.” Moreover, in Chinese there is a saying that goes, “A baby’s birth imprisons the mother for two years.” We stay-at-home mothers sacrifice a lot when caring for our infants. It is unfair for society to label homemakers as an easy job. It is not the easy way out. In fact, I find working/career mothers have it easier. Just because doing both outside job and parenting seems like its more work, caring for an infant 24-7 is as challenging physically, and especially mentally. Why do you think daycare is so expensive?

Emma is now in Brunei, visiting her grandparents, who are extremely happy to see her again. It was Emma’s first plane ride as well! She did good, but of course was tired and had trouble trying to nap in this new environment. As soon as we arrived at my in-laws home, I did the bedtime routine – bath time, feed, swaddle, lullaby and pacifier. She was asleep within five minutes. Now, she is taking her morning nap. Once she is well rested, we will take her out to visit her aunts in the afternoon.

I keep telling my mother, but she doesn’t get it … that it is us parents who force babies into adapting to our lifestyles, and we never stop to consider what babies at this young of an age really need – good quality sleep. My mother never fails to remind me that carrying a baby too much will spoil them, thus they will want to be carried all the time. However, babies are meant to be carried. These little humans depend and thrive on the closeness and security from their mothers during their early years of life. They will eventually let go of our hands and want to be on their own. So why not cherish these lovely moments now and carry them close as much as possible?

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