The Benefits of Teaching our Babies to Sleep
Over the years, I've learned that teaching babies is about so much more than just "sleep" for baby. Now don't get me wrong, sleep for baby's health, overall happiness, and well-being is the absolute most important reason that parents decide to embark on a journey like this. But do know you about all of the other benefits? I'm happy to share with you some of the best benefits I've discovered with my clients through the years!
Let's be honest with ourselves; if we don't look after ourselves, we have very little to give to others! Whenever we fly, we are reminded that if we don't put our air mask on first we won't be any help to anyone and in fact, may need saving ourselves. Sleep for your child means time for you to get the rest, balance, and relaxation you need in your day-to-day parenting journey. It's the hardest job out there; we need our children to sleep so that we can re-charge! It's not selfish, it's actually very giving of yourself!
Our relationship with our spouse or partner is critical! After all, we decided to start this family to share our love with a child, right? Yet, I'm the first one to share that when my Jorja wouldn't sleep, my husband ended up in a spare bed in the basement as I spent all night parenting so he could work and finish his master's degree. This sort of arrangement might work out in the short term, but, soon we have to decide whether this is sustainable for ourselves, our child, and our marriage! Consider yourselves the CEOs of your family and if management isn't good and happy then we can't expect that vibe to trickle down to the children, can we? No, we may not go back to the way things were pre-children, but, we certainly need to make our relationships and happiness a priority so that our children can learn positive dynamics from us!
Our Own Health!
We NEED to keep ourselves healthy! We are subjected to so many more illnesses when our children are building their brand new immune systems and sharing toys and daycare settings with other children. We need our sleep to keep our immune system functioning as well as possible to ensure that we are well enough to take care of our children when they become sick. It's simple, your child might think you are a super hero, but, you don't have magical powers!
Depression and Anxiety
When we don't sleep enough (approx. 7 hours for men, 9 for women) we accumulate sleep debt. And that over-fatigue causes an increase in the stress hormone cortisol; for both you and baby! And we know this puts parents at a higher risk for depression and anxiety symptoms. You can go without sleep for a little while when baby comes home as a newborn, but, then you need to start rebuilding your sleep habits to stay the healthy, active, and involved parent I know you've always dreamt of becoming and the one your child deserves!
So many times over, I hear that parents are thrilled when I tell them that once baby has learned how to sleep well and recovered from sleep debt, baby will be MORE flexible with sleep than ever before. Babies who sleep well when at home are able to handle an 80/20 rule very well! This means that when a baby sleeps well at home, 80% of the time, then baby can handle the other 20% of our hectic lives (travel, errands, family events, etc.) without being pushed into a sleep tailspin. My clients happily travel with their children having been educated in how they can honour baby's need for quality sleep while also balancing the important things in life! You're not tied to the house; you choose when, where, and how to help your baby achieve the rest he/she needs to keep sleeping well!
Babies learn to sleep even when sick and teething!
Yes, it's true! I've worked with SO many clients who've heard that you can "train" baby to sleep, but, they'll just need to be re-trained every time baby becomes sick! Well, that can be true for some approaches, I suppose; but, not for my clients! I've had many part clients write to me and tell me their baby can sleep even if hospitalized, or dealing with illness. I believe this makes sense! When they are sick, they need sleep more than ever! I teach my clients how to teach their child to sleep in ALL situation. And I teach parents how to make decisions around sleep that will allow them to maintain the investment they've made into their child's sleep! When it comes to teething, we can't wait to teach our children to sleep unless we are willing to wait 2+ years until our child stops teething! :) But here's the thing, we have a higher pain tolerance when we are better rested. So, many of my past clients don't even realize their baby is cutting new teeth until they see them; their baby just keeps sleeping well!
Colic and acid re-flux symptoms are improved or eliminated!
Now, I'm not saying that I'm a healer! Not at all! But, so many of my families face colic or acid re-flux symptoms, and often insist they can't teach baby to sleep yet because their baby isn't well enough! Yet, when we work on some sleep changes and improvements and routine tweaks all of my clients who have babies facing these issues note improvement in baby's symptoms. And often an improvement in overall eating habits; as well as a happier baby!
An easier time with future sleep transitions!
The sooner we improve sleep habits, the easier the future transitions and developmental milestones are for our babies! Could you imagine how hard it would be to learn to crawl when exhausted every day? Parents are always worried that they should wait until the "ideal" time to teach new skills, but, here's the thing, these babies are forever changing! Daily! Yet, the families I work with often note that once sleep is improved, baby is all of a sudden entering new leaps full steam ahead, seemingly happier, and with a calmer temperament while doing so! I'm a happier person when I sleep well, and I already know how to walk, so I imagine that babies really appreciate feeling better as they work to learn SO many new skills every day!
We are present for this journey!
Everyone says "enjoy it! It goes so fast!" The more we parent, the more we realize how true this is! I have NO idea how my children are already both in school this fall. I can remember how I used to lounge on the couch when Jorja wasn't sleeping and I barely played with her. I wasn't anywhere near the mom I knew I could be! I was too tired to go to the park, and often found myself dozing off for a few minutes whenever she was happily playing. I was crying myself to sleep that these days were so long, but, passing too fast. We know that being present and in the moment is the key to happiness. My clients spend their days getting chores done while baby naps and enjoying baby when she's awake. Don't we all deserve days like that? When baby knows how to sleep, we enjoy our maternity/parental leave for the precious time that it is!
SO, if you're reading this list and you find yourself shocked at how much better things could be if only we took the leap into better sleep...then book a free evaluation with me! We'll discuss what's happening and discover how I may be able to help you make impressive changes for your baby! I'll answer all of your questions about the process and we'll determine if we're the right fit for each other. No pressure; just a call with a mama who wants to make other mommies as happy as she is! OK, who also happens to have specialized in pediatric sleep! :)
Schedule your FREE 20-minute sleep evaluation and learn how amazing sleep will be for you and your child!