Dr Montanaro writes that at around 6-8 weeks old (at the end of the symbiotic period) the child starts on our solar pattern and begins to sleep longer at night.
"The newborn simply does not have any experience of night and day and takes a certain time to enter this solar routine. The child must experience this difference for a certain amount of time before the problem is naturally corrected."
At a month old I want to encourage Otis to observe our solar pattern and sleep longer at night (he currently sleeps for longer periods and more soundly during the day and wakes more frequently at night).
To encourage him to observe our solar routine I have taken the following steps. Of course it's too early to determine if it is at all effective, but I'm giving it a go.
1. Allow the child to experience night and day. Expose the child to daylight, spend time outside everyday with fresh air and sunshine, open curtains. For daytime sleeps the room is darkened but not entirely, allow sunshine to peep in (as in the above picture). Allow the child to experience night, don't stimulate or use bright lighting at nighttime.
2. Prepare the child for nighttime.
Establish a routine. Let the child know what will happen next, let him know that night time is coming. We will attempt to be regular and to commence our night time ritual at the same time every night (as reasonably possible).
Establish ritual. Do the same things every night (as reasonably possible) in the same order, in preparation for night time sleep (bath, massage, quiet play, feed, bed).
3. Allow the child to relax. A warm bath, massage, quiet play and milk are all good ways to relax before sleep. Check the child is comfortable, check clothing and for warmth.
Do you bathe your child like this? We have been using a baby bath but Otis really resisted. Above is a picture of Otis in a normal/adult sized bathtub. There are two thick towels underneath him for comfort and support and a small cloth on him to keep him warm. There is only an inch or two of water in the bath. He is free to move and kick as splash as much as he likes. He now really enjoys the experience and is much more relaxed.
Massage has always been important to us and is great for relaxation. As an added benefit the oil also moisturises Otis's dry skin. I didn't massage Caspar at such a young age so I wasn't sure on what medium to use, I decided on almond oil and it's working really well.
4. Allow the child to detach from the breast themselves. We know the fats that aid sleep are in the latter part of the milk, therefore when possible let the child empty the breast. And as Dr Montanaro says to allow the child to derive the full pleasure from breastfeeding.
5. Be present. At such a young age the child still needs it's mother (points of reference) to be near and attend to their needs.
It sounds so simple. Wishing you a good nights sleep.