Thursday, November 29, 2007

There are Rules?

So, in reading around the interweb, I have come across folks talking about the 2-Hour Rule. For those of you who aren't in the know on this one, apparently you are supposed to get your darling noodle to be awake for no more than 2 hours at a time. To which I say, "BUH?"

Granted, Little Bug's start is different than most babies. The nurses in the NICU had him on a strict 3 hour schedule as soon as possible. Before we took him home, he was Mr. Regular Schedule Man.

When he got home, he was on several different medications that he was scheduled to take every 3 hours. Because all of the meds were compounded for him, he took them orally, in his bottle of expressed breastmilk (more on that later) every 3 hours, so the every-3-hour schedule remained the same. Change diaper, feed, put down to sleep. Even at 2:30 AM and again at 5:30 AM. Our household got into the rhythm of his life.

Now that he has been off the meds for a couple of months, our routine has slacked. We feed him when he's hungry, which is every two hours this week as he appears to be in a growth spurt, we put him down to sleep when he gets tired.

And, you know what, for the most part he sleeps through the night. He's up at 5:00 or 6:00 AM, and he naps for extremely short periods of time. Then he goes to sleep at about 6:00 PM with occasional wake ups for extra food until we go to bed at 9:00 or 10:00 PM.

But there are plenty of periods of time where he is up for way more than 2 hours. We lead an active life and he joins us on hikes and shopping trips and he even goes with us for pedicures. If he falls asleep while we are out, that's great. But if not we don't stress about it if he seems happy, which he does most of the time as his adorable and incessant giggling show. Do we force him to nap every 2 hours? Oh hell no.

And this may be a radical thing to believe, but I kind of think that Little Bug tells us what he needs. When he has got his crank on, sure, it's time to nap. But I don't think I'm depriving him of much needed nappage right now (if anything, he deprives ME of it).

Maybe that's why some of the parenting stuff is so wild to me. Little Bug lets us know and I'd wager many babies do the same. Scheduling rules and the like seem so a product of needing to control anything. Perhaps I'm Bad Mommy because I have learned a thing or two about wanting control and not having it. Perhaps I'm not setting the boundaries necessary for future happiness. Hell. Perhaps I'm raising a Future Insomniac for America.

But, honestly, it doesn't matter. As long as Little Bug keeps kicking and giggling and smiling, I think we're okay.


Jessica said...

I've heard that idea too, but never expressed as a "rule." More as a suggestion for getting your sleepless baby to nap - "Many babies can't stay awake more than a couple of hours, so try putting him down for a nap 2 hours after he wakes up for a few days and see if that works."

D is pretty much a 2-3-4 baby - he takes his first nap 2 hours after he wakes up in the morning, his second nap 3 hours after he wakes up from that, and goes to bed 4 hours after waking up from nap #2. But even though it's a common enough pattern to have a nickname, it's certainly not something we *enforce*. Just something we noticed and try to go along with as being well-rested makes D a happier baby.

Even taking Bug's adjusted age into account, I can't imagine anyone seriously suggesting that an 8-month old can't stay awake for more than 2 hours at a time! That's just absurd.

Norah said...

I have never heard the two hour rule before, which means that we never followed it. My babies slept when they were tired.