Posted November 25, 2013
It's all around town at the moment that many four-month old babies are experiencing sleep regression. This term is being used to describe a baby who slept well (perhaps 6-hours at a time or even all night) until about 3 or 4 months of age - and then sleep began to deteriorate and some babies are up every 1-2 hours all night long!
Is this an inevitable phase parents just have to live through? Absolutely not. This so-called phase is triggered when parents of a 3-4 month old baby haven't realized the importance of discontinuing all night feedings. Through misinformation coupled with worries about a possible growth spurt, parents are not realizing that a baby who weighs 12 lbs. or above does not need and should not have any food going into the tummy overnight. A baby doesn't need the milk for nutrition in the night because she is strong enough now to take in all she needs during the day only. Continuing with night feedings past 12 lbs. actually disturbs your baby's sleep.
Also at the age of 3-4 months, brain development is progressing rapidly, particularly creating great interest in socializing. Your over 12 lb. baby can now predict your availability during the night and develop a habit of calling out which has nothing anymore to do with nutritional need.
By the same token, once you take steps to limit your baby's expectations of your company and the milk that comes with you, your baby will teach himself - miraculously, some say - to sleep the whole night through (11 hours!).
If you need help in knowing how to take these very important steps with your over 12 lb. baby, meet with me on Tuesday, December 3 for two hours. It could change your life!
Our 9 week old son had been a horrible sleeper, and we were at our wits end. After attending Raymond Parenting “Sleep Class”, his sleeping patterns have changed dramatically. After only one day, he was sleeping through the night, and was having regular naps. He has become a more independent baby, without needing to be carried around to fall asleep. We went from a 4 hour routine to get him to go to sleep… to putting him in his bed, and now he falls asleep in 5 minutes. What a difference!!
Attending the “Sleep ” seminar was the best decision we made in planning for our new baby. We implemented the tips and strategies from day one and our 7 week old daughter falls asleep on her own without any crying. She is on a great routine with 2-3 hour naps during the day. As a result my husband and I have a healthy, happy relationship and our two year old enjoys her new baby sister as much as we do. Thank you Kitty!
Posted November 9, 2013
Some health professionals in Alberta (Canada? US?) advise new parents to wait until their baby is six months old before helping them learn self-calming skills. That is too long to wait. Too long for babies and too long for parents.
Babies are born with abilities to learn self calming. A very young baby of 2 weeks or less will try to suck on it's fist every time it flies by! When given a chance to practice she gradually learns how to get that flying fist to stay put where she wants it - in or near her mouth. Some fetuses are filmed with their thumb already placed firmly in the mouth. In fact studies done on how babies grow in utero have shown babies sucking as early as 15 weeks into the pregnancy. The sucking reflex is strong and it is instinctive.
If babies are born capable of putting their thumb in their mouth and gain satisfaction and a sense of calm from sucking, why aren't new parents advised to encourage this instinctive behavior. Putting a newborn baby into bed - awake - several times each day and leaving it free to self-calm to sleep makes great sense to me. I fear that parents are made to feel so worried that if their baby ever cries or fusses long enough to practice self-calming, it will affect the attachment process or cause emotional problems later in life. It won't. It doesn't. This unfair fearmongering by some health professionals results in parents rushing to pick up a fussy baby way too fast, ruining baby's chance to show what he could do for himself.
I'm also aware that professionals who lobby for exclusive and long-term breastfeeding are instructing mothers to offer the breast every time the baby fusses, whether it's time for a feeding or not. In fact, believe it is for reasons of breastfeeding promotion that parents are told to wait six months before helping your baby learn good sleep skills. It is feared somehow that breastfeeding will diminish if the breast isn't offered every hour or so. Personally, I did not find this to be true nor do parents report this to me.
The unfortunate result of this teaching is that babies can only become calm or get to sleep by sucking on the breast, whether they need a feeding or not. The self-calming reflexive instincts that were present before and at birth do not get reinforced and soon the baby needs to have the breast every time it needs to get to sleep and back to sleep, sometimes all night long.
It is my observation that this one-sided advice to put off helping a baby learn to self-calm, is wearing parents out. Families are exhausted and babies become sleep-deprived when they wait six months to begin to get proper sleep. The chance of post partum depression increases. Babies wake up cranky, may smile less and - lets face it - can be just a little harder to fall head over heals in love with, perhaps affecting the attachment process adversely.
Babies require uninterrupted (excepted for essential feedings) sleep in order to wake up refreshed. A refreshed baby shows curiosity during non-nap times. This essential curiosity spurs their brain development by allowing them to looking around, engage with you and respond back to your overtures. They require good sleep to be curious. It's never too late to do sleep-learning and...i'ts never too early to encourage self-calming skills.
Sleep Class by Kitty Raymond (prenatal to one year) addresses all these sleep issues. Helping your baby extend self-calming capabiities from birth on and learning to get themselves to sleep in the process. Kitty also teaches how to protect feeding times to support exclusive breastfeeding, breast & bottle combo feeding or formula feeding. She also teaches parents of older babies to one year, the art of helping their baby learn to self-calm to sleep and back to sleep in case of accidental wakeups. Your goal will be to protect and or restore harmony in your family so parenting can become a pleasure.
Here's a link to just one of hundreds of well-written blogs about the highs and lows of breastfeeding.
Please forward this Sleep Class information to friends you believe would be interested in attending.
Do you want to comment on this entry? Please do so here.
Posted October 30, 2013
Thank you for telling me! I've heard from you that I need to include babies up to 1-year of age in my monthly Sleep Class. It's done! Beginning this November (Tuesday, November 5, to be exact) my new design will cover the same, essential prenatal messages about how your newborn can (gently) learn to sleep from the start and I will move right on to solving older baby sleep problems up to one year of age.
More news: Telephone Counseling is available again starting on Monday, November 4, 2013. Mondays and Wednesdays will be my typical "open" days but just email me if you would like a different day of the week. Early evening appointments (6PM) are also available by prior arrangement and for a slightly higher fee.
Posted October 14, 2013
Greetings from Scotland!
This morning in The Guardian, a major study, just published in the journal Pediatrics, is reported stating that "Children with erratic bedtimes are more likely to have behavioural problems - including hyperactivity, problems with peers, and emotional difficulties - and demonstrate symptoms similar to jet-lag."
So often, sleep research reports will circle around or side-step the harder messages behind the science, in an effort to not ruffle feathers. Well not so, here.
The report I read by journalist Alexandra Topping of The Guardian, describes the research: "..According to a study of more than 10,000 children, carried out by University College, London...for children who go for longer periods without a regular bedtime there is a more pronounced impact, caused by disruptions to natural body rhythms that can cause sleep deprivation. This, in turn, has been found to undermine the way the brain matures and children's ability to behave well.
The data that used for this study was collected via the UK Millennium Cohort Study, with bedtimes noted at ages three, five and seven with details on behaviour collected from parents and teachers.
And a significant message from Professor Yvonne Kelly, from UCL's department of epidemiology and public health: "Early child development was well known to have profound influences on health and wellbeing throughout a lifetime. Not having fixed bedtimes, accompanied by a constant sense of flux, induces a state of body and mind akin to jet-lag and this matters for healthy development and daily functioning. What we've shown is that these effects build up incrementally over childhood, so that children who always had irregular bedtimes were worse off than those children who did have a regular bedtime at one or two of the ages they were surveyed."
Now, you and I know that it can be very hard to enforce a regular bedtime for some children. You might be thinking you'd like nothing better, yet every night is a battle! If you've been reading my blog for long or have attended my Sleep Seminars, you already know I recommend parents take the lead on all issues regarding bedtime, with no bargaining, no repeated requests, and friendly but firm rules as well as a plan for consequences when the rules aren't followed.. I also recommend that children remain sleeping in a crib until age three and only then make the switch to a regular bed. Further, because you are now turning the whole room into one large crib, that you have a plan to secure the door for safety, from the first night out of a crib.
There are other issues you may be faced with, however, such as work schedules that interfere with bedtime, daycare pick-up and feeling heartbroken when you haven't seen your child all day and they are doing some requisite protest-crying in an effort to delay bedtime. Then there are the classic requests for 'one more drink,' now I need to pee,' 'just one more hug' or 'can you lie down with me?' Bedtime struggles as well as overnight wake-ups take their toll on parents every bit as much as on children. Everyone needs to be sleeping well for family harmony to be restored.
If you feel that your child's bedtime and sleep habits need to be improved, you may set up an appointment with me for a Telephone Conversation. I'll be available on the phone again for appointments starting November 4, 2013. To book your appointment, click here. Choose which counseling package works best for you.
If you wish to read the Guardian article mentioned above, use the link below.
Cheers to you,
Filed under: Sleep
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