Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Well Fed, Well Rested Baby-Sleeping

***The post will only cover the sleeping portion of The Well Fed, Well Rested Baby***

One of my absolute, all time favorite gifts I was given when I had my first baby was Dr. Denmarks, 'The Well Fed, Well Rested Baby' DVD.
Now, before I tell you about it, I should preface this by saying that Dr. Denmark is currently the 4th oldest person in the U.S.  She is a pediatrician from Georgia who practiced (loosely towards the end) until she was 103 years old.  She is known for being extremely practical and taking time with each individual child and parent in order to really learn about them before handing out treatment plans or recommendations.  Seriously, wouldn't that be a dream???

Anyways, her DVD is awesome.  First of all, it is hosted by 2 southern ladies who epitomize what it means to be a southern woman.  My husband and I had to watch it the first time just to get the giggles out and then the second time to actually take notes. 

Once we watched it for real we were struck by the basic, common sense way these ladies, instructed by Dr. Denmark, approached newborn sleep.  There was no anxiety around the issue, it was very straight forward. 

1) Babies should sleep on their belly.  While I know this is controversial, the explanation is spot on!  It explains that all mammals are downward facing beings.  Our bodies, especially the digestive tract, are designed to operate best in that manner.  They went on to explain that humans are the ONLY mammal that have even tried to put their young to sleep on their back...it is just not natural.  The also explained that whether it is back sleeping or side sleeping, the change in 'recommended sleep position' is constantly changing.

Watching this part inspired me to do a lot of research on the topic of SIDS and what I found did not exactly line up with everything I had been scared with.  The studies that are practically forced down your throat are not as clear and concise and they want you to believe.  It's important to remember though, that with everything there will always be two schools of thought.  As parents, all we are asked to do is do the necessary research to make sure we are doing whats right for our children, not just be TOLD what to do.

2)  Baby need to be taught how to eat a complete meal.  This was big for me because I was about embark on breastfeeding and, just like any new mom, had no idea what was in store.  This portion gave me an idea of what my goals were for meal time.  They explained that teaching the baby to eat a full meal (i.e. full bottle, nurse both sides, etc) would not only help with digestion and avoiding colic, gas, and acid reflux, but it would also give them the calories they needed to make it through the night.

3) Baby should be kept awake from 6-10pm.  This is the biggest point that has saved us from sleepless nights!  In the DVD, they give you a general nap schedule (depending on age) and when they are super little, keeping them awake from 6-10 is key.  I can tell you, it's hard...REALLY HARD!  The baby will cry, but once you

 put him or her down at 10, he or she will sleep soundly.  When doing this, the shortest stint I have ever gotten was 5 hours...shortest!  If nothing else, this is the one thing we always do from day 1.  I will say, though, that with my youngest, I decided that I didn't want to do it.  So, for two weeks, I was up every 2-3 hours and I was miserable!  So, back to the Dr. Denmark way we went.  I'm telling, MIRACLES! 

Anways, those are three biggest sleeping tips I got from this DVD.  They do have more to say on the topic but these were the three that worked well with our family.  I really do recommend this DVD, if for no other reason than for an outside perspective from the 4th oldest woman in the country.  She must be doing something right!


  1. these three tips are the best tips i have ever received, too- FROM YOU. so glad you're sharing this with everyone else! i'm sending all new moms to you.

  2. Thanks for giving me this DVD when I was pregnant! People were and are still jealous of baby girls sleeping and eating habits! People say "What a miracle to have a 6 week old sleeping through the night" I said "Not a miracle, Dr. Denmark silly!" ha ha ha And when I say sleeping through the night, I mean 12 hour nights!!!!! She now about to be 5 months old, she sleeps from 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. and 2 day time naps 10-12 and 3-5. She takes 3 full bottles a day and 2-3 oz of water. Plus now we're up to about 1 Tablespon of cereal 3 times a day. The DVD is very helpful, clear cut on feedings and sleeping. And as you know, thanks to your help, baby girl is also a belly sleeper. And that's about when we started to notice we were getting more than 2 hour stints of sleep. That's when she really started to sleep for decent amounts of time! Thanks so much for all of your help you've provided over the last 5 months!!!!!! And of course, your friendship even before!!!!!

  3. I wish someone would have told me to nurse on both sides. That would have saved me a lot of time and pain in the first few weeks of Afton's life. I know all of us slept on our bellies and I KNOW it makes perfect sense but I just couldn't do it. Afton was our little miracle baby, we had a less than 2% chance of conceiving so I was SO afraid that something would happen to her. I know that other mothers probably have this same fear and that it was probably irrational but that is how I felt. Afton is still a pretty good night sleeper. Since about 3 weeks old she mostly only wakes up once a night around 2 or 3am. She is a terrible napper though. She is getting better, at 4 months old she will take 30-40 minute naps a few times a day. Do you have any advice for napping? Or what about swaddling? Do you think if now I put her on her belly she would sleep better or is this something you have to do from birth?


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