The topic of babies and sleep is enough to wreak havoc in the minds of new parents.
Is my baby getting enough sleep?
Should I be worried that they aren’t sleeping through the night?
What does self-settling actually mean?
Is there something wrong with my baby’s sleep cycle?
Is this normal, and if not… what is?
Sam and Snezana Wood share their go-to ways to get a newborn baby to sleep:
Parenting expert and author Patricia ‘Pinky’ McKay (Parenting By Heart, Sleeping Like a Baby and Toddler Tactics) and sleep consultant Veena Parry of Sleep Sweet Sleep Deep spoke to Mamamia about the often all-encompassing topic, and both experts agree parents put too much pressure on themselves when it comes to how and how much their babies are sleeping.
“Parents ares being told you just feed them and put them down and they fall asleep. And then parents get really anxious that they’re doing something really wrong,” says Pinky.
Veena, who was inspired to become a sleep consultant due to the “horrific” sleep routines of her own two children, agrees.
“Children do their own thing in their own time and sleep is just like feeding, it’s done on demand,” she says.
“As your child is doing all of their cerebral development in those initial first 17 weeks, the first thing that starts to get affected is sleep.”
Luckily, there are some tips and tricks all parents should be aware of.
What new parents should know about baby sleep cycles:
While ensuring your baby gets enough sleep can be a very emotional topic for parents, both Pinky and Veena emphasise that the needs and habits of each baby differs greatly.
“I think there’s some unrealistic expectations around what newborns in particular should be doing.” says Pinky.
Up until the four month mark, babies enter sleep through “active sleep,” which is comparable to an adult’s REM sleep. At this stage babies also have what’s called a “startle reflex” which causes them to wake easier and makes them very sensitive to loud noises and disturbances.