Rock-a-Bye Baby: The Science of Sleep With Or Without a Baby

Good morning, darlings!

I hope you’re all rested and ready to rock your day. It’s hump day, so there is hope!

As a mom of a little baby I often get asked a question, “Do you get any sleep at all?!” Usually, this question is accompanied with a somber or concerned expression. Luckily, I’m one of those moms who is not sleep deprived and normally get at least 8 hours of sleep because Sofia started sleeping through the night when she was only 5 weeks old.

IMG_5209 edit

Sofia on the day she was born

My mom keeps on telling me,”I can’t believe how lucky you are! Unfortunately, I don’t think you can be THIS lucky twice in a row…” My response to that? “I’ll take advantage of this while I can and will deal with whatever comes my way when the baby number two arrives.” *No, I’m not pregnant. Haha!*

crib

One of Sofia’s first mornings waking up in her room

Once again, I am not by any means a baby sleep expert. That being said, I’d like to explore this topic and share some tricks that helped me in my quest. *I may be lucky, but hopefully I’ve been doing something right as well!*

When Sofia was born, I came across a book written by Pamela Druckerman called Bringing Up Bébé. She is an American journalist who relocated to Paris and became fascinated by the way French were raising their kids. Her theory is: “If you believe that little babies can learn things, then you can teach them things. And one of the things you can teach them, early on, is how to sleep.”

IMG_7459 edit.jpg

Sleeping in a booster seat (almost 4 months old)

What’s important to understand is that we all sleep in cycles. As adults, we don’t even realize that we wake up in the middle of the night. However, babies need to learn not only to sleep for longer stretches of time but also how to connect these cycles. Thus, it is very important not to pick your baby up the very moment he or she starts making noises at night. Babies are noisy sleepers, and if you pick them up in between these cycles, they’ll wake up instead of falling back asleep. Obviously, don’t let your baby cry it out, just give yourself a few minutes to figure out if it’s simply the ‘in-between’ stage or the baby actually needs something from you.

after vaccines

Sleeping after vaccines

It is equally important to establish a daily routine to get the baby in the mood to sleep. Justin and I do the following for Sofia:

  • Always get ready to go to sleep at the same time,
  • Give her a bath, followed by a quick massage,
  • Nurse her to sleep. *Before and even sometimes now, if this doesn’t work, I simply walk around with her to get her to fall asleep. At first, it took me much longer, but now Sofia is settled in her routine and it’s pretty quick.*

Surprisingly, I started to sleep better with Sofia’s arrival, too! I definitely think that her routine became mine. Additionally, there’s nothing more relaxing and calming than nursing your baby!

I also have to give credit to my awesome neighbour who let me try out her daughter’s swaddler. Even though Sofia protested it at first, it definitely helped her sleep better. The first time around she started sleeping in 3 to 4 hour stretches, within about a week she started sleeping through the night.

swaddler.jpg

3 weeks old

By the way, did you know that not only newborns have difficulty sleeping? According to an exclusive Women’s Health survey, “nearly 80% of women have problems sleeping at least a few times a month, and 23% have issues almost every night.” 

I already shared this infographic here, but have a look at it again. There are so many dangers when you don’t sleep enough!

The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation

Not only is it more enjoyable to have a good night sleep, who actually wants to have to deal with any of the above problems?! No one has time for that!

I recently read an interesting article by Malia Jacobson Improve Your Sleep Posture. Apparently, sleeping in the wrong position can cause all kinds of problems, including ‘muscle cramping, impair circulation, and leave you hurting come the a.m.’ Here are some of her recommendations if you have:

  • Heartburn: ‘Lie on your left side with you arms resting comfortably in front of you. Bend your knees and curl your legs slightly toward your body in a semi-fetal position. If you have really bad heartburn, roll onto your back and use a few pillows to prop pup your chest and head.’
  • Back Pain: ‘Lie on your side and put a slight bend in your knees… Place a firm pillow in between them so that your legs are propped about hip-width apart.’
  • Sinus Pain: ‘Lie on your with an extra pillow under your head and let the gravity help with drainage. Your arms will need an extra support, so hug a pillow.’
  • Shoulder Pain: ‘Lie on your pain-free side with your legs slightly bent. Extend your bottom arm straight out in front of you, then bring it in, using both arms to hug a pillow to your chest.’
  • PMS: ‘Lie on your back and place a pillow under your knees.’
  • Sore Hips: ‘Lie on your back. If it feels good, prop a pillow under your knees for added support.’
  • An Achy Jaw: ‘Lie on your back, face-up with lips closed but teeth open. Try to keep your arms straight at your side.’
  • Stiff Neck: ‘Lie on your back with your neck in neutral position.’

Here are some additional tips provided to me by Casper, the sleep and mattress experts, on how to sleep better.

SleepComfortMonth

How about you? Do you sleep well? What works for you and your baby?

sleeping on my lap Nov. 14, 2015

Sleeping on my lap

xoxo
Olena

 

 

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1 Comment

Filed under Family, Fitness, Health

One response to “Rock-a-Bye Baby: The Science of Sleep With Or Without a Baby

  1. Goodness those pictures were cute! It’s great to hear that she’s sleeping so well! No two babies are ever the same so, yeah, live it up now and go with the flow. Who knows? Maybe the hypothetical 2nd baby will sleep well too and be a pain in the tushy in other ways. Each kid is a mystery as my child is constantly reminding me with his odd ways.

    I am a terrifically bad sleeper. I used to sleep like the dead but the older I get, the worse it gets. My mom’s the same way. It can take up to 30-45 minutes sometimes to initially fall asleep and then I’ll wake up at least 2 or 3 times during the night. And once a month when my period is about to hit, I get insomnia. My doctor recommended Benadryl because I have allergies anyway and it shouldn’t have any negative side-effects. It works really well so I can get to sleep within 10 minutes max (usually within 5) and then I might wake up only 1-2 times. Although those insomnia nights, it still takes till maybe 1am to fall asleep. I’m tired when my alarm first goes off but it’s habit now to immediately get up and start staggering around and then do some pilates to cement the waking up deal. Even without pilates, I got into the habit of waking up quickly years and years ago. I honestly don’t understand why people hit their snooze button when they need to get up for work or whatever. You’ve set the alarm for a reason, now get out of bed! the sooner you move your butt, the sooner you’ll wake up and the easier it’ll be.

    It used to be that I’d put my son to bed at one time and I’d go to bed 1-2 hours later. I try to stay away from the bedroom till I’m tired enough to sleep so that I don’t associate the bed with anything but sleeping. That doesn’t happen anymore though – when we put our son to sleep, I or both of us go to sleep as well. I almost miss the energy I used to have to stay up late. ^_^ lol Almost but not really because my son curls up against me at night (limited space so same bed) so it’s snuggle time and I like snuggle time. Unless he’s practically sleeping ON me which sucks and then I have to push him away to get some room. ^_^ hehehe

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