NO, YOU ARE NOT DREAMING! SLEEP COACH KATHY SINCLAIR SAYS THAT YOUR KID
CAN SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT. HERE, SHE GIVES PARENTS THE ABC’S OF ZZZ’S.
I would say that the majority of new parents think that it is normal for their newborn baby not to
be napping throughout the day, and as for night sleep, well, that’s also supposed to be nonexistent,
Well, that is a myth.
Your baby should be getting the sleep that he needs—and so should you. Most parents feel guilty because they want and need more sleep, but what they forget is that their baby wants it and needs it, too. So please don’t feel guilty just because your body is telling you that you need sleep.
I would really like to concentrate on naps because napping is a very important part of night sleep. A lot of parents think that if they keep their baby up all day or limit their naps, then their baby will sleep all night long. It doesn’t work like that. Your baby will be so overtired and amped up that it will be almost impossible for him to go to sleep, and when he does, he will wake up a lot more throughout the night. The more sleep a baby gets, the more he will sleep. My favorite mantra is “Sleep Begets Sleep.”
Start by doing a brief version of your nightly bedtime routine:
1) Change diaper.
2) Close the shades.
3) Put on white noise.
4) Swaddle your baby.
5) Cuddle and hold him for two to 4 ur minutes.
6) Put him into bed when he is drowsy.
When you do the above, this is giving your baby some sleep cues. For example, I worked with twins a few years back who would start rubbing their eyes and yawning as soon as I closed the shades. The drawing of the shades was their cue to go to sleep.
THE CRYING GAME
Many times during a baby’s nap, 30 or 45 minutes into it, he wakes up and looks like he’s done resting. I call this the “30- or 45-Minute Intruder”: when your baby is going through his light sleep cycle and he wakes up and can’t put himself back to sleep. So what you should do is let him cry for three to five minutes. Now, I know what you are saying: “What, let him cry? I can’t do that!” Yes, you can, just for three to five minutes—which is not long, really—as you will be allowing your baby the opportunity to self-soothe back to sleep. This will help ensure that he is getting off to a good start in learning to sleep through his sleep cycles. After you have let him cry for three to five minutes, go into his room and try patting his little bottom to help calm him.
A quick reminder: We often forget that babies are going to cry and make noises as they doze off and while they sleep. It’s totally normal. I can guarantee that you don’t lie in bed and not move or make any noise all night long—yet, for some reason, that is what a lot of us expect our babies to do. So if your baby does cry out, let him cry for a few minutes—he may just be complaining and not need your attention. Again, you need to allow your baby the opportunity to self-soothe.
You are going to get sick of hearing this, but please do yourself and your baby a huge favor: Do not rock him until he is asleep. Have you been rocking your baby until he is totally asleep? If so, then please stop now; you can rock him until he is almost—but not completely—asleep. All babies are born being able to put themselves to sleep, and we as parents and caregivers rob them of that ability by rocking them to sleep and therefore facilitating their sleep. Babies can and do put themselves to sleep if given the opportunity.
So, happy napping!
Kathy Sinclair, CNCS, CPD, CLE, CHBE, graduated from Australia’s prestigious Charlton Brown Nanny College and began her professional career as a nanny in 1993. Kathy developed her specialty with infant sleep while working as a newborn care specialist in Los Angeles. Currently the founder of Baby Sleep Solutions, Kathy provides one-on-one individualized sleep consultations, leads Mommy & Infant groups for new moms, and lectures on sleep in and around Los Angeles. She lives in Ventura, Calif., with her husband and three dogs. She may be contacted through her website at www.babysleepsolutionsla.com.