How to Help Baby Sleep (part two)

Sleep habits for new babies are of great concern to those caring for them.  In the first half of this article we discussed the need for patience and understanding in developing proper sleep habits for infants.  Articles from The Bump, Baby Sleep Fairy, Little Ones Sleep Helps, and Happiest Baby Sleep Helps were provided for your benefit.  I hope you took the time to look over these tools/helps for your situation.

There are a myriad of articles, books, theories, and ideas for how to help infants develop good sleep habits.  Most babies develop these on their own.  It takes time and there will be some setbacks, but the vast majority of babies move into good sleep habits and sleeping through the night by six months of age.

As a doula, who works with babies in developing good sleep habits, I do not work diligently to that end until a baby has passed six months of age.  There are many reasons for this.  Most pediatricians agree that babies through six months of age need to be consuming milk during the night to grow properly.  Infants younger than six months are still bonding with mom and dad.  They benefit from cuddling and holding as they learn to trust their parents.  This happens both in the day and night.

Experience shows that as babies sleep longer at night their daytime feedings increase.  While they are solely consuming breastmilk or formula they eat more often than when they are ingesting solid food.  For many reasons parents are encouraged to hold off introducing solid food until a baby has reached six months of age.  This has to do primarily with the avoidance of allergies and potential digestive problems.

If your baby is older than six months and is still waking at night evaluating your situation is helpful.  Are you still providing milk to baby at night?  Once your baby is doing well on solid food they need less breastmilk or formula.  Slowly terminating night time feedings is the next step.  There are lots of tricks to making this happen.  If you can not seem to pull it off on your own give me a call.  I would be more than happy to discuss ways to help.  Always talk these things over with your pediatrician.  He or she will have suggestions.  Maybe your friends or relatives will have some ideas too.  If you have tried all your options and are still frustrated with your results it may be time to call in the professionals.  Wishing you the very best as your baby matures!  JUDY



How to Help Baby Sleep (part one)

As a doula probably the question I am asked most is, “How do I help my baby sleep well?”  There are many reasons parents are concerned about their infants sleeping.  They range from misunderstandings about when babies sleep through the night to complete exhaustion and survival!  Every parent has wondered when the magic night will come and their newborn will sleep through the night.  I promise it will come!!!

As you are learning, with your baby there are very few unilateral facts.  When you are exhausted because your baby is still waking three or four times a night, and your friend says her baby, who is the same age as yours, is sleeping through the night, it is difficult not to be frustrated.  Yet, sleeping is really not an exact science.  Those of us who do this professionally work through several premises with each baby until we find the one that works.

We live in an age of quick fixes and immediate results.  Unfortunately most babies do not fit the mold.  There is an agency offering a two hour Sleep Training consultation at a high price.  There are may books, videos, and consultations available.  Many of these will promise quick results.  When they do not work new parents are left feeling they did it wrong or there is a problem with them or their baby.  Know that sleep patterns, like so many other things in your baby’s life, are individual.  In addition, everything affects your baby’s sleep patterns.  If you are stressed  you may see it in your baby sleeping.  If there are changes in the household, like mom going back to work, sleep habits will probably be upset.  There are simply too many variables for any pat answers to work.

It is important for you to set realistic goals for you and your baby.  Expecting that someone is going to provide a way for your newborn to sleep through the night is most likely not going to happen.  So how do you survive?  Expect some sleepless nights and arrange your life so you can rest up at other times.  In America maternity leave ranges from three to six months.  This is because it takes that long for mom’s to rest up and acclimate to the many demands of motherhood.  In the doula community we call it the Fourth Quarter of Pregnancy.  Be patient with yourself.  Be kind to yourself.  Enjoy this precious time.  It will be gone in what seems to be moments.

Wives Tales Regarding Infant Sleep:

  1.  If your baby is large at birth she will sleep through the night earlier.                                         This is simply not the case.  My own babies ranged in birth weight from 7 lb 5 oz through 9 lb 8oz.  They all slept through the night at six months.
  2. Formula babies sleep longer.  In general this is the accepted belief.  Breastmilk is a more our substance and digests more quickly.  However, I personally worked with a 3 day old infant who was sleeping five and six hours on breast milk alone!  Again, there are no “facts” that hold true for all infants.

Check out the sites below.  I do not agree with everything on each of these sites, but I believe there is good information here.  As always, you are the parent.  Read these articles and take from them what you believe to be best for your situation.

MORE TO COME………………….                                        JUDY

Baby Sleep Myths—Busted


6 Common Baby Sleep Myths—Debunked!

The most common baby sleep myths

Sleep Myths