things to ask yourself before following advice
I found this helpful, wanted to share :)
1. Is it safe? Obviously, your child’s safety is the number-one prerequisite for making any choices about sleeping practices. From choosing a sleeping environment to implementing a bed time routine, you will always need to assess whether this is safe for your baby at every level: here’s an example for you – although you are certain to hear various advice about leaving your baby to cry for a prescribed length of time, nobody has actually researched how long this is safe, if at all. That’s probably why advice varies so much – from six minutes to ten minutes to an hour or whatever! Babies – especially small babies – can become over heated when left to cry and this can lead to febrile convulsions or there is a risk that they may choke on saliva or mucous.
Even if these potentially life threatening risks don’t eventuate, there are potential risks to infant mental health through leaving your baby to cry. This is partly due to elevated levels of stress hormones on a developing infant brain and the possibility that the only ‘learning’ your baby will be doing through this kind of ‘teaching’ is that there is no point crying for help because nobody is coming: this is learned helplessness.
Crying is your baby’s language and a communication that he needs something or someone to help him feel safe and secure
Your BABY”S sense of safety is important too – he is biologically programmed to feel safe when he is in proximity of his carers. This is a deep and legitimate need and when we consider a stone-age baby it is easier to grasp how important being close to a carer is to your baby: if a stone age baby was left alone in a cave to sleep, he would be at risk from predators – lions, eagles, crocodiles perhaps. This is why babies are programmed to cry out when they are left alone. They are saying – where are you? And they are desperately stressed because being alone could be life threatening – at least from a baby’s perspective.
Even though our ‘stone age’ baby is safe from predators in this space age world, HE doesn’t know he is in a safety standards approved cot, in a warm room inside a safe house with a monitor on the wall so his carers can hear every tiny whimper. To a baby, feeling safe is knowing somebody is nearby and he will do this through his senses of smell, touch, sight and hearing. And, if he needs help to settle or he feels ‘unsafe’ he will let you know through his cries.
2. Are we being respectful? We do many things to small children and babies without even considering how intrusive or disrespectful it might feel to them. For instance, can you imagine being woken from a sound sleep and having food stuck into your mouth, regardless of whether you are hungry or not, just because somebody else decided it was convenient for them to feed you right now? Or having your legs whipped up in the air and your pants pulled down without even a please or thankyou? And yet this is often how we approach every day tasks such as changing a baby’s nappy – talk to your baby about what you are planning to do whether this is dressing, bathing, or implementing a bed time routine and please remember, you are the grown up here –your baby is a small vulnerable person whose most important task in the first year is learning to trust. This is a prerequisite for future relationships and he needs love and respect to develop this trust in you.
3. Does it feel right ?
If anything you are advised to do with your baby doesn’t FEEL right to you, step back and listen to your inner voice. Notice how you feel – you may feel tight in the stomach or a bit goosebumpy – or the feeling may just be a kind of ‘knowing’ that this isn’t right for your baby right now.
Another thing to consider if you are still a bit confused or if you have energy to go a bit deeper is WHAT ARE WE TEACHING?
It may be difficult when you are utterly exhausted, but try to think about the bigger picture and consider what messages you want to send to your child. Will you be teaching your child that sleep is a lovely, nurturing space where he is safe to go, and that he can trust you to soothe his fears and mend his hurts whatever the time of day or night? If you can do this, you will not only be investing in sound sleep, but you will be creating a precious bond with your child that will outlast these early sleepless nights.
So, is it safe? Is it respectful ? And, Does it feel right? If you can answer these three questions and you would like to try something new with your baby, go ahead and see how your baby responds. If you and your child are happy and it is working for you without creating stress for your baby or you, then it’s probably just right for you both.
I LOVE MY KIDDOS!
Keegan my 2003 baby & Khloe my 2010 baby!