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When you are solving a baby sleep issue, you can spend a lot of time wondering what is wrong and how to fix it. You can agonize over which solution to go with. A simple answer is to experiment. Give it a try and if it doesn’t work, go back to the way it was. Basically, it doesn’t hurt to try. So if you are wondering if your child is ready for a four hour schedule, try it and see how it goes. I personally get a bit nervous when trying new things because it can take some time to get back on track if they don’t work out. Here are some experimentation tips.
- When you are experimenting, keep in mind that you really should give it a few days before deciding for sure if it is or isn’t working. Sticking with the four hour schedule decision, your child might do just fine the first day of it, but really need more calories. After a few days, there could be night waking or short naps because he wasn’t really ready and needed more feedings in a day.
- Keep a proper perspective. If you try something out and your child isn’t ready, fight the urge to feel like you have then regressed. Keep in mind that you are only experimenting, not definitely moving one way or the other.
- Be willing to go back. When I first stopped swaddling Kaitlyn at 9 weeks, I soon saw after a couple of naps that she just wasn’t ready for it. I had to decide whether to press on or go back to swaddling. I really wanted her to be done swaddling, but in reality she just wasn’t ready yet. We went back to the swaddle.
- Try only one thing at a time. Don’t change several things at once because then you won’t know for sure what is the problem if your child has a hard time with the change. Keep your variables at a minimum.
- Be aware that things can go wrong and take a while to get back on track. When Kaitlyn was around 6-8ish weeks, I decided to try to get her to do a dreamfeed. She was going to bed for the night at 8:30 and then waking around 2:30. I figured a dreamfeed would push her for longer nighttime sleep, thus giving me longer nighttime sleep. It really backfired. She wouldn’t wake up to eat no matter what I tried. I had stayed up late with no success. I tried it a second night with no success. The third night she ate, but then still woke around 3. I decided to forget the dreamfeed. She had a week of waking earlier in the night, disrupting my sleep more. We all know that a week in newborn time seems like an eternity. It just wasn’t a great situation.
- It also might go really right. Things might work out really well. It can make you nervous to drop the dreamfeed, but once you do, a whole world opens up to you. You can go to bed early if you want to. You can go out after the kids go to bed and not have to be back a couple of hours later, which means you can go on a real date with your husband. Plus, your child will be getting better quality sleep.
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