Below are answers to some common questions about sleep problems and your baby. Please contact me to discuss any issues in greater detail and for a personal consulation.
True: Newborn babies can only manage to stay awake for 40-60 minutes which is just long enough for a feed and a nappy change.
False: Babies can adapt to a routine imposed on them. However some mothers and babies find this very stressful and become unsettled and upset by this rigid approach.
True: Some western parents believe that the baby needs to learn to sleep on their own. This is seen as important in developing a good sleep routine.
True: Babies start to recognise their parents using a crude visual awareness and their other senses that are highly tuned to recognise their parents and make sense of the new non-watery environment.
True: Babies are designed to stay close to their mothers and therefore sleep next to them in order to bond (emotional stability), maintain their body’s vital signs (temperature control) and pick up early feeding cues. Breastfeeding works best with lots of skin to skin contact.
False: Babies have 6 behavioural states Deep sleep(NREM), Light sleep (REM), Drowsy awake, Quiet alert, Active alert and Crying.
True: Babies can develop a dependency on the “trick” used to settle them for sleep as they move from REM light sleep into deep sleep. This trick can be a dummy, a feed, rocking or lying next to a parent. This can disrupt the baby’s sleep pattern.
False: The length of sleep depends on the babies needs which is unique for every baby. The other important factor is the mother’s capacity to make breast milk, again unique for every mother.
True: Most parents (70%)take their baby into their bed at some time during the first month.
True: Colostrum contains a sedative which helps calm the baby following the birth. This sleepy state lasts up to two weeks when the colostrum finishes.
False: Research shows that understanding and responding appropriately to your baby’s behavioural states will lead to a more independent, happy and confidant child
False: Babies may wake up more often at three months because they have developed a dependency on a “trick” used to settled them to sleep or they have started to teethe, or both. Babies need milk until 6 months of age. They can not metabolise other foods well until that age.
Be proud of what a fantastic job you’re doing breastfeeding your baby. Be part of the growing groups of mothers who are really starting to make breastfeeding more visible, acceptable and an essential part of your baby’s life.