Newborns Don't 'Sleep Through the Night' -- Get Over It
by Michele Zipp
There is a "new" convenient sleep training method that parents with too many sleepies in their eyes have somehow bought into. Dubbed the "Jassey Way" after the pediatricians who wrote the book on it, this method boasts that parents can get started on this before baby's one month birthday. The idea: don't feed baby during the night and eventually they will learn that they are not getting fed and so they will sleep and parents can sleep.
I love to sleep. I would go to sleep right now if I could. But when you have a newborn, sleep (as you once knew it) just isn't part of the routine. And that's because babies need food every two or three hours in those early months to grow. All this nonsense about ways to help newborns sleep through the night really should be about parents who will try anything to be able to sleep through the night themselves without their pesky baby waking up.
This method really does say to skip the night feedings as early as three weeks old by just feeding the newborn at four-hour intervals during the day, making sure to add it up to feed the little one more at those times so she won't need more breastmilk or formula later on. According to the Jassey brothers, this adjusts the baby's hunger receptors so they won't become hungry at an inconvenient time.
Convenience. How to make your baby convenient. This is hilarious. Hilariously wrong. Kids just aren't convenient. They change everything. Our lives enter a new form of convenient once we become a parent -- and it's the kind of convenient that has to take off work when they are sick; the kind that has to clean poop out of butts. But it's also the most convenient love you'll know. Babies reach the sleeping through the night milestone at their own pace -- a time or age for one baby isn't necessarily going to be the same for another baby. So we have to stay in tune with our babies needs. At at three weeks old, our babies need us a lot. At three weeks old, most babies are going to need to eat every two or three hours. Babies need nourishment to thrive. To live. To grow. Three weeks old!
I don't believe in sleep training. I think crying it out is dangerous. I'm of the school of thought that if a baby wakes in the night, it's because baby needs something. Babies can't talk or walk yet so they communicate by crying. They need something. Maybe it's a diaper change, maybe gas, maybe she's cold or hot, or maybe she's hungry. It's our job as a parent to figure it out and help baby with a diaper change, a burping, an adjustment of the temperature, or to feed her. Because she can't do it herself because she's a baby. The nerve of the baby, right?! How dare she be hungry or have to pee at 2 a.m.! How inconvenient!
Welcome to parenthood. Consider those first few weeks, months, some sort of hazing that gets us semi prepared for the teen years when we wish they were sweet little babies. It may be hell. You will be tired. It will be all worth it. And it will pass. I promise. Hang in there. Don't sleep train -- it's all a lie and will come back to haunt you tenfold once those teenage years start. (Okay, that last bit isn't true. Well, it might be, but I have no way to prove it.)
What I'm saying is that we have to roll with it -- the sleepless nights, the night wakings. It's not going to be easy. But like with many things in parenting, the issues you may go through take you to the brink of lunacy and then BOOM! It's as if the issue gets magically cured. Just when you think you can no longer take another night waking, your baby will get to the natural time when it's natural for her to naturally sleep through the night. Just when you can't take changing another diaper or washing the peed on sheets every single day, your kid will become potty trained. Just when you think you cannot take another day of feeding your ridiculously picky eater, your kid will be signing a lease on her own apartment and you will get all teary eyed and wish you could swaddle her one last time.
Patience. That's something all parents should be trained in.
Would you try this method? What do you think of sleep training?
Image via David J Laporte/Flickr