‘Can You Sleep Train a Newborn?’ – A Question That Makes No Sense

Photography: Poppy Peterson Photography

By Elizabeth Pantley

Parents of newborns are very tired people. Sleep becomes their holy grail. In their blurry-eyed state they sometimes ask really crazy questions. “Can you sleep train a newborn?” is one of the irrational questions that sleep-deprived people ask.

Here are four reasons that that question doesn’t make any sense:

Reason 1: They already know how to sleep.

In the womb, babies sleep twenty hours a day or more. That is a lot of practice. Clearly they already know how to sleep, so no training is necessary!

Reason 2: They aren’t old enough to learn anything.

“Training” is defined as the act of teaching someone a particular skill. Have you ever seen a newborn baby? They function purely on instinct and reflex. The idea that you can actually “teach them” doesn’t make sense, particularly because sleep is a biological function.

Reason 3: They are hungry. All the time.

In the womb, a baby was fed through the umbilical cord 24/7. Even if you feed an infant every hour or two, it’s still a drastic reduction of incoming nourishment. And a newborn stomach is incredibly tiny. At birth, it’s only about the size of a cherry. By one month, it’s still only about the size of an egg. And with an easily-digestible diet, this itsy-bitsy stomach fills and empties almost instantaneously.

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