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*Go to Bed Kid-Part 2*

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Still working on the WIP "The Natural Parent"- I decided I would write this book online and see how it goes.
Bedtime  Routines-Go to Sleep Kid
When it comes to the sleep habits for infants a new parent is always bombarded with advice.  When Mhia, my youngest was released from the hospital at two weeks old she weighed 4lbs. 12 oz. and slept all night. I was ecstatic with this. The child ate well during the day, was very curious, slept soundly through the night and woke around 5 in the morning.  The pediatrician had a problem with this. She felt I should wake the baby every three hours for a feeding. Mhia wasn’t having it. She would refuse to nurse and after a couple of nights of us both being harassed, I left her alone. Who was I to know how her internal clock worked? At each weekly visit to the pediatrician the child had gained her required weight and everyone was happy. With the older girls that was a different story. Maybe the fact they stayed in the hospital for five and six weeks respectfully, had round the clock hand and foot wait service, and a nervous mom who constantly put her hands on their backs or chest to check their breathing, all added up to twitchy sleepers. I had to establish a routine with them quickly.
     I believe in rules, discipline and set times for bath, bed, and beyond. Children should be in bed by 7 p.m.-8 at the latest. And if this bedtime routine is implemented in the child as an infant by the time the child has entered school, it will have been ingrained into their system.
        In my home as the girls were growing up we would eat dinner together by 6 p.m. have baths by 6:30 p.m. and then enjoy some form of quiet entertainment until 8 p.m. After that it was bedtime. This would give me time to clean and enjoy whatever I wanted to do before I went to bed. This routine never wavered until they were at least ten years old. If they didn’t go to sleep they had to be in their rooms.
The first place to start the bedtime routine is the first night after birth. Whether the child is born in the hospital or in the home, the first night is the best time to begin a bedtime routine. If your baby rooms with you it will be extremely hard not to hold him while he is asleep or to cuddle and snuggle with your sweet smelling little girl until she wakes, but whatever you start with the baby will become its habit. If you pat the back or rock or hold the pacifier in the mouth until he sleeps, in the middle of the night when he wakes you will have to do the same. Remember the old saying ‘whatever you did to get her you will have to do to keep her’? It works the same with everything you do with an infant because you are imprinting. It is never too early to teach a child to sleep on its own. I’m not saying not to hold your baby and show it love what I am suggesting is for you to help the baby to learn to put itself to sleep in its own bed.
     After you have bathed and fed your infant, cuddled together for a little bit and read or sing a soft lullaby, place the child in the bed just before she goes to sleep. I repeat, before she goes to sleep. This will allow the baby the opportunity to learn what sleep position she likes best. Turn the light down low, turn on a little soft music, classical or a soothing learning CD like “Sounds Like Fun” by Discovery Toys. There are two reasons I suggest this CD, one is because I have had this selection way before the birth of my daughters. Two, I first bought “Sounds Like Fun” as a cassette, used it all of the girl’s lives and integrated it into use for my home based childcare center. When the tape finally broke I called Discovery Toys hoping to be able to buy another and was informed the company would replace the cassette with a CD for free! I was sold on the Discovery Toys for life because everything you buy has a life time guarantee. The songs go through the range of singing about manners, days of the week, counting, letter sounds, Spanish and a lot more all with soft music playing in the background so the baby sucks in a little knowledge as she sleeps.
If you start and continue the sleep routines from infancy you will have none of the bedding problems seen on the television shows as the child grows older. Put your routines in writing (carve in stone) so any emergency caregiver or babysitter will know how to maintain the consistency which will keep the child comfortable, secure and on the right track.

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