Your baby bundle wins the blue ribbon for cuteness, but when it comes to getting a full night’s sleep, she’s at the back of the pack.
We asked local psychotherapist and sleep expert Heather Turgeon for her top five tips.
1. Stick with an early and consistent bedtime.
By 4 months or so, most babies do well with calling it quits around 7 p.m. Keeping them up later makes them overtired and resistant to falling and staying asleep.
2. Go into it with eyes wide open.
Get in the habit of putting her down while she’s drowsy but still awake — even as a newborn. Follow this routine and you might be able to nix excessive bedtime rocking later on.
3. Let them work it out.
Remember that babies are noisy at night (think about how many sounds she makes during the day). Don’t assume that grunting, feet kicking, and other squawks mean she needs you. Learn to tell the difference between a little fuss and an I-need-you cry. If it’s the former, give her a little space and she’ll likely learn to fall back to sleep on her own.
4. Tread lightly.
If she wakes crying, try soothing by the least invasive method first (assuming she doesn’t need to eat). Maybe that means giving her the pacifier, rubbing her back, or rocking a bit. Keep the lights off and use as little stimulation as possible.
5. Timing is everything.
Babies sleep best when you follow their natural biological rhythms. As a guide, a newborn can be awake for about 90 minutes; 4 to 6 months old, about two hours in the morning and two and a half to three hours before bed; 6 to 9 months old, about two and a half hours in the morning and three to four hours before bed; 9 to 12 months old, about two and a half hours in the morning and up to four hours before bed.
Keep these ranges in mind and you’ll both be well rested. Winner.
Heather Turgeon (310-728-0473 or heatherturgeon.com).
ArtBites Mommy & Me Mondays
What: A series of family classes that combines reading, cooking, and crafts.
Why: With a banana boat float and hand-crafted crown, they’ll want to go Where the Wild Things Are.
When: Mon., 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where: 450 S. Detroit St., b/t W. Fourth & W. Sixth Sts. (310-396-4648). Adult and child, $55.
More Than a Mama Open Forum
What: Put those babies to bed, and then dust off your short stories, performance pieces, jokes, spoken word poetry, or songs, and head over to Grow Kid Grow to bond with other creative mamas.
Why: No fear. A little wine will loosen you up.
When: Tues., 7-10 p.m.
Where: Grow Kid Grow, 4310 W. Sunset Blvd., b/t Bates & Fountain Aves., Silver Lake (323-661-4769).
Sesame Street Presents: the Body
What: A hands-on, interactive, multimedia experience that allows children to explore the human body, set in the familiar world of Sesame Street.
Why: All they ever wanted to know about head, shoulders, knees, and toes.
When: Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Discovery Science Center, 2500 N. Main St., at the Santa Ana Fwy., Santa Ana (714-542-2823). Adults, $13; kids 3-17, $10; 2 and under, free.
Photo: Philippe Put / Flickr