Yes and no. It is a busy developmental time for a 3 – 5 month old baby, no doubt about it. But there’s nothing new here to see, despite it being a “fad” expression these days. Moms and families have been dealing with the growth and developmental changes of their babies for thousands of years. And we’ve been creating strategies and techniques to make these transitions as smooth as possible for everyone in the family.
Sleep ….. it eludes just about every new parent at some point or another. We sympathize. We’ve been there as parents ourselves, and we see hundreds of clients a year – all of whom, at some point, want to spend time talking sleep with us. We’re happy to oblige. We know a lot about the normal sleep and developmental habits of human infants and little people. Their sleep patterns are different that adults. And as such they have different needs.
But for a bleary eyed, exhausted new parent, who would do just about anything for four straight hours of sleep, there’s no telling them that “this is normal”.
Here are a few thoughts we have on sleep. If any of this resonates with you, contact us and we’d be happy to do a one-on-one consult to explore further how we may be of help in supporting your nap and night time parenting needs.
- When looking for answers, it’s hard to hear “every baby is different”. It’s true though. We really mean it when we say stop comparing yourself to another mother/baby pair and family. The good news is there are many different strategies to apply that may work for your unique little person.
- There are real biological and behavioral needs and milestones. If you know these, understand them – it’s easier to try to modify behavior in order to bring more sleep to the whole family.
- If you’re breastfeeding, the nature of breastfed babies being less “schedulable” (we know, not a real word) in the first few months is real. We can’t monitor ounces taken during a feed via a bottle, so we’re often left wondering about doing it right and finding confidence. But even without a regular bottle to measure success or establish a “schedule” – you can find rhythm. Looking at normal newborn cues will help you begin to understand and predict baby’s rhythms.
- In the first months, it’s very important to meet the baby where the baby is at. This is a primal, little being whose mission is simply eat, sleep, grow (pee/poop). It’s hard to let go and realize we are following the baby’s demands, rather than trying to make baby meet our demands (for sleep, for time, for calm).
- Personality exists young. If you’re tossing your hands in the air with one child, we truly believe that when #2 or #3 comes along – you’ll find a totally different kid. So many parents of more that one child can often be heard saying, “my first slept like a dream, but my 2nd never slept” or some such variation.
- Logic and calm. There are many ways to approach sleep challenges. What we find works well is coming at it from a perspective of logic and calm. If you’re exhausted and emotionally drained from it all, it’s hard to think about a strategy that might work. All you want to do is hire Mary Poppins and check into a hotel for the weekend.
Bottom line, they do sleep eventually! We promise. Give us a shout if you want to talk more about it all.
Deirdre & Kim