August 1, 2020
I recently had the pleasure of running into a couple who had taken a childbirth class with me. Their son was about six months old and we talked about their birth experience and how they were making the transition to parenthood.
Is Anyone Sleeping?
Everything seemed to be going smoothly, until I asked if anyone was getting any sleep. That’s when the tone changed.
“No,” they said, nobody was sleeping. Every night was uncharted territory. Most often, out of desperation, their son was sleeping on one of them and he’d never even seen the inside of the fancy crib they’d bought. They just didn’t know when it would end.
I’ve heard stories like this–we all have–so many times over the years, it’s become a cliché. What new parent doesn’t feel helpless and worn down by the unpredictable nightly misery of a baby who can’t settle to sleep?
We tend not to talk about it, either, which sends us into further isolation. (What are you supposed to say when one of the other sanctimommies humble-brags about her baby finally sleeping through the night?) I think we can do better.
You’re Not Alone
Patti DiClemente, a certified infant/toddler sleep consultant, thinks we can do better, too.
“You are not alone,” she says. “Sleep is hard for us as adults, and it can be just as difficult for babies. The more we know about their sleep and encourage great sleep hygiene, the easier we can achieve it. We don’t have to just accept sleep deprivation and the consequences it may cause.”
4 Tips To Help You and Your Baby Sleep
Avoid trendy products
Don't waste your money on trendy products that are marketed to "promise" uninterrupted and wonderful sleep. Focus on creating a safe sleeping environment.
Whether they are swaddling blankets or Velcro swaddlers, make sure you have three to four good swaddles that are easy to use and safe for sleeping.
Blackout shades and a white noise machine will change your life.
It might be a while before baby is on a "schedule," but it's never too early to start a consistent bedtime routine.
Myths or Truth?
Women & Babies Hospital partners with Patti to present Night Night Newborn, a class all about infant sleep. This class delves into the science of newborn sleep, and how sleep changes as babies grow and develop.
Patti addresses some of the myths we hold about newborn sleep (Never wake a sleeping baby! The more they are awake during the day, the better they will sleep at night!) and the kind of support we need during the early months. (Get your village together!)
She’ll answer questions about what is and isn’t a safe sleep environment, and talk about concrete steps to take and habits to build with your baby from day one.
Night Night Newborn is not a class about sleep training or a sleep training method. Instead, it is a common-sense way to realistically approach and plan for the challenges of life with a new baby. Consider taking this class before your baby is born, or if your baby is up to 8 weeks old.
Patti wants all new parents to feel reassured. “You are doing great! Not every baby is the same. There are many seasons of parenting. This is just one of them. We can work together to find healthy and safe solutions for quality and restorative sleep.”
If only I had been able to recommend this to those exhausted, despairing parents I ran into.
Our in-person classes are currently on hold due to COVID-19. Please view our class updates for the latest information and online class opportunities.