How to put a child to sleep: 6 tips
The best American expert on the behavior of babies Tracy Hogg in his book “What does your baby want?” Pays a lot of attention to the topic of sleep. How to put a child to sleep? Does the right to exist joint sleep? What mistakes do parents make by teaching a baby to fall asleep in a crib? And can a child in the first weeks of life learn to sleep on their own?
Joint sleep or crying in the crib?
Everyone has their own opinion on how best to put babies to bed and what to do if they do not wish to fall asleep. I will not touch on the ideas of the previous decades, I will limit myself to the fashion trends of the year 2000, when this book was written. Now the minds of parents are owned by two radically different from each other "schools".
The first are sleep supporterswhatever it is, whether it is “sleep in the parent’s bed” or the Sears method. (Dr. William Sears, a pediatrician from California, promotes the idea that babies should be allowed to sleep in their parents' beds until they are will askto give them their own bed.)
The basis of this method is the idea that a child should develop a positive attitude to sleep and going to bed (here I am “for” with both hands) and that the most correct way to achieve this goal is to carry it on your hands, nurse and stroke while the baby is I will not fall asleep (against which I categorically object). Sears, the most influential propagandist of this method, is perplexed in an interview published in Child magazine in 1998: “How can a mother want to put her child in a box with rods and throw it in a dark room all alone?”
Supporters of the joint sleep of parents and the infant often refer to the traditions of other cultures: for example, the Bali Islands, where newborns are kept on hand until they are three months old. (But we don’t live in Bali!) All of this serves to “strengthen attachment” and create a “sense of security,” so supporters of this point of view consider it quite possible for mom and dad to sacrifice their time, personal life and their need for sleep. .
At the other extreme is delayed response method, often referred to as “Ferbersky” by the name of Dr. Richard Ferber, director of the Center for the Study of Sleep Disorders in Children at the Boston Children's Hospital. According to his theory, bad habits associated with sleep are acquired, which means that they can be weaned off (with which I fully agree). Accordingly, he recommends that parents put the child in the crib when he is still awake and teach him to fall asleep on his own (with this, I also agree).
If the child, instead of falling asleep, begins to cry, in fact appealing to the parents with the appeal: “Come, take me away from here!” - Ferber advises not to pay any attention for longer periods of time: the first evening for five minutes, the second by 10, then by 15, etc. (and here our paths with Dr. Ferber diverge). Dr. Ferber’s explanations are cited in Child magazine: “If a kid wants to play with a dangerous object, we say“ no ”and set limits to what is permissible that his protest can cause ... The same thing happens when we explain to him that at night there are different rules. To sleep well at night is in his best interest. ”
Both approaches do not work?
Perhaps you have already joined one or the other camp. If any of these two methods suits you and your child, meets your lifestyle, do not hesitate, keep up the good work.
But the fact is that I often get calls from people who have already experienced both of these approaches. Usually events develop as follows. At first, one of the parents gives preference to the idea of sharing sleep with the child and convinces his partner or partner that this is the best. In the end, there really is something romantic in it - a kind of return "to the roots." Yes, and night feedings are no longer a problem.
An enthusiastic couple decides not to buy a cot at all. But a few months pass — sometimes quite a lot — and the idyll ends. If mom and dad are very afraid to pin down the child, they may lose sleep themselves because of constant fears, and someone develops a painful sensitivity to the slightest sound made by the baby in a dream.
The baby can wake up often - every two hours - and demand attention. And if some kids need to be stroked or squeezed tight to themselves, so that they fall asleep again, then others think: it's time to play. If both parents were not 100% convinced of the correctness of the chosen method, in that of those who succumbed to the persuasion of the other, internal resistance begins to grow. It is then that this parent and grabs the "ferbersky" method.
The couple decides that it’s time for the baby to get her own sleeping place and buys a cot. From the point of view of the little one, this is a coup, the collapse of the familiar world: “Here are my mom and dad, for several months they put me to sleep with them, rocked, wobbled, spared no effort to make me happy, and suddenly - women! I was rejected, evicted to another room, where everything is alien and frightening! I do not compare myself with a prisoner and am not afraid of the dark, because my infant mind does not know such concepts, but the question torments me: “Where did everyone go? Where are my relatives warm bodies that have always been around? “And I cry - in another way I can not ask:“ Where are you? ”. And they finally appear. I was stroked, asked to be a good girl and sleep. But no one taught me how to fall asleep on my own. I'm still a baby! ”
In my opinion, radical methods are not suitable for all children. Obviously, they did not suit children whose parents turn to me for help. I myself prefer to stick to what I consider the golden mean from the very beginning. I call my method "a reasonable approach to sleep."
What is a reasonable approach to sleep?
This is the middle way, denying any extremes. You will notice that my approach takes something from both of the principles described, but not all, because, in my opinion, the idea of “let him cry and fall asleep” is not compatible with respectful attitude to the child, and joint sleep causes parents to sacrifice their interests. My principle takes into account the interests of the family as a whole, the needs of all its members.
On the one hand, the baby should be taught to fall asleep on its own - it should feel comfortable and safe in your own bed. On the other hand, he needs our presence to calm down after stress. It is impossible to start solving the first task until the second is solved. At the same time, parents also need good rest, in time that they can devote to themselves and to each other; their lives should not revolve around the baby round the clock, but they still have to give the kid some time, effort and attention.
These goals are not mutually exclusive. That is the basis of a reasonable approach to sleep.
Go where you want to come. If you are attracted to the idea of sharing sleep, study it comprehensively. So you would like to spend every night for three months? Six months? Longer? Remember: everything you do teaches your child. So, if you help him fall asleep, holding him at his chest or rocking him for 40 minutes, in fact you tell him: “So you have to fall asleep.” When deciding to go this way, you must be ready to follow it for a long time.
Independence does not mean ignoring. When I say to the mother or father of a newborn baby: “We have to help her become independent,” they look at me in amazement: “Independent? But, Tracy, she is only a few hours old! ” “When do you think you need to start?” I ask.
No one, even scientists, can answer this question, because we don’t know when exactly a baby begins to comprehend the world in the full sense of the word. “So start right now!” I urge. But to teach for independence does not mean to stop crying alone. It means to satisfy the needs of the baby, including taking her in her arms when she is crying - because with this she is trying to tell you something. But, as soon as her needs are met, she needs to be pulled from her.
Watch without interfering. Whenever a child falls asleep, he goes through a sequence of certain phases. Parents should be well aware of this sequence, so as not to violate it. We should not interfere in the natural processes of the child’s life, but observe them, giving the crumbs the opportunity to fall asleep on their own.
Do not form a child's dependence on "crutches". “Crutch” I call any object or any action, deprived of which the child is under stress. There is no hope that the baby will learn how to fall asleep himself, if you instill in him that Papa's hands, half-hour motion sickness or Mommy's nipple in her mouth is always at his service. If we endlessly carry a crumb in our arms, we lull and rock, in order for her to fall asleep, we actually form her dependence on the “crutch”, depriving her of the opportunity to develop complacency skills and learn how to fall asleep without help.
Work out the rituals of going to day and night sleep. Laying the child to sleep during the day and in the evening should always occur routinely. I do not get tired to emphasize: babies are incredible traditionalists. They prefer to know what will happen next. Studies have shown that even very young children, accustomed to expect certain incentives, are able to anticipate them.
Learn the features of sleeping your baby. All the “recipes,” how to put an infant to sleep, have a common flaw: there are no universal remedies. One thing suits one thing, another thing else. Yes, I offer parents a lot of general recommendations, but I always advise you to carefully look to your child, unique and inimitable.
The best thing is to keep a journal of monitoring the sleep of the baby. In the morning, write down when he woke up, and add notes about every day dream. Tick when he was laid in the evening and what time he woke up at night. Keep a journal for four days. This is enough to understand how your child’s dream “works”, even if it seems that there is no system in it.
For example, Marcie was convinced that her eight-month-old Dylan’s daytime sleep was completely unsystematic: “He never falls asleep at the same time, Tracy.” But after four days of observing the journal, she noticed: although the time changes a little, Dylan always briefly falls asleep between 9 and 10 am, sleeps another 40 minutes between 12:30 and 14:00, and by five in the evening it always turns out to be very capricious and irritated and turned off for about 20 minutes. This knowledge helped Marcy plan his day and, equally important, understand the behavior and mood of his baby. Given the natural biorhythms of Dylan, she streamlined his daily life, providing him the opportunity to fully relax. When he began to be capricious, she understood better what was the matter and if he did not want to sleep, and reacted more quickly.