I'm back from my UK trip. My first holiday in 4 years and I've come back refreshed and ready to help many more sleep deprived families out there. And it's back to my blogging ASAP and some really good blogs on all things baby sleep and parenting.
I've missed my writing while I was away and I'm sure you've all missed it too :-) Starting with that pesky 4-month sleep regression that derails so many babies and starts off the spiral of sleep deprivation.
This is really huge. It’s only taken me a little under 16 years to work this out so don’t worry if you haven’t! This little gem is going to really turnaround sleep for many parents.
Most of you who know me, will relate to my analytical scientific brain and way of thinking. Having 2 science degrees and conducting research in my dissertations has made me a very different type of nurse, midwife and baby whisperer. When I started Nurture Parenting just over 5 years ago I had no idea how much that 4-month sleep regression was impacting families. Fast forward 5 years and it's one of the biggest issues that leads to frequent night waking and subsequent maternal exhaustion.
Baby sleep learning
I’m taking you right back to my English training as a Health Visitor. Parents are taught at 2-8 weeks postnatal, how to put their babies to sleep. It is a very simple no-frills approach. I had very few sleep problems following a prevention model of baby sleep learning. Babies are put down awake in the cot of not under or over tired but just right. We didn’t wrap or swaddle. Instead we placed them on their back to sleep. Feet placed at the foot of the cot. Tucked in firmly at shoulder height with a firm cotton sheet and a blanket or two. Babies were never patted…ever. If they got upset we picked them up for a quick cuddle. Then put them down awake in the cot when quieter, but not asleep. We kept on doing this and used a hands-on technique until they fell asleep. Now fast forward to my Australian experience of baby sleep and how many sleep problems in New South Wales? There are way too many to count.
Looking at my UK practice at all the things we did differently here in OZ.
So many mums telling me their sleep problem was really a 4-month sleep regression caused by wonder weeks. Well I never had any 4-month sleep regressions in England ever and not very many in Melbourne. So what is it about the 4-month wonder week that makes sleep come undone? It’s the World of Events at 4-months…which are patterns and sequences, a real aha moment. I looked at the practice of other baby sleep practitioners both private and health service sleep school. I get quite a lot of clients who ‘fail’ sleep school and asked the parents what they were getting taught.
Patting babies to sleep
For a lot of families I worked out it’s the patting to sleep. It’s rhythmic and leaves such an imprint on the baby. Unless they are patted they can’t get back to sleep. Toddlers are asking to be patted, saying to their mum, ‘pat mummy pat, pat mummy’. I’ve seen 7-month old babies either get hold of their mum’s hand and place it on their tummy and pat. Also, babies patting their own mattress. It’s really quite astounding. And how many baby sleep books and parenting experts in Australia recommend PATTING a baby off to sleep? Way too many to count. I've heard Pinky McKay, Dr Howard Chilton, Baby Bliss and Jo Ryan, Tresillian and Karitane, sleep school, Raising Children's Website and thesleepmama of Instagram infamy, all advocate patting babies off to sleep. I'd like them to please look at their practice and reconsider teaching patting. It's not helping Australian parents or their babies and children and if anything it's having a detrimental effect on parental exhaustion. I see way too many parents with postnatal depression and who are really teetering on the edge. It has to stop.
The real clincher for me was reading an article by Dr. Lynne Murray an eminent UK psychologist in the Mail Online and saying that if babies couldn’t recreate the thing that put them to sleep then their sleep would come undone.
Psychology of Baby Sleephttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2661995/The-price-rocking-baby-sleep-Infants-note-going-drop-want-thing.html As soon as her new book came out, ‘The Psychology of Babies’ I went straight to the chapter on sleep. And lo and behold, there was my UK baby sleep method and not a mention of a pat anywhere and babies had their hands free and unswaddled. Hallelujah for Dr Lynne Murray, the voice of reason and evidence-based practice.
Buy my new Ebook
Do yourself a favour and avoid that 4-month sleep regression by buying my new Ebook Help I'm a New Mum and I Don't Know What To Do. Find it in my online shop now and on Amazon Kindle this week.
In this book
I look at all things baby sleep under 4-months. This is NOT for babies older than 4 months. Once you hit 4 months a whole different approach is needed.
It covers my own unique (trademarked) techniques of hands on settling and Baby Sleep Learning (BSL) that I've been teaching to families for the past 17 years. There is not a pat in sight. And a bargain at $7.99 AUD.
It could be just the thing you need to read to avoid that dreaded 4-month sleep regression.
Remember you can ask me anything during the weekly Nurture Parenting Facebook live broadcasts, usually on Tuesdays. Here's the link to the FB page: https://www.facebook.com/NurtureParenting.BabySleepGuru