Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sleeping through the Night - take 2

I know I've posted about this subject before... but after witnessing a brand-new mama receive some advice regarding a certain book, with the push to already make her baby to sleep through the night... I felt it was a subject worth bringing back, once again...

Honestly, I think it's really sad that "sleeping through the night" has become a such a huge  push in our society! Begrudgingly. we have our formula feeding society to thank for such a trend.  Moms who have no problems herself with nursing the baby at night, are suddenly finding themselves very concerned with this "problem," since American society seems to consider it one. There is advice all over, just overflowing with advice on solving so-called "sleep problems."  Books in the  the bookstores, magazie articles, websites on the internet, and  even the imput from "well meaning" friends & family...  Why?  Because, everyone knows that babies are "supposed to".   But practically speaking... they are NOT!! And to expect a baby (esp one that is brand new) to do so, is hardly a rational ... let alone a good or healthy expectation... esp for those who are breastfed!!   Did you know that breast milk digests in less than 2 hours, and can be digested in as little as 20min?!  Yeah, most people don't!  So, even though your  baby won't [always] need to eat that often (though when they are having a growth spurt, they just might)..  Just considering this fact alone...  makes to expectation behind wanting a baby to sleep through the night, clearly very unreasonable!  It is also important to understand that the medical definition of "sleeping through the night" is not what many new parents think. It is defined simply by the ability to sleep for a five-hour stretch, even if that stretch begins at 7 pm and ends at midnight. 

From LLLI....
In the early weeks, remember that your baby may not get enough nourishment if he sleeps through the night. Breastfed babies need to breastfeed at least eight to twelve times every 24 hours, usually every two to three hours. Most babies will gradually sleep for longer stretches at night, but they will continue to need night feedings for months. You may find this article about biocultural approaches to breastfeeding reassuring that this is normal. This overview of the research by sleep researcher, James McKenna is also reassuring

From KellyMom....
Many doctors tend to look at night nursing only from a nutritional standpoint, but this is only part of the story. After the first few months, your baby will begin to associate the breast with far more than just a way to satisfy hunger and thirst. It becomes a place of comfort, security, warmth, closeness, and familiarity. The act of nursing is not just nourishing; it is nurturing. Keep in mind that these needs are every bit as real as baby's physical ones, and having them met is every bit as needful to baby's overall development.
If the amount that your child sleeps and nurses at night isn't a major problem for you, then there's no reason to try to change anything. You are NOT doing a bad thing by nursing on cue; you are doing a wonderful thing for your baby. When you comfort baby at night, you are not teaching her a bad habit: you are teaching her that you are there for her when she needs you -- Is security a bad habit?

I know how extremely exhausting it can be.. but rest assured, that  baby will learn... and before you know it, you will be looking back at these days in amazement, realizing just how so very short this special time really is, in the big picture of life!!!   So, instead of focusing on the lack of sleep... try to focus on this cherished time you have together... trust me, you won't regret it!!  ~~ Also, I know you've heard it before... but this is one piece of advice that is SO important....  Sleep when the baby sleeps!!  I know it's so hard not to use that time to catch up things... but for your own good, resist the temptation!  And don't be afraid to ask your friends and relatives to help... every bit of help makes a world of a difference!  Whether by bringing meals, running errands, or doing some chores and/or housecleaning...  this is one of the few times in your life, people want to help you with those things!

 This NEW BEGINNINGS article suggests ways of coping with the lack of sleep.

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