Wiggle Monsters at Bedtime

I wonder if it’s just hereditary. My husband always sleeps with his head cocked at an unnatural angle, has a history of talking in his sleep and sometimes sleepwalking (well, more like sleep fixing cars). My parents, on the other hand, always joked I could sleep through an atomic bomb (that ended abruptly when I developed the mommy sixth sense upon having a baby). So it’s definitely Daddy’s fault, let’s just be clear before we begin, haha.

My oldest was always an excellent sleeper as a baby; like right out of a paid infant sleep program infomercial. She went down while still semi-awake, would chatter to herself for a while, and then sleep for 6-8 hours straight. (I know!). So whatever she did after we put her to bed we had no idea except that she would often be completely flipped around in the crib in the morning.

Turns out she must have been turning somersaults all night. Since her transition to a big girl bed, when we’ve become aware of these nightly escapades, it seems that flopping around like crazy, illogically as it sounds, is necessary to calm herself down to sleep. She pushes her butt up in the air so that she’s semi standing on her head, she lays on her back with her legs straight up in the air, she fiddles with her hands, then she flops side to side until she passes out. I’d say it’s restless leg syndrome except it effects her entire body. And she has fits of wiggles punctuating the night too.

Obviously my husband and I knew we could not possibly have the same sleep luck with a second child. And since I was able to breastfeed Number 2, our sleep routine was necessarily different as well. I learned about his wiggle addiction much earlier. As he’s nursing to sleep, Number 2 has to kick his legs (Has to. I’ve tried holding his legs against me, in a you’re safe and secure way, and he’ll struggle to get his legs free; not because he wants them straight or he’s getting into a comfy position, just to continue kicking). He also has to open and close his hands repeatedly. Usually he’ll grab around a finger or part of my nursing bra but lately he’s been going for skin (ouch!). He’s also been known to repeatedly smack himself in the face with an arm while nursing and almost asleep (not joking). And of course he doesn’t even flinch, self-inflicted face smacking doesn’t wake him up in the slightest, but I drop a blanket softly over his legs and he’s instantly awake. Anyway, he doesn’t stop moving some part of his body until he’s dead asleep and even then I’m convinced he’d still suck forever if he could.

On one level I’m thinking that all this wiggling doesn’t seem to bother my babies so why should I care? I almost want to liken it to the habit of a dog who has to turn exactly 3 circles before laying down on his designated end of the couch to sleep. Just one of those odd things, but if it makes you feel better, go for it. But on another level I’m in the shallow end of irrational paranoia predicting diseases that haven’t even been named yet. My daughter has also recently started having night terrors with no known trigger (you know, where your peaceful child wakes up in the middle of the night screaming bloody murder and then fall back asleep like nothing ever happened with no recollection of it the next morning whatsoever? fun stuff).

So I wonder if this restless routine of fighting sleep is somehow related to sleep problems in general (current or future). Or maybe it’s just something lots of kids do? Or, like I said at the beginning, maybe it’s just a way of being that runs in families. I didn’t find much in my searches online. Anyone else have a wiggle monster at bedtime?

Infant Sleep Safety – Only 31% of Blogs Contain Correct Info!

I received a newsletter update from BabyCenter.com with a link to a story about infant sleep safety and thought I’d check it out:

“According to a study scheduled for publication in The Journal of Pediatrics, Google internet searches related to infant sleep safety often do not reflect AAP recommendations.”

By the way, AAP stands for American Academy of Pediatrics. The article continues that:

“Blogs, retail product reviews, and individuals’ websites most often provided incorrect information on infant sleep safety. Blogs were only about 31 percent accurate.”

Wow. And even only 80% of government websites were accurate – that’s really scary. But this definitely motivated me to try to get some more correct info out there in cyberspace!

Unfortunately, the article posted at BabyCenter.com left out a key piece of information – where parents SHOULD look for correct information about sleep safety for their babies!!!

Luckily, a quick search on The Journal of Pediatrics website allowed me to locate the original article abstract which contains this info:

“Dr. Moon suggests the following websites as good starting places for infant sleep safety information: Health Finder (www.healthfinder.gov), Medline Plus (www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus), and Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch/HONcode).”

And of course, I would assume the AAP website itself and their sister site HealthyChildren.org (both of which I found are much easier to navigate).

But just so we’re all clear, here are the updated Infant Sleep Safety Guidelines (taken from this article on the AAP website and this article from the Healthy Children site):

  1. Always put your baby on their back to sleep (I’ll always remember the campaign slogan I saw in a subway train once: “Face up to wake up.”)
  2. Always use a firm sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep. Also do NOT put baby to sleep on adult beds, chairs, sofas, waterbeds, pillows, or cushions.
  3. Don’t put anything in the bed with your baby. That means NO: blankets, soft objects, toys, stuffed animals, crib bumpers, quilts, pillows, comforters, sheepskins or loose bedding
  4. Wedges and positioners should not be used.
  5. Don’t allow smoking around your baby
  6. The baby should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed (room-sharing without bed-sharing).
  7. Breastfeeding is recommended and is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS
  8. Infants should be immunized. Evidence suggests that immunization reduces the risk of SIDS by 50 percent.
  9. Once again, Bumper pads should not be used in cribs. There is no evidence that bumper pads prevent injuries, and there is a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment.
  10. Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
  11. Avoid covering the infant’s head or overheating.
  12. Do not use home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Here’s to sweet dreams for everyone.

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