Why Setting up Sleep from an Early Age has huge Benefits for Everyone
When I am working with clients on their little ones sleep, one of the most common questions I often get is “what could I have done earlier on to avoid having to do sleep coaching now”, or “Is there any thing I can do with my second child so that we get things right from the beginning”.
And the answer is YES. YES. YES. This is my biggest passion.
There is SO much you can do from an early age, but no one tells you. The NHS give brilliant birth care, and then postnatal care although hit and miss, generally focuses on breastfeeding and your baby’s health (quite rightly too). But the issue lies here….NO ONE is giving out good quality advice on baby sleep in those first few months.
Granted, you may have done some reading and there are several good baby books on the market, but when you are exhausted and trying to feed your baby with one hand and eat a mouthful of food in the other, you don’t really have the hands, let alone the time and energy to read up on the basics of sleep.
For me, feeding is super important and your baby putting on weight is key in those early weeks. Establishing feeding, whether that is bottle or breastfeeding, is paramount as baby needs food to survive. However, what we fail to get across to new parents is that sleeping is also a vital part of baby’s development and that there is a good chance that they will grow and put on weight faster if they are actually sleeping too.
I believe that feeding and sleeping go hand in hand. A baby who is settled and full (of milk), will sleep. A baby who has slept well, will feed well. It Is absolutely true that babies absolutely do like to cluster feed to bring in milk, but there comes a point where actually getting them some sleep would be more beneficial. They are not able to feed effectively if they have been wide awake for hours one end.
The awake period for a newborn is 1 hour – that means that after one hour they should ideally be going back down to sleep. Now of course this is not always going to happen, and I certainly wouldn’t want you stressing yourself out if this is not the case. Getting to grips with motherhood is hard enough in itself without having extra hassle of clock watching. However, it is useful even just to have in the back of your minds, so when you are wondering why your baby is cranky after a few hours, you will feel more in control of knowing what is going on!
So what would happen if we all had access to vital information on baby sleep from very early on? Parents would feel more in control, less like they have no idea what to do with their new arrival. Babies would be more contented, cry less and probably even feed better too! That is surely enough of an argument in itself? But the real huge benefit for me is that working with a baby from early on and setting up great sleep habits also means that as an older baby and toddler, they are so much more likely to be a brilliant sleeper!
If you believe sleep is important, for both your baby and yourselves, and want to try and set up good sleep habits from early on then do check out my online Baby Sleep Course, suitable for babies from 6 weeks and up.