Why isn't baby-led sleeping a thing?

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Why isn't baby-led sleeping a thing?

Postby StJuniper » 31 Aug 2016, 19:03

I'm sat here with the Feral Kid who decided to skip his nap today, and I'm wondering, WHY do kids dislike sleeping? By all rights, if you did it properly, shouldn't kids enjoy going to sleep when they're tired and put themselves to bed when they notice themselves getting sleepy? I mean, with Tumbleweed, I feel like I have the hang of helping a baby get into a good sleep rhythm without all the miserable crying-it-out I went through with poor Scout Kid, but it seems to all go to the dogs when they figure out that they can get up and play whenever they want. Is this just a product of the modern age? Electric lights and non-circadian sleep cycles? Or could you theoretically have kids who just betook themselves off to their beds when they felt tired, and didn't fight against sleep?

I'm half-tempted to experiment, and half-terrified of the very concept.
Mama to two boys, the Scout Kid P, 02/26/12 and the Feral Kid R 12/15/13, and one little Tumbleweed girl, 05/27/16.
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Re: Why isn't baby-led sleeping a thing?

Postby Lily » 01 Sep 2016, 05:58

I don't have an answer but I do have a counter-example: Izbiz fought sleep to an extraordinary degree as a tiny baby, but since he was about 18 months old he's definitely enjoyed it more and more. He's never once got up to play, and I'm not claiming he's never resisted bedtime but he certainly asks to go to bed more often than not. So I think it might be a matter of personality more than anything else. Apparently I liked to sleep, too, and I napped twice a day till I was 3, so perhaps it's genetic.
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Re: Why isn't baby-led sleeping a thing?

Postby Ali70 » 01 Sep 2016, 06:04

Wouldn't it be great! Sproglet will often ask to go for a nap if she's tired, but other times will be practically cross eyed with exhaustion and adamant she doesn't need to sleep! So in my limited experience she has learned that sleep is a good thing, and I've drilled into her that we need sleep to be able to play, but sometimes the lure of fun now is too great to let her decide to sleep to get better fun later.

Xposted with Lily - Sproglet fought sleep terribly for the first year too, but once she learned to fall asleep without boob improved no end and now likes sleep.
Sproglet born April 2013
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Re: Why isn't baby-led sleeping a thing?

Postby ches » 02 Sep 2016, 03:27

J was an atrocious sleeper as a baby and toddler and didn't even sleep through until he was 5. He has a very very busy brain, and very rarely does any dramatic play or imaginative play. T does lots of imaginative play and has no trouble settling down to sleep (but doesn't like to nap for FOMO). So, I think it's partly something to do with the ability to retreat into your own world and partly an ability to rest your mind, and being able to do both in combination leads to good nappers/sleepers. J does sleep well now, at 9 1/2, and quite fancies a lie-in, but he does struggle some nights to fall asleep.
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Re: Why isn't baby-led sleeping a thing?

Postby GHJingle » 02 Sep 2016, 06:08

It is in our house...... Unfortunately the baby doing the leading likes to wake me up every hour and a half. I need sleep. I'm so sleep deprived I have paid 50 quid for a Lulla doll in the hope for more.
A (May 2012), B (Feb 2016)
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Re: Why isn't baby-led sleeping a thing?

Postby emzit » 02 Sep 2016, 09:40

If we did baby led sleeping there would be no sleep. It's baby led lets wake up a lot in our house. Even today, when muncher woke up at 4 and was ridiculously tired and emotional and spent the day running around at the zoo, told me he wasn't tired and wouldn't sleep in the car on the way home. He slept for an hour l, when he woke up I asked if he had a good sleep and he denied he'd slept at all!

He doesn't sleep through most nights. Let's not even talk about squish.
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Re: Why isn't baby-led sleeping a thing?

Postby StJuniper » 02 Sep 2016, 10:04

No, right, I totally get that for many kids, if we didn't make them sleep it would be a nightmare. But why is it like that? Shouldn't a sleepy child want to rest as much as a hungry child wants to eat the nutrition they need?

Anyways, it's on my mind. Since writing this post, I've switched up my approach to bedtimes a little bit. So sort of like concept of "We provide the food at mealtimes, you choose which of the provided food and how much of it you're going to eat." Children are put in bed at an appropriate time, but may read or play quietly with a toy until they feel ready to drop off. Scout Kid is all over it, Feral Kid is a little more hit and miss; it's worked for nap time but bedtime is still fraught. But with Scout Kid it's pretty much eliminated bedtime shenanigans these last two nights. My thought is that maybe the acting up comes from being required to lie in the dark whether or not they personally feel ready to go to sleep.

I think I'll continue the experiment, though I can see it being annoying if we ever really just wanted them out of the way something-- but then again, if we ever really want them to just go to sleep quickly but they're not, that's super-frustrating anyhow; at least this way, they have a way to keep themselves busy other than "think of an excuse to get out of bed every 10 minutes..."
Mama to two boys, the Scout Kid P, 02/26/12 and the Feral Kid R 12/15/13, and one little Tumbleweed girl, 05/27/16.
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Re: Why isn't baby-led sleeping a thing?

Postby Lily » 02 Sep 2016, 12:53

StJuniper wrote:No, right, I totally get that for many kids, if we didn't make them sleep it would be a nightmare. But why is it like that? Shouldn't a sleepy child want to rest as much as a hungry child wants to eat the nutrition they need?

I think it's to do with how the body reacts in those two situations. When you're hungry, your body just keeps on demanding food. But when you're tired, your body compensates by releasing adrenaline to help you get through. So if you catch a kid who's just beginning to feel tired and put them right in bed, they drop off, but once they start to get overtired it genuinely becomes harder and harder for them to fall asleep, until they just crash.

I guess baby-led sleeping would work if the child was self-aware enough to identify that key moment, but generally they aren't. Just like, often, they're not really aware of the beginnings of hunger until we notice the behavioural signs and offer them a snack.
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Re: Why isn't baby-led sleeping a thing?

Postby qbm » 04 Sep 2016, 14:48

Since giving up her daily nap M just takes herself to bed whenever she's sleepy. Sometimes I'll realise things are quiet and I haven't seen her for a while. That's when I find her in her bed sleeping. Last week I saw her heading back into the house from the garden and when I asked where she was off to she just said, 'I'm going for a wee lie down.'. At bed time she just goes to sleep when we leave the room, even if it's a day where she's had an extra doze. I don't think we really did anything to encourage this though. She was always fairlg good at falling asleep.
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Re: Why isn't baby-led sleeping a thing?

Postby junglewonderland » 11 Sep 2016, 09:48

I think in lots of cultures sleep is a lot more baby led. The people that live near us, you'll often see them at 10pm at the shops with toddlers, and everyone co-sleeps. I think it's pretty western to put your kid to bed in their own room before you go to bed.
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