UNDERSTANDING SLEEP – THE BASICS
Before we get going on the nitty gritty, there are a few points I want to make about sleep that are important but, I think, commonly misunderstood.
Sleep is part of a cycle of events – waking, feeding, playing, sleeping – that all happen over the course of 48 hours. The whole cycle is linked.
Any problems that you are having with your baby’s sleep are unlikely to just be about ‘sleep’, but will more likely be something to do with the entire cycle. For example, if your baby didn’t feed properly earlier in the day and is still hungry, the chance of them sleeping through the night is tiny. If you came to my studio with any sleep problem, I would immediately ask what your baby did over the previous two days to help me identify where the problems in your routine are. Most parents tend to focus on sleep alone and this doesn’t always help as it is rarely an isolated incident.
The other point that I want to stress is that big babies usually sleep longer in the early months than small ones. Imagine you have a 10lb baby – they can sustain themselves longer because their fat stores are already high, whereas a 6lb baby doesn’t have the same reserves of fat and needs to use every single bit of that meal efficiently. A small baby will burn through a feed quickly and will therefore need feeding again sooner than a bigger baby. So your 48 hour sleep cycle will vary depending on the size of your newborn.
Even though all babies are different – different shapes, different sizes and with different needs the basics of a routine are similar for all of them. I’ll go into more detail in the other sections on this page so keep reading!