I most say sleep and settling dominates any conversation that I have with many new parents.
In some cases we are already taking about it before the baby arrives!!
Sleep is so important and helps anyone or anything run better.
However sleep and settling has many approaches and potential solutions.
Over this four part series I will be discussing
1-Infant sleep itself
2-What are the different approaches to sleep and settling
3-What can you do to change a pattern or improve a behaviour
4-Where to get help and available resources
Firstly let me be very clear this is a very opinionated topic with lots of controversy.
I like to avoid this by either talking without judgement or talking about why instead of what.
I would also like to be very clear I am not a sleep expert or consultant. I have learnt most of my skills from reading the many many books on offer, listening to new parents and their babies or speaking with experts to learn more myself.
Here we go—-
We are talking about the first 2 months or the infants/ newborn life. That is when this little person is going through a rollercoaster of change and development. Not to mention that its parents are figuring out how to cope with a new little person to look after.
Many new parents are flooded with ‘helpful’ advice.
Don’t hold the baby too much or you won’t be able to put it down.
Make sure you follow a routine so the baby learns how to sleep.
Wake the baby up so it sleeps better (doesn’t it sound crazy!)
The first few weeks are full of gastro-intestinal changes that causes havoc with the babies tummy and bowels. This causes lots of wind and pain that makes a baby wake more often for comfort.
They also have two development changes that cause them to get overwhelmed and confused with the world. Meaning they seek more comfort from their parents.
Babies also have LOTS of REM sleep meaning they wake easily and often. This means they need to be re- settled frequently.
Most babies at this stage of life (first 1-5 weeks) will be happily awake for 15-20 mins at one time. The world will then get very overwhelming and they will have to ‘download’ that information with a snooze.
And the real kicker is that newborns don’t know the difference between day and night. They won’t for many months as the hormone melatonin is not secreted to around 3-4 months. Meaning your baby will think day and night are the same thing.
The only problem is most parents have lots of melatonin hence they feel very tired at night. I don’t have specific advice for this fact- other than survive and know everything does change eventually.
With all of this in mind how can you ‘teach’ a baby to sleep with so many changes happening. No wonder most new parents feel overwhelmed and that they are doing a bad job as nothing they do works for a long time.
I hope this make sense and helps you to view sleep for the first few weeks as a rollercoaster. Also looking at your baby if they are squirmy they probably have a sore tummy so sleep and settling is not going to work at all. Comfort with a cuddle or tummy rub will help with the pain and then the baby will sleep. Try to not watch the time ( your baby doesn’t have a watch) and watch your baby follow their cues and trust your doing a great job.
We discuss all of this information in our weekly videos.
Brooke Michell from there Paediatric sleep clinic has given us some great advice regarding sleep and settling. Join us today to feel more confident and calm with the support and advice from our experts-