Have you ever experienced sleep-deprivation? Many of our military have... It's a form of mental and physical training and often used as a torture practice to wear an enemy combatant down, make them submissive and controllable.
If you've ever had a new baby in the house, you'll know what sleep deprivation is like. When you're really desperate, you may have even considered the counter-intuitive, old practice of making your baby "cry-it-out". We now know that making a baby "cry-it-out" has a strong, negative effect on infant brain development. Parents who cringe at the idea of rejecting their baby's only mode of communication when it comes to sleeping, were right all along. There ARE better ways!!
Being sleep deprived has a negative effect on parents both physically and emotionally, that is certain. However, the experience can also be beneficial to YOUR development as parents. During those foggy brained nights and days, we are still able to meet our baby's needs. We are quick to answer their calls, and we find a deeper patience and resilience within ourselves that we didn't know we had before.
Sometimes our sleep deprivation is caused by a baby who isn't sleeping much more than a few hours at a time (which is physiologically normal and good in the first few months), or it can be caused by our own anxieties or something else. At times, parents get so sleep deprived that they cannot even sleep when they want to. How frustrating!
The trouble with the negative effects from sleep deprivation is that we often times don't know Want to add a caption to this image? Click the Settings icon. how to cope with the challenge of this transition into parenthood. In America, we turn to medications to help us "fix" the depressed state that comes along with lack of sleep. This in turn can lead to a dependence on mood-altering drugs and usually, an end to the breastfeeding relationship - which is not beneficial for Mom or Baby.
With insight into what babies need to sleep well (and longer) at night, you can troubleshoot and help yourself and your own baby to sleep more at night. Eventually, the deeper phase of sleep will last longer and longer, until baby and parents are sleeping through the night safely and soundly.
On this month's continuing education webinar, I will be featured, as a local Infant Sleep Consultant, and will teach parents about newborn physiology in regard to sleep and provide a short quiz to identify their own baby's obstacles to sleep and help them to get more rest!
Feel free to join us, learn these techniques to help your postpartum families and become a more well-rounded and successful doula!