Sleep is a basic human function like breathing, eating and drinking. We need sleep to survive. Healthy babies enter this world with the ability to breathe, feed and sleep. Babies sleep in the womb, long before they are even born. The reason it appears that newborns struggle to sleep so much is because there is a significant sudden change to their environment when they are born. It’s cold. It’s bright. It’s loud. Imagine trying to fall asleep in the middle of a disco.. limbs flying around, all the bright lights, strange smells, people and noise. Your baby is no longer fed through their umbilical cord. They’re having to digest milk, their tummies can be a little sore, they get a bit windy and they feel hunger and pain for the first time. Don’t forget that YOU are also trying to figure this all out. Trying to establish feeding and learning your baby’s cues. Of course your baby is probably going to need some help in the beginning while they adjust. This is the fourth trimester. You can ease this transition into the big wide world by recreating the environment they're accustomed to;
Swaddle to mimic the confines of the womb
Play white noise to mimic the sounds of the womb
Dress them appropriately in soft, natural fibers to mimic the warmth of the womb
Sleep them in a dark room without distractions
Recognize their hunger cues and feed regularly
Recognize their tired signs and let them sleep regularly.
There will be many times you need to hold your baby, to help them sleep. But, it’s never too early to instill healthy sleep habits. In order to do this we need to break down the barriers and change our perception of infant sleep. If you believe your baby can’t sleep or that they hate sleep, this becomes your reality and where things start to unravel. You can unintentionally train them to rely on you to fall asleep. Babies are creatures of habit. If you do something often enough they will learn to expect it. So, when you sleep train an older baby or child, you’re not teaching them how to sleep. Deep down they already know how to do that. You are essentially UN-training the habits you have instilled. Now, hold up, you can put down your pitch forks. I’m not saying you can’t hold your baby. I’m not saying you shouldn’t assist your baby to sleep. I’m not saying you’ll spoil your baby by holding them too much. I’m saying, practice healthy sleep hygiene from the beginning and give them a chance. You might be surprised what they’re capable of. When we as parents get stuck in the mindset that our babies can’t sleep without our help, we carry this beyond the newborn stage. That's when these habits start to become engrained. If you have found yourself stuck in a cycle of feeding, rocking, bouncing, driving, whatever it may be in order to get your baby to sleep and you feel it’s no longer sustainable, remember this.. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT!
But, it’s never too late to make changes.
One on one consultations and downloadable sleep guides are all available online x