Sleep is vital for everyone. As the body goes through the aging process, the amount of sleep the human body needs changes. Newborn sleep rhythms and needs are different. Helping parents adjust to new expectations with their newborn includes understanding their sleep patterns and progressions. My role is to provide support while demonstrating proven techniques that will serve your family to get the sleep you all need.
Parents often feel that firm schedules are the best approach for a balance in sleep, feeding, bathing, diapering, and engagement with their baby. Schedules are helpful, but babies and children may need more flexibility, particularly as they grow and develop. This means setting a routine and being observant when changes are needed. When I work with a family who finds structure comforting my approach is to show them ways to have structure while also being able to flex with their child’s needs. This process is a team approach working with parents to make adjustments for sleep success for their baby and themselves.
Some parents have a relaxed and non-structured approach. It may be necessary to introduce a tighter routine to ensure good sleep for everyone. Following the baby’s lead is a wonderful goal but you also need to understand sleep cues and clues to what's best for them. I have several techniques that can help parents with a bit more structure in their routine while still having a relaxed home.
Sleep cycles include not only nighttime but also daytime naps and rest periods. Understanding the flow of these throughout your baby’s 24-hour schedule helps parents also get the rest they need. Parents eager to have their baby sleep through the night need to also be cognizant of the sleep cycle during the day hours. When I work with families we look at all of this to determine the best methods and techniques for your baby and your family. Sleep logs, setting up a sleep-conducive environment, and determining an appropriate sleep routine are just some tools we can use.
My goal in educating parents is to teach the importance of safe sleep habits, minimize the risk of SIDS, purple crying, and the ABCs of infant sleep. By sharing knowledge with parents, they will know that their child’s sleep development is set up for success. Baby’s sleep plan will, in turn, help parents achieve the sleep and rest they need to do their best!
ABCs of Sleep
Alone: Babies should always sleep alone in the crib. Even twins should sleep separately in their cribs.
Back: Baby should sleep on their back until they can roll. The risk of SIDs is much lower than this.
Crib: nothing should be in the crib with the baby; no pillows, blankets, stuffed animals/toys, or lovies.
SIDs: sudden infant death syndrome
Purple crying curve: starts at the 2-week mark and can last up to 5 months. It is the amount of crying an infant does and why it increases in the first 2 or 3 months.