NO REALLY? WHY DON’T BABIES SLEEP AT NIGHT?
BY SARAH BAY
Sleep Coach, Carbondale, CO
Contrary to popular belief, sleep is learned. The act of sleep is, of course, innate; but going to sleep independently and staying asleep throughout the night is learned. So, it would make sense that this is a skill we need to teach our babies.
For the first four to six months, we need to tend to our babies – we need to give them what they want when they want it. During this time, they are just learning how to live and breathe outside the womb – let’s not put any unrealistic expectations on them. Because of this, I do not typically start sleep training with a family until baby is around six months.
And then how do we teach our babies to sleep?
The number one reason a baby does not know how to go to sleep and stay asleep on his own is because he has what’s called a Sleep Association or a Sleep Crutch. What does this mean exactly?
We all have several sleep cycles throughout the night, each one lasting around 90 minutes. At the end of that sleep cycle, as adults, we roll over, adjust our pillow and go right back to sleep.
Picture this: you go to bed in your nice warm and cozy bed. You are so comfortable. Around 1:00AM you wake up to find yourself on your garage floor. Are you going to roll right over and go back to sleep? Likely not. I expect you’ll jump up, maybe say a few choice words and wonder what the heck happened. It’s the same way for our babies.
If a baby is being nursed, bottled, rocked, danced , sucking a pacifier or lullaby-ed to sleep, when baby naturally wakes from her sleep cycle, she is confused as to why she doesn’t have what she had when she fell asleep. This then causes her to wake further and often protest her unfamiliar environment. This is why we are puzzled when our baby wakes often before we’ve even gone to bed for the night!
So, in order to teach healthy sleep habits and encourage our babies to learn how to go to sleep and stay asleep on their own, our first step is to eliminate these sleep associations.
8 Straight Sleep
My name is Sarah Bay and I have a passion for sleep. Sleep is something we all need every day and surprisingly, not a skill we are innately born with. After four years and nearly 125 sleeping babies, I customize each sleep plan to the family I am working with – ensuring lasting success.
firstname.lastname@example.org or find her facebook