Monthly Archives: April 2009

8 – 11 months Part II: Reader’s question about night weaning & sleep

There are so many fascinating change during this transition period that I could spend 10 posts just going into the emotional and cognitive characteristics of kids this age. But in the interest of also being pragmatic and helpful to the more sleep-deprived, let's talk about B's questions about her 9-month old daughter:

When J [my daughter] was born I quickly realized that she was a better sleeper in
her own space.  Due to space limitations in our house, and the
assumption that she would have similar sleeping habits to her sister, I
set up the co-sleeper next to our bed.  We set up the crib once she
became mobile.  She wowed me those first few months by sleeping long
stretches (upwards of 7 hours in the 2.5-4 month range).  Nothing like
her sister!  She is also able to put herself to sleep with minimal
crying – this is after I have nursed her and I lie on my bed next to
her crib.  Sometimes I have to pick her up once or twice if she is
really mad.  I am not comfortable leaving the room and letting her cry
alone.  I hold her when I can, but sometimes she is just so mad/tired
she bucks and arches her back and settles more quickly if I just put
her down.  She is definitley a tension releaser when she cries.

Since the 4 month mark she has been feeding more at night.  I was
expecting this and was prepared for the 4 month sleep regression.  And
I realise that now, at 9 months, there is also a sleep regression thing
going on.  Due to growth spurts, teething etc. she is nursing more than
3x per night.  I take the short and easy road when she wakes and nurse
her back to sleep in our bed, so that everyone gets the most sleep.
 Well, most everyone.

The co-sleeping, constant night nursing worked fine for baby #1.  But
mama is a little more tired with two children and is ready for more
sleep.  We have moved the guest bed downstairs and now [the girls]
will each have their own room at the end of next week…  I plan to use the Dr. Jay Gordon
method to night wean J.  He doesn't recommend night-weaning until 12
months.  I think it is pointless to night-wean at 9 months due to the
sleep regression thing.  I am hoping we can keep up the the "going to
sleep by herself as long as mommy is in the room" and then gradually
move mommy into the hallway etc.  I am also hoping she will sleep
better in her own room because she won't hear us coming into bed etc.

I guess I want to know if there is a BETTER time to night-wean?  Is
night-weaning the crux for getting her to sleep through the night?  As
I said, I haven't received/read your book yet, so the answer might be
in there.  Obviously I would like to night-wean before 12 months, but
not if the timing is bad.  Can you offer any advice about the BEST
timing for night-weaning given that she will be moving into her own
room soon?  Should I night-wean her in my bed first, and then move her
into her room?  Should I try a different strategy given her
tension-releasing personality?

And if you can tell my why all my friend's babies (same age as J.) are all sleeping through the night I'd love to know!

Let's start with that last HILARIOUS statement. I'm tempted to suggest that all your friends are lying, but of course that's just plain obnoxious of me. But I would wait a week or two and see if that sleep setback that hits most 9-month olds doesn't also hit your friends' kids ;-)

Your instinct is right on. Night weaning at 9 months can be a tough battle. Yes, there IS a better time. The next stable period starts around 12 months. From 12-16 months, kids are much more resilient and weaning can be a much easier process than at 9 months when separation distress is peaking.

To elaborate more on the nature of this transition let's think about what the 9-month old baby is all about: beginning around 8-months old, she is very attentive to adults in her environment, and in particular her mother (poor fathers often take a back seat during this phase). The 9-month old is very attuned to her mother's goals and to where her mother is looking. What does mom see? She's also attuned to mother’s emotional cues, as conveyed by her facial expressions. What does mom think of this situation? What does she want me to do about it? In particular, we see an infant who begins to understand joint attention, who experiences herself as a social partner with her parent, sharing the same perceptions, the same world. Learning to dance a more sophisticated dance with mom and LOVING it when she can demand, and receive, the attention she strives for. So, weaning a baby at this age is likely to feel like a real intrusion to this new-found synchrony and you're likely to hear loud and lasting cries of protest against anything that disrupts this sense of connection that baby now knows can be initiated and maintained by her own actions. 

In terms of whether you should night-wean before you move her to her own room, there's a few ways you can think about it. If you don't mind continuing to lie next to her crib for the next couple of months, and if that's getting you both the most sleep possible, then you could continue that way and then wean her in combination with transitioning her to her own room. If you really want to move her to her own room now, then you can still nurse her in her room each time she wakes up at night. Having said that, this stage might make it tough to change sleeping arrangements like the room in which she's going down for the night. On the other hand, since you say she seems to really like her own space to some degree, maybe it will go smoothly. You could try and see how she copes with it the first couple of days.

In terms of what strategy to use because she's a tension releaser, I'm stumped on that one mainly because I think during these transition stages, some kids can flip from tension releasers to increasers and vice versa. (If you don't know what we're talking about, check out Moxie's compelling distinctions between kids who increase vs release tension when they cry). It's sometimes even hard to define a child based on this dichotomy during these highly sensitive periods because they ALWAYS seem to be increasing in tension to some degree… until they stop. How long and hard does a releaser have to release before he turns into an increaser? I found it impossible to figure this stuff out when my boys were 8-11 months old and again when they reached 18 months. All I knew for sure during those periods was that I was a tension releaser.

Anyone out there night-wean at 9 months? If it went smoothly for you, any words of wisdom for B? Anyone out there night-wean at 12 months? How did it go for you?

8 – 11 months part I: What’s happening in the baby’s mind

I've had a few questions about this period and how dramatically it effects sleep. Tomorrow, I'll feature one "typical" question about this period and its impact on sleep. But I think it's also important to know the "good news": the cool new skills that are being acquired during this incredible transition stage. You'll probably hear me say this again and again: one of the only things that got me through the roughest of the transition periods in my boys' development was knowing that underlying the crazy sleep disruptions and general neediness were these almost magical changes in the way that kids think and feel about their world, especially their social world.  So here are some of the details about the developmental leaps kids are making around 9 months, taken from our book.

FROM Bed Timing: "Starting at around 8-9 months, babies learn to point, an operation that combines a hand gesture directed at an object with attention to the target of the other person’s gaze. They also learn to look where someone else is pointing, combining their attention to the pointing hand with their attention to objects at some distance out there in the world. Before this, children act like your cat: if you point at something, they look at the tip of your finger, not at the object you were trying to refer to. Pointing doesn’t make sense unless someone is looking where you’re pointing, or you’re looking where someone else is pointing, and it is not until this age that the infant’s working memory can hold onto both parts of this equation. Babies also learn to find objects that are hidden…  The capacity to retrieve hidden objects makes it sensible to search for them, just as the capacity to look where someone is pointing makes it sensible to point… As we will see, the 8-11-month old’s obsession with retrieving hidden objects is fundamental to a major change in social development: the onset of separation distress, based on an obsession with retrieving hidden parents.

Another social habit that emerges at this age is gazing at other people, usually parents, for cues as to the meaning of a situation. This is called "social referencing." The classic experiment to test social referencing involves a piece of apparatus called the visual cliff. Visual cliff This is a plexiglass (see-through) surface that covers an actual cliff—a drop of several feet in a plastic surface, often composed of brightly coloured checks for easy visibility. In the classic experiment (yes, we like to mess with babies), the infant is invited to crawl across the flat, plexiglass surface, which he very often does with little prompting anyway. Then he arrives at the cliff. Although there is no real danger, it appears to the infant that the floor is about to drop away from under him. Should he proceed or not?  Before the baby is 8-9 months, she (at least those who can creep or crawl) usually move blithely across the visual cliff, whether trusting in some divine protection or just plain oblivious. But now, at 8-9 months, they generally stop and look around for their mother. Once they catch sight of her, they look at her facial expression. The experiment is usually designed with instructions for mother to either smile encouragingly or to frown and look discouraging. Before 8 months, babies don't care what their mother's face looks like at that point; they go on their merry way or not. But starting at 8-9 months, infants’ actions depend very much on mother’s expression. If she is smiling, they proceed across the visual cliff. If she is frowning, they stop, and treat the cliff as dangerous. The point of the experiment is to show that the older infant decides whether to cross or not based on the parent’s nonverbal communication. Their interpretation of a situation is completely based on the reaction/signals of their parent." END QUOTE

Does this amaze other people as much as it does the geeky developmental academics?  We completely FREAK OUT about how consistently you can find this new skill at 9 months and how non-existent it is in 7-month olds. This new "social awareness" is linked to the emergence of "separation anxiety or distress" and "stranger anxiety."

The specific implications for changing babies' sleep habits are HUGE…

For those of you outside of N. America

I've heard from several readers who want to get their hands on the book but can't because they live outside of North America. Either the price is completely prohibitive to ship the book to where they live or it's simply unavailable. The book is not currently available in e-book format and won't be for a while, I suspect (this is entirely out of our hands). So… I'm trying to figure out the best way to get these books to people who want them.

The only thing I can think of is to purchase the books here in Canada and ship them to who wants them. The shipping costs will be less than Amazon charges, I'm sure. I suppose I can set up a PayPal account for these costs that people can pay directly to me. Does anyone else have any other possible solutions? This seems like such an odd and low-tech solution.

Also, could I possibly get a "head count" of how many people would be interested in this sort of arrangement? I've received some emails and some comments, but I'm not sure if there's anyone else that would be interested. If it's just 8 or so people, I'm happy to do the shipping myself and get the reinbursement through some easy payment method. I feel a bit funny about getting into the nitty-gritty of shipping costs, but the book itself is only $12 Canadian, so it's really this shipping detail that's stumping all of us.

Anyone know anything about this Internet thingy?

Next up, a post about the 8-11 month transition. But before I get to that, I'm wondering if anyone has some expertise they could share with me about how to set up a "space" to vent and commiserate "live" during the wee hours of the morning. I've heard from several readers about their interest in having a place they could go as an offshoot of this blog to talk to other parents going through similar trials and tribulations either during sleep training or just simply during the no-sleep stages of parenthood.

I've investigated a couple of options, but I'm not sure how to proceed. I had this idea that I could just have a link to a place that people could go live and use instant messaging/texting/SMSing — something like that. But apparently that's not that easy to set up as part of a blog. The other option would be to put up a post every night and leave the comments section open to anyone and everyone who wanted to "meet" there over the loneliest hours of parenting. That seems like the easiest solution. But I'm new to this. Anyone have any other ideas how I could facilitate this?

Radiolab show on sleep deprivation: Brilliant

So… do you guys listen to Radiolab? I've been addicted to it for a while now — you can get their free podcasts at ITunes and the Radiolab webpage. The show is described as being about curiosity, with each episode an "investigation — a patchwork of people, sounds, stories all centered around one big idea." It's one of the few unique and shining examples of story-telling, science and entertainment all coming together to produce a feeling of wonder and wow in listeners. Topics that have been covered include: Memory, Laughter, Music, and Sperm (who knew they could be so interesting). I love it.

And how does this relate to babies and sleep you might ask. A while back they had an episode about Sleep — there's a short version and a longer episode. If you have some time (oh, like maybe during the 3rd feeding session of the night), pop this into your ipod or listen to it on your computer. It starts off with the producer, Hannah Palin, documenting in intimate detail, the sleep deprivation she faced with her 18-month old. It really drives the point home about how hard it is to parent and function generally on no sleep and how brain dead we can become from the months of never. ever. sleeping. The baby's cries alone on this recording sends me right back to my own personal hell of sleep deprivation. And then there's some cool science talk that's just plain fascinating about the importance of sleep for memory, learning, and so on.

If you get a chance to listen, let me know what you think…

Consistency is key when using ANY sleep-training technique

Although I'm not big on suggesting any particular sleep-training method over another for all families, I do strongly believe that being consistent with whatever method you use is essential. This isn't any new, brilliant insight, I know. Many folks out there emphasize this point and most sleep-training "gurus" certainly urge you to use their particular method consistently. But here's the developmental / psychological reasoning behind this advice:

The reason consistency is such a big deal goes back to basic principles of "behavioural" psychology. Over and over, psychologists have discovered that “intermittent” reinforcement (in other words, reinforcing or rewarding a behaviour INCONSISTENTLY) is the BEST way to create a strong behavioural habit. Somewhat counter intuitive, right? You'd think the best way to teach a child (or animals in general) is to CONSISTENTLY reward whatever behaviour you're trying to teach. Nope. Decades of studies with human and non-human animals have shown that inconsistent reinforcement creates even stronger habits than consistently reinforcing a behaviour. So what's happening in a baby's mind if, for example, you sometimes let your baby cry-it-out (when you're at your wit's
end and YOU. MUST. TAKE. A. BREAK) and other times you hold her and cuddle
her as soon as she starts crying?  When there is no predictability to the
rewards your baby is receiving (YOU are the reward, BTW), the uncertainty of whether the reward will be coming this time or next keeps the goal of attaining that reward very strongly in the forefront of the baby’s mind.  Without any predictable schedule of soothing, the baby may continue to cry longer and longer until she gets you back.

So, whatever sleep-training method (or bedtime routine in general) that you choose, I'd suggest to pick one that you can stick with. Don't try Ferberizing if you know you can't take the crying for more than 2 min. Don't try the more gentle, hushing/patting/rocking-to-dead-sleep methods if you know you will lose your patience and start raging and fuming after 30 min of your baby still being awake. Pick whatever method you personally feel is the right balance between what your baby can take and you can take… And then try to stick to it.

Oh yeah, and if you try something and it turns out you can't be consistent: Chock it up to another parenting lesson and move on. Re-start when you have a better idea of what might fit for your family. Spend no time beating yourself up for any of it.

And lest you imagine that if you're a developmental psychologist you will be a glowing example of consistency… um, not so much. Marc (my husband) and I try, of course. But in some of our darker parenting (and marital) moments, we could be overheard hissing at each other: "That was SUCH intermittent reinforcement!" and something about "Pavlov could have done it better…" Point being, KNOWING about the dangers of inconsistent reinforcement and avoiding it can be 2 very different things. When the boys look at me with those big, insanely sweet eyes and say, "Just ONE more story, mama, only one more quick, fast, short story, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease?!" Yeah, I cave with the best of them. Last night after the fifth story, I VOWED that we'll stick to the "2 stories before lights out" rule. Let's see how I do tonight.

What about you? What are some of YOUR shining moments of inconsistency?

18-21 months: The mother of all developmental transitions

Too many parents seem to be going through this stage right now for me to wait until we get there "chronologically." That format probably doesn't make much sense on a blog anyway. So let's just jump in with one of several emails that capture the crazies of 18-months. For many more similar stories, go check out Moxie's comments section in a post about commiserating during this stage and read her fantastic advice on how to deal with sleep disruptions at this age (here and here).

P. wrote about her 18.5 month old girl. I've addressed her email in parts:

daughter has been sleeping in our bed since about 4 months old.  She
slept in a co-sleeper before that.  And in her crib for about a week at
some point.  I never planned to co-sleep but she started waking up
every 30-60 minutes around 4 months old and I moved her into the bed to
make it easier on me.  Ha!  I haven't had any lucking getting her out

If I had a dollar for every time someone has said "I never planned to
co-sleep but…"  I hear you. First off, don't beat yourself up over
that decision. It was wise at the time and you just want a change now.
Doesn't take away the fact that it was the right thing for your family
at the time.

continues to wake up 3-4/night and nurses back to sleep.  Occasionally
she only wakes 1-2 times but that isn't often.  At least once per week
she wakes in the middle of the night and wants to get up and party.
 She is up for anywhere between 1-3 hours and is nursing most of that
time. She was sleeping from 7-7 ever night and napping for 1.5 hours in the
early afternoon.  Now she is going down late (8:30-9:00) and getting up
early (5:30-6:30) and napping throughout the day.  No schedule at all.
 I have no idea why this happened or how to fix it.  I feel like every
day is different.  This can't be good for her and it is making me crazy.

I can
give you the why: she turned 18 months old. This is BY FAR the biggest
change your baby has gone through in her short life. There is a huge
burst in "working memory" (think of working memory like the computer's
RAM; it's what you can hold in mind at one time).  That underlies a
bunch of changes that start happening during this time and all of it
can kick sleeping to hell. Here are some of the details from the

FROM BEDTIMING: "On the bright side, the period beginning at 17-18
months is a glorious phase of development. You will notice massive
changes as your child moves beyond infancy into what can properly be
called early childhood. …language development begins to skyrocket as
children learn to use two-part “sentences” that can describe exactly
what they’re thinking and what they want (Mama up; cookie NOW; NO
beans!). They can also begin to understand social roles, conflicting
goals, and other kinds of symbolic relationships, including simple
rules and ideas such as cleanliness. These are huge cognitive changes,
and indeed the 18-month transition is considered a major stage shift in
many theories of cognitive development. But more than that, it is a
period of emotional reorganization (or total chaos, if you're trying
to get the child to JUST. SLEEP. NOW). Children now begin to recognize
themselves as beings in a truly social world made up of other people.
They see themselves as individuals, with goals and wishes, and they see
other people as individuals, also with goals and wishes. The
realization that their wishes might just conflict with yours is an
enormous challenge to what was previously a strong and super-hero sense
of self. Now they’re not so sure whose wishes are going to prevail. As
a result, conflicts grow in number and intensity, the word “No!” makes
its debut in earnest (yes, they've used it before, but NOTHING like the
force with which they do now), and toddlers try to establish a sense of
security, balanced with a sense of independence, by commandeering their
parents on some occasions, defying them on others, but always looking
for signs of social approval, to reassure them that they are still
members in good standing in the “club” of social connectedness. This is
why we call this the period of "social negotiation."  Of course, these
emotional changes can be difficult, but they are also touching and
heart-warming. Your child is a real, independent little person now.
With vulnerabilities and insecurities to be sure, but also with a new
capacity for understanding and intimacy, and a kind of tenderness and
love that we recognize as being very much like our own. Our babies are
no longer tiny aliens: they are now complex little social beings, with
distinct personalities, needs, and ways of doing things.
    What aspects of this period make it especially troublesome for
sleep training? Separation is more painful now than it has been since
the age of 8–11 months, because it is interpreted according to your
baby’s sense of your goals and agendas. If you are somewhere else, you
could be intentionally ignoring her, perhaps because you have better
things to do. Physical separation means psychological separation, and
that is not a comforting option! Research has shown the highest peak in
separation distress at exactly 18 months. Rather than being alone, the
18-month-old now wants to be with you…sometimes as much as possible.
    So what happens when you explain that it’s time to go to sleep? You
kiss your baby goodnight and tiptoe out the room. You probably won’t
have to wait long before the first howling protest: “Nooooo! Come
back!!!!  No sleep!!!!  Want kiss! Want kiss! Want more! Get Daddy!
Daddy come! Mommy come! Want Mommy, not Daddy. Want Daddy, not Mommy!” And on and on. This is precisely the
social negotiation that you can expect at this age. Your child is using
his collection of words to tell you what he wants, in as many ways as
he can, knowing full well he’s opposing your wishes. His anxiety
escalates as he realizes that you are becoming impatient and irritated.
He therefore needs even more reassurance, making him increasingly
determined not to be alone, as the struggle continues. Yet each time he
tries another tactic, he feels like he’s losing a little more of you.
He is a little more in danger of being tossed out of the “club” of
social closeness, or at the very least having his membership privileges
revoked. And he knows it, but he can’t stop, because to give in, to
stop protesting, would mean accepting your absence and giving up his
ability to enlist your care. If you disappear now, he’s alone, really
alone. And what’s more, he is not very good at accepting defeat these
days. Because not getting his way means a loss of his sense of power
and effectiveness in the world in general and the social world in
particular. And that feeling of helplessness is devastating.
    The emotional changes that rapidly cascade from about 18 to 21
months are likely to make sleep training a dramatic, traumatic, and
ultimately ineffective effort. And the reason for this is simple.
During the period of social negotiation your baby is attempting to
balance her needs for security, a sense of acceptance, and confidence
in her parents’ love on the one hand, with her need for independence
and a sense of competence and accomplishment on the other. Your baby’s
attention is focused on conflicting goals and wishes. Frustration is
met with tears, anger, and very often the first temper tantrums. For
your child to give in and go to sleep would mean admitting defeat,
which means relinquishing her sense of being important and effective.
This is tantamount to having her newly established sense of power
snatched away in one fell swoop. Indeed, sleep training at this age is
bound to be hampered by two interlocking issues: your toddler’s fear of
separation and his determination to hold his own in conflict
situations. Because of both issues, sleep training will be a
hard-fought battle for the 17- to 21-month-old child."  END QUOTE.

So, my (probably horrifying for you) advice: Wait it out. You’ve made
parenting decisions that suited your and your baby’s needs and they’ve
worked so far. Just hold out a little longer before trying to make any
changes. By 22 months or so, you can try any of the top 5 or so sleep
training methods that best matches your parenting style and your child's personality. At that time, your girl  will probably respond quickly to the
same efforts that seem so doomed right now. 

Newborn alien sounds

I got this question from a recent mom of 2:

I just had my second baby 2 weeks ago and I'm SHOCKED at the sounds this kid makes in his sleep. My question isn't so much about how do I get him to sleep more or when to sleep train. But I'm co-sleeping with him like I did his older brother during the first few months (first boy is 3 now). I should say HE'S co-SLEEPING and I'm co-awake. All the time. I had no problems with his brother, but this one squeaks, he squaks, he screeches and almost does this dolphin-like singing thing. WHAT IS THAT?  And can I make it stop? Is it gas? Because the thing is, I cannot for the life of me sleep through it. Is this something I just have to live with and if so, for how long?

Man, does this ever bring back memories. Not all kids do this, but many do. My twin boys made INSANE noises in their sleep. I remember calling one "race car" and the other "sqealler". The sounds are alien. They're like nothing you've heard before if you haven't been around newborn babies sleeping and I for one couldn't sleep through them either. I had all intentions to leave the crib in our bedroom (my boys were in one crib together for a while) for at least the first few months. But I was getting no sleep at all with them in there.  In my case, they both started sleeping more quietly (or at least the sounds weren't as high-pitched and strange) around the 3-month mark. I've heard similar stories from loads of moms, but as far as I know, there are no empirical studies in developmental science that have marked a precise age at which these alien calls subside. Nor is there any consensus on what causes them.

In terms of what to do, I don't think there's much to do in terms of getting him to stop the noises. And as I've mentioned recently, any changes in his sleeping SCHEDULE should probably not be made this early in his life. So, the choices I see for you are all about his location: (1) try putting the baby in a crib in another room, if that's what you're eventually planning on doing anyway and TURN THE MONITOR OFF (since this is your second, I'm sure you know you'll wake up from a baby's cry without the need of any amplification if his crib is at a reasonable distance from you), (2) try putting the baby in a co-sleeper or bassinet next to your bed — maybe if he isn't right next to your body or ears, you could get used to the sounds easier, or (3) grin and bear it for the time being, if co-sleeping is your priority. You may very well get used to the sounds and stop waking up so frequently from them when your nervous system has stopped reacting to them so dramatically.

Any pediatrician or knowledgeable parent out there know the biological underpinnings of these cries? What have others done in similar situations? If you're not currently in that early stage, can anyone even remember back to those early weeks?

I can take it

I don't want this blog to be a completely top-down process where I have the ultimate "truth" about sleep issues. Of course, I think I have something to offer that hasn't been available to most parents (except generations back when we had grandmothers and aunties and neighbors who were all in our new-parent faces about what child-rearing was all about). I wouldn't have written the book with Marc if I didn't think that we really did have a message that wasn't being heard by most parents. But I want to hear what you think. I want to be challenged. I want you to feel comfortable disagreeing with me; fighting me on the fine points as well as the large premises. I think that we'll all understand children's development better, and particularly how it relates to sleep, if we can openly challenge each other.

It takes a whole lot to offend me, so please feel free to tell me when you think I'm full of sh#@.

Yes, all children are different

This is probably going to be one of several caveats I'll include on this blog, and probably the earlier the better. First off, you'll notice that generally the way that I'll be discussing theory, research findings, recommendations and cautionary notes seems to treat children as if they were all the same. Yes, the premise of our book is that children go through normative stages at predictable ages. Obviously, we could not make these predictions if we were thinking about the individual child’s personality. But both as a developmentalist and as a parent (and especially as a parent of twins!) I am fully aware of how different children can be. Individual differences take many forms and result from many causes. They can result from the influence of parents and siblings, from environmental features of the home and the neighborhood, from health and dietary issues, traumatic events, and so on. But some individual differences are at least partially built into the child’s nervous system, generally through the action of genes that are responsible for constructing brains, glands, sense organs, and all the wiring that connects them. These variations, usually referred to as temperament by psychologists, are not always evident at birth. Sometimes a remarkably distinct temperamental feature won’t show itself until the middle or end of the first year, or even later. However, temperamental differences, by definition, are built in to the child’s biological make-up and so, as a rule, they do show up early in development.

I'll get into the way that developmental psychologists parse temperament in a later post. But right now I just wanted to put a placeholder on the point that, yes, kids are different and not all kids are going to conform to the general pattern of changes I'll outline, at the exact ages I'll specify. But GENERALLY, there's a large body of research (and when I figure out how to link to half of it, I will) that's documented that the majority of kids DO conform to the cognitive and emotional schedule I'll be discussing. That doesn't mean that this schedule will relate to SLEEP issues in the same way for all kids, but it does mean that most of you should recognize the cognitive and emotional changes that I'm talking about at around the same ages.  If you don't, TELL ME. These stages are meant as guidelines, not absolute deadlines. The more "data points" we have in terms of different children on different schedules, the better we will all be at understanding how development works.