By Jessica Braidwood
Millions of dollars are spent by parents every year on books and programs to help them get their babies to sleep. The problem is they are missing one fundamental truth:
Babies Don’t Sleep
or more specifically
Babies Don’t Sleep Through the Night
There. I just saved your $14 on your next Amazon purchase for one of the 51,165 books available on baby sleep.
All babies, yes ALL BABIES wake up in the night. Some unicorn babies can resettle themselves from a very, very young age but these babies really are magical.
The rest of the babies in the world need help resettling themselves.
Help is defined as “making it easier for someone to do something by offering one’s services or resources” or as “the action of helping someone to do something; assistance.”
The amount and type of help varies from baby to baby but the one thing it all has in common is ACTION.
Leaving a child to cry themselves to sleep in the name of teaching self-soothing is not offering services or resources to help them. It’s really the exact opposite of help but it does teach one thing: learned helplessness.
Those babies still wake in the night, they don’t cry out because they know no one is coming. Their brains are washed in stress hormones and they are never soothed, they are never helped, they have learned they cannot trust their caregivers to keep them safe in certain circumstances. This is not how nature intended it.
Let’s just put leaving them to cry out of the equation all together. The research on why you shouldn’t do it is easy to come by and worth reading. Start with this article if you need somewhere to begin, it’s an excellent read. So is this.
So then, what you should you do when you have a baby who wakes every 30, 45, 60 minutes all night long? When you are so tired that you can barely cry? When it’s only some kind of ridiculous combination of yoga ball bouncing and chanting that will help get them back to sleep? When you cannot begin to hear the words ‘it won’t be like this forever’?
There is only one thing you can do. You have made your choice. You have chosen to be present for your babies, to show them that you are their parent at every hour of the day, not just in the daylight. What you must do is
Know that you have made the choice that is right for your child: the only choice. Know that as you nurse and rock and bounce and pace and sing and cuddle that you are giving them the greatest gift, you are keeping them safe. You are loving them unconditionally no matter what the clock says. You are washing their brains in comfort instead of stress. Their neurons say thank you.
See page 2 for the rest of the story…