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Sleep

If you are anything like me you would scroll for hours trying to find THE solution to make your baby sleep.


You feel so vulnerable, isolated and alone in those early hours. But I assure you, you are not alone!

"I felt so helpless. Everyone was sleep training but I couldn't leave my baby but I desperately needed sleep"

As a first time mother I was obsessed with naps, bedtime routines and the worry of a "danger nap" if I made plans at the wrong time.


Main stream advice


I am not going to lie, the main stream advice DID work for me. BUT this was very short lived. I would have to continuously sleep train throughout her little life and every tooth, cold and developmental leap resulted in her needing "help" to go to sleep alone.




On reflection sleep training did leave me slightly depleted and confused at times.


Did it work? YES

Did I feel guilty? YES

Did it overtake parts of my life? YES

Did I get better sleep? YES


I am absolutely not against "sleep training" per se, nor am I against responsive parenting. I believe everyone makes a decision that is right for their family and if a parents mental health is significantly depleted due to a lack of sleep then sleep training does offer an element of control over a very difficult situation.


HOWEVER, I do believe that there are certain sleep training industries that put an immense amount of pressure on routines and structure and we know that every baby is different and they do not come with a manual.


I have been there, I did ANYTHING to get some sleep but reflecting on my experience, routines are not all what they are cracked up to be. There is a lot to be said for being flexible and letting go of controlling everything.



FACTS


  • The way your baby sleeps is not indicative of you failing as a parent.


  • You will NOT spoil your baby if you respond to your baby's night time needs


  • Arming yourself with science and knowledge really allows YOU to make a decision which suits YOUR family best. Any intervention has to align with your individual parenting style.


  • Hunger is not the only need your baby has at night


  • Feeding to sleep is normal


  • New-born babies do not know the difference between night and day


  • You do not need to implement a structured sleep routine to get a good nights sleep


  • Teething and developmental leaps will impact a babies sleep and they may require more comfort


  • There is NO SOLID research that shows sleep training has a detrimental impact on a child's developmental health. However, we DO know that severe neglect and leaving a baby to "fend for themselves" DOES reduce the grey matter in their brains and impede development.


  • Babies cannot be "taught" to self soothe. This is not a skill they can "learn". They may need lots of support from a caregiver, for example stoking of their head, rocking, feeding, cuddling and singing.


  • Babies do not need to be put down "drowsy but awake". Lots of children have a myriad of sleep associations and still go to sleep for significant periods of the night.


  • Sleep does not breed sleep. If your child has had a long 3 hour nap, during the late afternoon this does not mean they will produce more sleep hormone to sleep through the night. Sleep pressure is needed for your child to sleep. Long naps that are not age appropriate may result in late bed times and split nights. There is a balance to be had!


  • Your child does not need to go to bed at 7pm every night. If late bed time works for you, this is fine. 7pm is a societal expectation.


  • If your child wakes early around 4am-5am it won't last forever. Try and get them back to sleep in any way you can and get them through another sleep cycle



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