Ask most brand new mothers (actually mothers at any stage of their lives!) and many will tell you that all they’d love is a little bit more sleep. Parents2B’s Michelle Jackson puts the Z into ZZZZZZZZZZ
If there’s one parenting topic that’ll have the playgroup mums divided and opinionated, it’s sleep. As a new mum, you are always questioning your decisions around bub anyway, but when you take into consideration the myriad sleep myths and theories, it can be overwhelming. When sleep is lacking, and the frazzle-o-meter is constantly in the red, professional help should be sought.
Parents2B Michelle Jackson, who is a registered nurse and midwife, says the biggest thing that new mums need to remember is that there is NOT a one-size-fits-all approach to making your baby sleep.
“Mums tend to research too much. They Google and read too many articles and books, are on multiple forums where sleep is discussed and debated and as a result start to second guess themselves,” Michelle says. “I have found that parents need to trust their own instincts. When they do, their family thrives. When parents are too busy trying to do everything ‘right’ they don’t enjoy their babies. What they have to remember is that if something works for them, then that is the right solution for that family. If it’s not working – then seek professional help.”
The other thing that new mums need to consider, according to Michelle, is that teaching new skills to babies (like how to sleep) takes time – just like if we adults were wanting to learn a new language or take up a new hobby. New babies are constantly developing and with this growth and development, so too their
sleep requirements and habits are constantly changing. This may happen every few weeks. Rather than problematic sleep regressions, it’s more about being in a new developmental stage that, to get through, requires some little tweaks to routines, feeds and sleep requirements.
As a mum to three kids herself (aged 16, 13 and 11), we asked Michelle to ‘mythbust’ the most common baby sleep topics. Here are her thoughts:
There are so many ways to swaddle a baby and products to buy for this purpose. Michelle stresses the importance of parents making a decision on how to swaddle their child and then sticking to that. You can choose to swaddle with one arm out, or both arms in. You can choose to wrap them or use a sleeping bag. Whatever way you choose to swaddle, you should use that technique for every sleep, day or night, as it becomes an important sleep cue. Consistency is the key to good sleep and settling. Your baby’s routine is only as good as your (the parents) consistency! Michelle recommends consistent swaddling until your baby learns to roll over.
Controlled crying works for some, but not all. The most important thing to remember here is that you should not pass judgment on a mum who uses the technique, or on the other hand, one who refuses to use the technique. There are a host of other alternatives but whatever works for you and your family is key.
This is a de nite no, according to Michelle. “Always put your baby on their back and let them nd their own sleeping position. Once they can turn over to their tummy for themselves, it’s OK, but until then, follow the SIDS guidelines and put your baby down on their back to sleep.”
This is, again, a parent’s own decision. There are strict SIDS guidelines on co-sleeping, which all parents need to be aware of. Most importantly, the sleeping environment needs to be safe before the decision to co-sleep is made. Michelle has clients who have co-slept with their babies from birth to 15 months of age, and she also has clients who co-sleep with more than one child. It is the parents’ decision entirely but they need to make an educated decision on the topic.
Parents2B offers private, in-home antenatal classes as well as in-home consultations on settling/sleep and breastfeeding. Visit www.facebook.com/parents2b
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