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Do you want more sleep?   Yes! I need more sleep.

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  1. Amy says

    We were always pretty relaxed about naps and bedtime. I feel life is not scheduled by the minute so naps and bedtimes should be flexible.

  2. Emily DeJeu says

    @ dawn — thanks for sharing so many details of your particular experience! They’ll be helpful to parents who find themselves in the same situation.

  3. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Rajani — thanks for this kind feedback! So glad you liked the article and found it insightful. Sounds like you have first-hand experience with navigating some of these cultural differences. You make a great point — it’s important to remember that parenting practices which seem standard to some might seem strange to others.

    Thanks for commenting, Rajani!

  4. dawn says

    I live in canada where as long as you have enough hours built up with E.I (employment insurance) you can get a full year of paid leave. Although to be specific, 6 months is maternity for the mother, and the other 6 months is ‘parental leave’ and either mother or father can take it.

    I have scoliosis and had back trouble in my later pregnancy and was fortunate enough to have an extended leave by combining ‘disability’ leave with ‘maternity’ and ‘parental leave’. I was able to stop working around 7 months pregnant which gave me lots of time to get ready for the baby (mostly involved me making and freezing gluten free bread for myself so I wouldn’t have to bake after giving birth).

    I have always had a fairly relaxed attitude toward sleep, although I do try to keep a certain level of consistency. I always let my daughter sleep whenever she wanted, but she was always picky about where and how she slept. If she wanted to sleep she would not let me nurse her anywhere but in bed. If I tried to wear leggings or anything to bed she would kick at them until she got her feet inside (this at 4 months old!) I felt like a nudist for the first six months, it was annoying but less annoying then struggling with a crying opinionated baby. She needed lots of skin contact I guess.

    I noticed around 8 months she stopped falling asleep on her own when she was tired, so I had to enforce a nap time finally, but I was always flexible on the time. Some days she was tired at 10:30, other days not until after noon. Some days she stayed up late and slept in the next morning, others she went to bed early and woke up at the crack of dawn.

    now she is over 2.5 and a pretty good sleeper. I just found this site tonight because my husband suggested she wasn’t sleeping enough. She has basically stopped napping unless she stays up really late (rare occasions). If that happens she naps the next day, but won’t fall asleep until 4pm, then stays up late again, and then stays up the next day with no nap.

    I have never believed in letting a baby ‘cry it out’. which is why we have a flexible bed time. However now that the issue came up and we figured it out we realized that without a nap she still averages 10 hrs of sleep each night, sometimes more. I told my husband she never gets sick and always wakes up happy so it shouldn’t be an issue, he just wants her to sleep more so he can sleep more.

    I often wonder if the amount of sleep a child needs could be diet related sometimes. I see a lot of kids who eat a lot of dairy and those kids all have black circles under their eyes, pale pasty skin, and are always cranky and tired. That’s not to say no one should feed their kid dairy, I just think it’s much more common allergen than what is excepted.

    When my daughter was 2 months or so we got a dvd from the health clinic called “The period of Purple Crying”. The video was 11 minutes long and explained that it’s normal for babies that young to cry so hard to turn purple, to cry for up to 5 hrs in a row. It said there was nothing wrong and to make sure not to shake the baby.
    Well the same day I received the dvd my doctor told me I should start offering both breasts in one feeding, and I started trying that (had been sticking to one boob per feed until then). As soon as I did both boobs she started doing the purple crying thing. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong for a week until I re-read “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” (la leche league book) and found the tip about hind milk and foremilk. I had so much milk in the first six month of nursing I went back to one boob/feed and for a while I had to express one side while nursing on the other, and had to stay on one side for up to 6hrs at a time. Once i did that she stopped the purple crying and started sleeping at night again.

  5. Rajani says

    Such a nice article. You have very nicely pinned the exact points of difference. I am from India, settled in US for the time being and having extremely tough time with her sleep. Who-ever in US I have approached tells me, it is because of…….all the points you discussed are not inherent in our culture and I am trying to incorporate. I actually am very open to adapt some things, still it gets difficult to inherent something from outside, when you have never ever seen something like that happening back home. As the above commenter said, evenry culture has goodies….so I’ll leave it at that point…..I will accept the things that suit me and my baby. But I should again say, very very well written and thought article.

  6. Emily DeJeu says

    @ ozgur — Thanks so, so much for sharing this insightful comment! You’re absolutely right — each mom knows her baby best. And I’m so glad you made the observation that there are good things to learn from every culture; I couldn’t agree more. I was hoping people would walk away from the article with that very thought. 🙂

    Thanks for commenting!

  7. özgür says

    Thanks for this great article, it was especially enlightening to read the comments.

    I am Turkish, living in Istanbul and so is my husband. I have been studying and working all my life with Americans and Brits though, and have been observing, since I decided to be a mom, that they are far more strict about sleeping habits than people here.

    My baby, 14 months now, is a challenging sleeper to say the VERY least. He is a very spirited child and seems to believe he is missing all the exciting stuff in the world when he sleeps! He wakes up even to the slightest idea of sun light, from day one. I work at home and need to get to my job after I put him to bed, so I took the strict approach for bed time, which is 7. And I constantly get, from Turkish friends as well as my family, that I should be putting him to bed later and he is waking up early because of early bed time. It’s not true, he does not wake up any time later than 6:30, unless he is beyond exhausted. If he goes to bed late, he just sleeps less. Tell it to my grandma though!

    On the other hand, the fact that my baby never sleeps through the night was making me upset, and I heard from a lot of Brit friends that I should try the cry-it-out method. That is unheard of here. And STTN is not something expected from a baby until he is at least 2. I decided not to worry too much and now feel more comfortable taking my grandma’s word on this.

    We moms know how individual each baby can be, and there are good things to learn from every culture. In the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is our babies to be happy and cheerful, so do whatever works for you and your little one!

  8. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Filipa — thanks for sharing these insights! Squeezing in quality time with your little one before bedtime can definitely be hard when you’re working. I think that’s something that most working parents struggle with, and have to really work at balancing.

    Interesting info about the paternity leaves in Portugal! I didn’t know this — thanks for sharing! I agree; it’s crucial that dads have time to pitch in and “get their hands dirty” (literally and metaphorically!) right from the beginning. I think it lays a good foundation for the future — a foundation that’s built on both parents working together and raising the baby together.

    Thanks for commenting, Filipa!

  9. Filipa says

    I live in Portugal where adults’ bedtime are neither too late or too early (around 11pm-12am). I was always different from the norm and needed to go to bed at around 10pm, maximum 11pm. Now with my baby, I think the right bedtime for her is around 8pm (starting the routine earlier). However, I’m struggling with the balance of putting her to sleep early and we both spending quality time with her, after coming home from work. Norm is that people work extra hours (small country, small corporation divisions, most companies have streamlined their workforce to the minimum). This means it’s normal to come home past 7pm 🙁 I’m still on maternity leave but I see already this tough balance with my husband. Despite his efforts to come early, sometimes she’s already asleep or nearly. When she starts on solids I really want us to dinner together as a family so I think I’ll just have to push bedtime to a later timing (9 or 9.30 perhaps).
    Regarding maternity leaves we are very lucky in Portugal. Daddy can have 20 working days during mummy’s leave and then an additional 30 days that can only be enjoyed after mummy’s 4 or 5 months. The daddys that have used this month that I know of have told me how important this was for their connection with the baby (and baby related chores). Baby was all mummy before and started to pay much more attention to daddy afterwards. In exchange daddys learned, the hard way, on doing everything baby needs all by themselves! I really think its critical legislations include daddys as a key part in baby fundamentals of development.

  10. Emily DeJeu says

    @ A — Oh, no! So sorry to hear that his night sleep still isn’t where you’d like it to be. That can be so frustrating! Still, if there’s one thing I’ve learned as I parent my three children, it’s that my best-laid plans often blow up in my face. 😉 Part of the adventure of being a parent, I suppose!

    Hope you slept well last night! Thanks for commenting. 🙂