Question: My baby is due to be born in about a month’s time. I have read so much confusing information on this subject. Some people say that if you don’t put your baby into another room and sleep train him right from the very beginning, your baby will never learn to sleep through. But my best friend has a two-month-old baby who sleeps in the bed with her, and wakes to feed at least twice in the night. My friend says she gets plenty of sleep and so does her baby. So I am very confused. I want to do the right thing. Please can you advise me?
Answer: It’s lovely that you are thinking about this before your baby arrives, because so many mothers are unsure about how to handle the sleeping arrangements and night feeds of their newborns, and by the time your baby is born, you have so many other things on your mind. Mothers who haven’t thought this through, often try out (and abandon) various ‘techniques’, which can confuse their babies and themselves. Your baby will know when he or she is hungry or tired, and if allowed, will set his or her own routine very quickly and going to bed early and taking your baby with you is the best way of getting a good night’s rest for both of you (and probably your husband too.)
I am going to reply to you a little differently than I normally do, by posting a link to an article written by a mother who did sleep-train her baby and tells how it impacted her life and the life of her child. But before I do, I just want to reassure you that having your baby sleep with you — in your bed or in a crib (cot) up against your bed, with the side down — is the very best thing you can do for your little one, because whether or not you are breastfeeding, your baby will need night feeds for at least the first six months of life and probably longer. If you are breastfeeding, night feeds are even more important, as they help make sure you will have an adequate milk supply. Also when sleeping close to you, your baby will be able to hear you breathing and smell your familiar smell, which tell him Mommy is close by, so it’s okay to go back to sleep because he is safe.
So here is my answer to your question. Just click on the link and you will be taken to the story of the mother who sleep-trained her first child, but has decided never to do it again… FROM [GINA] FORD TO [WILLIAM] SEARS: MY HEARTBREAKING AWAKENING.
Finally, a few points that may help you.
- When mothers co-sleep and feed through the night, they don’t have to let their babies nurse ‘all night long.’ When babies start waking up more and more often during the night, especially after a year old, it is because they are carrying stress from all the many little frustrations that have built up during the day. ‘Allowing’ them to cry in our loving arms and not ‘shushing’ them when they try, helps them release the stress, and they tend to sleep through more peacefully.
- Meeting babies’ needs responsively and never leaving them to ‘cry it out’ alone, creates secure and happy children who have learned that the world is a good place to be. They learn that the people in their world are loving, and that Mommy meets their needs when they tell her they need her, always responding immediately to their cries.
- I am going to be following this up with an article on the two above points, so if you have questions, please use the contact form and leave your questions there. Comments can also be left at the bottom of this article.
I hope you found it helpful and look forward to hearing from you.
- The Aware Baby, by Aletha Solter, (Shining Star Press, USA, 2001 )
- Sleeping Like a Baby, by Pinky McKay, (Penguin Books, Australia, 2013)
- Helping your Baby to Sleep: Why Gentle Techniques work Best, by Anni Gethin and Beth Macgregor, (Finch Publishing, Sydney, 2007)
Written by Pat Törngren © 2013
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