Author Topic: Starting E.A.S.Y. at Four Months or Older  (Read 46253 times)

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Offline Lªuren

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Starting E.A.S.Y. at Four Months or Older
« on: August 16, 2006, 20:06:24 pm »
Starting E.A.S.Y. at Four Months or Older

If your baby is four months or older, and she’s never had a routine, it’s time to put her on one. The process is different from that of younger babies for three important reasons:

1.   It’s a four - hour routine. Sometimes parents don’t realise they have to adjust the routine to their child’s more advanced development. Their baby is eating more efficiently and sustaining ever-increasing periods of activity but they’re still feeding her every three hours—in effect, they’re trying to turn back the clock. For example, Diane and Bob’s six-month-old Harry was suddenly starting to wake at night, seemingly hungry. Well-meaning parents that they are, they fed him at night. And knowing he needed more food during the day, instead of feeding him every four hours, they started feeding him every three hours as they had done when he was younger, reasoning, quite correctly, that he was having a growth spurt. But that’s a solution for a if three-month-old, not a six-month-old, who should be eating every four hours and sleeping through the night. (They need to feed him  more at each feed, which I explain in chapter 3, pages 120—122.)

2.  We use my ‘Pick-up/put-down method” (P U/PD.) to make changes. With babies over four months old, sleep difficulties are invariably part of the reason why it’s impossible to sustain a daily routine, if not the entire problem. This is when I introduce beleaguered and skeptical parents to PU/PD, a technique I rarely advise for younger babies (a detailed description of this key sleep strategy is the subject of chapter 6).

3.   Establishing a structured routine over four months is almost always complicated by accidental parenting. Because parents have already a tried other methods, or a medley of methods, their baby is confused. And in most cases, the baby has already gotten into a bad habit, such as falling asleep on the breast or waking repeatedly during the night. Therefore, putting an older baby on E.A.S.Y. invariably involves more commitment and work, a bit of sacrifice, and a great deal of consistency. Bear in mind that it took at least four months fir those bad habits to develop. It won’t take nearly that long to get rid of them If you stick with the plan. The older the baby, obviously, the harder it will be to change his routine, especially if he’s still waking at night and is not used to any type of structure in his day.
Because babies are individuals, and because what happens inside each of their homes is different too, I need to find out exactly what the parents having been doing so that they can tailor my strategies accordingly. If you’ve read thus far, you should already be anticipating the kind of questions I’d ask parents whose baby has never had a routine:

REGARDING THE E: How often are you feeding your baby? How long are his feeds? How many ml/ounces of formula or breast milk is he eating during the day? If he’s close to the six-month mark, have you also introduced solid food? Although it’s only a guideline, see how your baby measures up on the “E.A.S.Y. by Weight” (page 29) and “Feeding 101” (page 95) charts. If he’s eating every three hours or less, that’s inappropriate for a four-months or older child. If his feeds are too short, he might be a snacker; if too long, he may be using you as a pacifier. Also, babies who aren’t on a routine by four months often eat too little during the day and get up at night for additional feeds. Particularly if they’re over six months, they often need more sustenance than a liquid diet provides. You might want to read chapter 3 as well before introducing EASY.

REGARDING THE A: Is he more alert than ever? Is he starting to roll over? What kinds of activities does your child do during the day—play on a mat, attend a Mother and Baby group, sit in front of the TV? It’s sometimes harder to establish a schedule with a more active baby~ especially if he’s never had one. You also have to make sure that you’re not doing too much with your baby, which would make it hard for him to calm down for naps and bedtime and disrupt his eating as well.

REGARDING THE S: Is he sleeping for at least six hours straight in the night—which he should be by four months—or does he still wake for a feed? What time does he get up in the morning, and do you go right in to him or allow him to play independently in his cot? Does he nap well, and for how long? Do you put him in his cot for naps, or do you lust allow him to get exhausted and sleep wherever he passes out? The S questions help gauge whether you’ve been allowing your baby to learn how to self—soothe and get to sleep on his own, whether you’ve taken charge of his sleeping, or let him lead you. The latter, obviously, leads to problems.

REGARDING THE Y: Have you been under more stress than usual? Have you been ill? Depressed? Do you have support from your partner, your family, your friends? It takes stamina and dedication to establish a routine if your life has been chaotic. If you’re not up to speed, make sure that you nurture your adult needs first. It’s almost impossible to minister to a baby, if it feels like you need to be taken care of. If you don’t have support, get some. Having someone else by your side to give You a break is great, hut even a shoulder to cry on is better than nothing.

The thing to keep in mind when introducing a routine for the first time is that there are rarely overnight miracles—three days, a week, even two, but never overnight. When ushering in any new regime to a baby of any age, you’re going to get resistance. I’ve counselled enough parents to know that some of you out there really do expect magic. You may say you want your baby on the E.A.S.Y. routine, but to do so; you have to take certain actions. You have to be the monitor and guide, at least until your baby gets on track. Especially if your baby hasn’t ever had a routine, you may have to forfeit something for a few weeks of your own time. Many parents resist that notion, like the mum who assured me she’d “do anything” to get her baby on E.A.S.Y., all the while firing off a barrage of questions: “Do I have to stay home every day in order to get him on a routine? Or can I go out with him and have him take naps in the car seat? If I have to stay home, will I ever get out  of the house with my son? Please help me.”

Have some perspective, luv! Once your baby gets used to the E.A.S.Y. routine, you don’t have to feel like a prisoner. Fit your errands into your baby’s time. You might feed the baby and then his A time will be riding in the car with you and doing errands. Or you might do a feed and activity at home, and let your baby sleep in the car seat or pram. (Your baby may not nap as long, though, if he’s the type who wakes up when the car engine turns off; more about routine busters on page 179.)

However, when you’re first trying to establish a routine, the idea would he for you and your partner to stay at home for a fortnight (two weeks) to give your child a chance to get used to a new routine, a week at the least. You must make the time to make the change. During this critical introductory phase, see to it that his feeds, his activities, and his sleep times happen in a familiar environment. Just two weeks, mind you, not the rest of your life. Yes, you might have to put up with a little extra crankiness, even crying, while your baby adjusts to the change. The first few days will be especially tough because you’ve already programmed this baby in a different way and now you have to undo the old patterns. But if you hang in there, EASY. Will work. Like the old saying goes, “It works if you work it.”

Think of it this way: When you first go on holiday~ you’re not in holiday mode. It takes a few (lays for you to switch gears, leaving thoughts of your job and other responsibilities behind. It’s the same for babies. Their minds are fixed on the old regime. when you try to change things, your baby is going to say (with his cries), “What the hell are you doing? We don’t do it this way! i’m screaming as loud as 1 can, but you’re not listening!”

The good news is that babies’ memories are relatively small. If you’re as consistent with the new way as you have been with the old, he’ll eventually get used to it. And after a few really tough days or weeks, you’ll find that it is better—no more erratic feeds, no waking up in the middle of the night, no frustrating days when you don’t understand what he wants.

I always suggest that parents set aside at least five days to introduce EASY. One of them should take the week off if possible. As you read through the plan, you might be surprised to see that I tell you to follow the suggested times pretty rigidly, whereas I have repeatedly told you not to go by a clock. For the purpose of this retraining period only, you have to be somewhat of a clock-watcher and far more inflexible than I would usually recommend. Once your baby is on a structured routine, it won’t matter if you veer half an hour one way or the other. But at first, try to stick to the times I advise.

The Plan
Days One and Two. Don’t intervene at this point; just observe for two solid days. Pay attention to everything. Reread the questions I ask (page 41), and try to analyse the effects of having no routine. Make note of feeding times, length of naps, bedtimes, and so on.

On the evening of Day Two, in preparation for Day Three, you must go to sleep when your baby does, and do the same thing each successive night as well. You’re going to need to be rested to withstand the next few days (or longer). Ideally, since you’re planning to stay at home for this week, you can also nap when he naps. Most things in your life can be put off for a bit. You might be in for a rough few days, but they will be worth how smashing your baby and you will feel when he’s on a routine.

Day Three: The day officially starts at 7 AM. If he’s asleep, wake him — even if he usually sleeps ‘til 9. If your child gets up at 5, do
P.U./P.D. (pages 221—224) to try to get him back to sleep. If he’s used to rising so early, and especially if you normally take him out and play with him at that hour, he’s going to protest. You might end up doing PU./P.D. for an hour or more, because he’s adamant about getting up. Do not take him into your bed, a mistake a lot of parents make when their babies wake so early.

Take him out of his cot and feed him. Follow this with an activity time. A four-month old can usually sustain 11/4_ to 1/2-hour play period; a month-old, as long as two hours; a nine-month old, two to three hours. Your child should be somewhere in that range. Some parents insist, “My baby won’t stay up that long”, and to them I say, do whatever you can to keep her up—a fan dance if necessary. Sing songs, make funny faces, keep her upright with lots of whistles and bangs.

Following the four-hour E.A.S.Y. routine on page 34, start to put your baby down for her morning nap around twenty minutes before you actually want her to sleep, say around 8:15. If you’re unbelievably fortunate and have an adaptable baby, she’ll do the usual twenty minutes of settling in and then nap for an hour and a half or two. However, most babies who have never had a routine resist going down, so you will have to do P.U./P.D. to send her off to sleep. If you’re committed and you’re doing it correctly—putting her back down the second she stops fussing after twenty to forty minutes she’ll eventually go to sleep. Yes, some babies take longer; I myself have had to do it for an hour or hour and a half, using up almost all the baby’s “S” time. But remember that old saying, “It’s darkest just before the dawn.” The method takes resolve and patience and a bit of faith as well: It does work.

If you’ve had to do P.U./P.D., expect her to stay asleep for only forty minutes (remember you’ve spent almost that much time getting her down). If she wakes up earlier, go back in and do PU/PD). You might think this is crazy. If she’s had forty minutes’ sleep and nap time is supposed to be under 2 hours, you might have to spend forty minutes getting her back to sleep and then she has only ten minutes left. Trust me: You’re changing her routine and this is how you do it. Even if she’s slept for only ten minutes, wake her up at 11 in time for her feed, so you don’t get off track.

After you feed her, do an activity, and, again, go into her room at around 12:40, twenty minutes before it’s time for her 1 P.M. nap. This time, it might only take her twenty minutes to get to sleep. If she doesn’t sleep at least an hour and a quarter, do P.U./P.D. again. She also might sleep longer, but be sure to wake her up by 3 when it’s time for the E.

The day will be pretty exhausting for both of you. So she might be extra tired in the afternoon. After she has a feed and does an activity, watch fir signs of sleepiness. If she’s yawning, let her have a forty-minute catnap somewhere between 5 and 6. If not and she’s playing happily, put her to bed at 6 or 6:30, instead of 7. If she wakes up at 9, do P.U./P.D. again. Give her a dream feed between 10 and 11 (dream-feeding is explained in great detail on pages 93—94 and 195—196).

There’s a good chance she’ll get up at 1 or 2 AM. You do P.U./P.D. again. You could be there fir an hour and a half just to get her to sleep for three hours straight. Do it all night if you have to, until 7 A.M., at which point you’re into Day Four.

Day Four. Even if she’s sleeping at 7, and you’re utterly exhausted, wake her up.
You will go through the same process as on Day Three, but now instead of PU/PD. taking forty-five minutes or an hour, it will probably take only a half hour. She probably will sleep longer, too. We’re aiming for naps of an hour and a half each at least. But use your judgment. If she has been asleep an hour and fifteen minutes and seems happy when she wakes, get her up. On the other hand if she has slept only an hour, you had better do PJJ./P.I). again, because most babies regress quickly once they are accustomed to shorter naps. Remember to let her have that five o’clock nap if she’s tired.

Day Five. By Day Five you should have smooth sailing. Maybe you’ll have to do PIJ./P.D. a hit, but it will take far less time now. With a six— month-old, it may take seven days altogether—two for observing, five for this turnaround process. With a nine-month-old, it could take up to two weeks (that’s the worse case I’ve seen) because the baby is so deeply entrenched in his own routine that when you try to change him to yours, he’ll be much more intractable than a younger baby.

The stumbling block is that parents are afraid it’s going to last forever. After devoting four days to changing five-month-old Sam’s routine, Veronica, his mum, expressed wonder at the fact that she and her hus¬band could now have a leisurely glass of wine after dinner, unafraid that their Son would disturb their evening. “I can’t believe it took us such a short time. I say to every mum as I said to Veronica, “It worked because you were as consistent in the new way as you were in the old way.” I also warned her that sometimes, especially with little boys (whom I’ve noticed, and gender research also indicates, tend to be the more fragile sleepers), a baby will do fine for a week and then regress and start waking in the middle of the night again or taking too short naps. When this happens, many parents mistakenly think that my plan failed. But you have to he as consistent in the structure as you were with the chaos. Lf you have a regression, go back to doing PU/PD). I guarantee that because your baby has already experienced it, the technique will take less time whenever you have to reapply it.
Routine is key. I will keep reminding you of the importance of E.A.S.Y. throughout this hook. I give it so much time and attention, because a lack of structure and consistency is often at the heart of the most common child—rearing challenges. That is not to say that eating, sleeping and behavior problems (which I discuss in greater detail in chapters 3 through 8 ) wont crop up even if you’re on a good routine. Still, it’s a lot easier to come up with solutions if you already have structure in your day.

All taken from “The Baby Whisperer – Solves all your Problems - p39”
« Last Edit: November 12, 2013, 12:39:25 pm by amayzie »
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