In my obsession with sleep, I can tell you exactly how much my baby is averaging per week. I have this data from the day he was born. I can’t imagine how much I would guess he sleeps. It would either be more than what he actually gets, or less, depending on how stressed out I’m feeling. Tracking his sleep helps me keep it real, so to speak.
If you work and your baby is on a schedule, say waking up at the same time everyday and going to bed at the same time and sleeping on the day care nap schedule, then you probably have a pretty good idea of how much sleep he or she is getting. If you are home with your child/ren, then it might be more difficult to tell how much sleep he or she gets because the day is just not that cut and dry. Unless you have one of those babies who sleeps when you want them to, there has to be some way of keeping track of it all.
We tracked our daughter’s daily happenings for 18 months. Sounds a bit neurotic, perhaps. But we then understood her much better without having to impose our unreliable memories or stressed perspectives on her. It helped us to respect her natural sleepy times and active times. Most of all, it helped us make sure she was getting enough rest, something that is hard to come by for people of all ages these days.
When establishing a schedule for an infant, it is suggested by several sleep “experts” that you mark wake and sleep times for a few days so that a pattern can be seen. After 14 weeks of tracking Gabriel, we are still waiting for a pattern. Actually, there is a pattern: he falls back to sleep about an hour after waking. Great! So rather than fight his cries (“How can he be tired, he just woke up!”), I can head him off at the pass and put him down. I’m hoping to find some more patterns as he moves through the fourth month. Then we can begin shaping his patterns to ones that are better for him and us. This might be earlier bed times, regular naps, regular night feedings, and establishing a clear routine for these things.
More to come on how we will embark on the adventure of sleep training. And hopefully reap great rewards of sleeping for more than 90 minutes at a time!