I have a passion my dear petals; That passion is to get parents thinking about their baby’s sleep before their precious child is born (I’ve been smashing my way through Bridgerton, can you tell?).
I know, when you’re pregnant, there's the big old birth to concentrate on and I understand labour is quite the event and requires some (read, lots) of preparation. But the reality is, we can make a great plan, but this often has very little control over what happens in the birth suite. And realistically if we are looking at time labour is a really small, albeit really important part of motherhood.
In my experience the two big issues parents talk of AFTER the birth are feeding and sleep. I’m not a lactation consultant so I will leave the feeding advice to those experts. But I can talk about baby sleep until the end of days my dear reader (Lady Whistlethorn strikes again)
It is REALLY important to make a plan about your baby's sleep – preferably before they arrive. Thinking about this early will help you when you are exhausted, unsure and second guessing your sanity
Planning doesn’t mean having a regimented timetable for a new baby. After all these babies are little humans and have their own needs and wants. And no matter how much we would like them to be born with a little sleep schedule, it will never happen. The first part of planning is around having realistic expectations. SO, a little knowledge about the amount that babies cry and what to expect of them; will put you in good stead dear readers (It appears I can't help myself)
Next, is to understand how much sleep a newborn needs. One common issue and one that is easy to avoid; is interrupting the normal sleep cycle of a newborn. Many new parents will misunderstand how much sleep a baby needs and often when they wake for a short period of time, they don’t realise the baby should, and probably will, go back to sleep. This may require a little help but is important.
Then, parents need to know HOW to help their baby sleep enough. While avoiding the common pattern of feeding to sleep frequently; as they are not sure what else to do. Having confidence and a bit of knowledge can help you ride through these unsettled times, knowing you are on the right path. Knowing the rough cycles of a newborn will ensure you are meeting their needs including sleep.
Then once you have pushed through labour (pun intended) and pushed through the early unsettled days where you helped your baby adjust to being earth side, you can then start to move onto helping them with self settling. As babies grow and change, the newborn routine won't be as effective and a new approach is likely required (why don’t these babies come with instruction manuals!). It’s nothing dramatic but with a small amount of knowledge this change in routine can easily slip into your babies lives.
The other aspect of planning is future proofing baby and toddler sleep. Planning for a return to work as early as you can save you a great deal of heart ache when it happens. With a bit of forward planning, upset and unrest in this time critical situation may be avoided. And this doesn’t involve sleep training a newborn it’s just about understanding their sleep and creating some good habits early.
I see so many parents with the same issues that could be avoided if they just had a little more knowledge to go along with their instincts. The early days will be a little more enjoyable with a little bit of planning. Perfection can not and should not be expected but somewhere between perfection and pure chaos is where we should aim! So if you're pregnant, get in touch! It is never too early to start planning for that much needed and loved sleep!
Until next time, Dear Reader.