During the first few months after a baby is born, many parents wonder if they will ever sleep again. Most of them are running on pure adrenaline mixed with fear. They try to get to sleep but are kept awake by the fear that they will be woken up just when they are beginning to doze off. They have a hard time relaxing enough to go to sleep, and that makes the experience of being a parent not very enjoyable and everything in their life becomes stressed because of their lack of sleep. Even the enjoyment of their new baby suffers a devastating blow because of lack of sleep. For many new parents this is their only reality.
Questions may run through your mind as a new parent– What is wrong with me? What am I doing wrong? Shouldn’t this kid be sleeping through the night? Even darker still is that desperate creeping thought- what about drugs? Couldn’t I just get something for this baby to help him sleep through the night?
It’s very common for pediatricians to have this hinted at by sleep deprived parents. I remember bringing in one of my boys just past a year old and complaining very insistently that he was not sleeping and asking if there wasn’t something that could be done to help him sleep better? Why? Why? Why was he not sleeping? My pediatrician looked at me and simply stared- knowing on some level what I was hinting at. He kind of mumbled and looked at me like– just get a grip and put up with it. I left feeling worse than I went in.
And who’s to blame me, us, or anyone for that matter? You can’t even think straight when you haven’t had more than a 20 minute stretch of sleep for weeks on end. What I didn’t know at the time, was that my child “the horrible non-sleeper” was more sleep deprived than I was, and because of that was likely more stressed than I was. Children need a lot of sleep, a lot more than adults, and when they don’t get it they sometimes become hyper-awake, leading parents to think that their child just does not need that much sleep.
It wasn’t until much later that I learned about sleep consultants and all of the “magical tricks” that every new parent should know but usually don’t. With a few sessions, and lots of help, I found that most new babies can be sleeping more soundly, longer and earlier than before– sounds like magic to me. I learned about the sleep patterns of newborns that can encourage babies to sleep longer and more soundly, and I learned about routines and supportive helps that my sleep deprived brain could not have thought up on its own. Support and help during this sleep deprived time is essential to both parents and babies. If parents are educated through this process, both parents and babies can be well rested, enabling parents to be able to keep up with the demands of their new babies.
When parents make a choice to just endure the whole sleep deprived process, both parents and babies suffer and become out of balance. The endurance process never gives anyone anything except sleeplessness, irritability and exasperation– it’s not worth it.
Some misconceptions or excuses for ‘toughing it out’:
I will be able to make wonderful conscious intuitive decisions about the care of my child when the time comes.
Truth– after a baby comes, even though your intuition is heightened, it basically goes out of the window with sleep deprivation. What was so clear before the problem, becomes muddled with a great deal of confusion brought on by sleep deprivation.
If I wait and endure a little longer things will probably get better.
Wrong! Sleep problems are mainly caused by bad habits, and not understanding the way and whys of babies schedules and sleep. This will not change if you give it more time.
He slept when he was younger; he will probably just fall back into the pattern of it.
Well maybe, but most probably not. Babies at different ages have different needs and different ways of responding to new patterns of sleep.
And last but not least—
We are super parents, we should be able to do it all– especially by ourselves because that shows how strong we are.
You are strong, we know you are strong.. but you don’t need to suffer and have your child suffer because you need to prove that. You are a wonderful parent, and because of that, it is important that you honor that commitment of being a good parent by taking care of yourself and helping yourself out when you need it.
It is just what the Dr. ordered…..for more information check out our blog post — Ten Signs You Need a Sleep Consultant