Any parent to a newborn can tell you that there are many sleepless nights at the beginning while the baby learns to sleep through the night. There are many strategies for putting a newborn to sleep, however a CNN article recently said that more hands-off tactics are often best for both the baby and the parent.
One strategy that many pediatricians DO NOT reccomend using is “extinction”, which is when you let the baby cry themselves to sleep. According to the article this strategy can often be very stressful on both the parent and child.
Two strategies that ARE reccomended by pediatricians, according to the article, are “controlled comforting” where parents “gradually reduce the amount of time they stay in the room with a crying baby,” and “camping out” which is when a parent stays in the room with the baby for long periods of time, but does pick the baby up.
According to the article, a baby will slowly get used to being left alone at night when the “controlled comfort” method is used. The best way to put this strategy into practice is to stay in the room while the child is partially awake and then leave the room for a predetermined amount of time and then return the room. Each time you leave the room, increase the interval until your newborn does not need you in the room anymore.
The “camping out” strategy is simillar to the “controlled comfort” strategy in that it works to decrease the “parent’s physical presence” during “sleep time” At the beginning of the “camping out strategy” the parent should stay in a chair or cot near the crib until the baby has fallen asleep. Eventually as the child becomes more comfortable falling asleep the cot or chair should be moved further and further from the crib until eventually the parent is out of the room completely.
Dr. Dennis Rosen, who is a pediatric sleep disorder specialist in Boston, said in the article that children will eventually get the sleep they need, but these strategies are created to make sure the parent is able to get enough sleep to function properly.
“Children, and especially infants and toddlers, will get all the sleep they need, whether by falling asleep in a high chair while eating corn flakes or napping in the car. The question is how it affects the parents,” Rosen said in the article.
Dr. Patricia Ritch, a pediatric neurologist who was interviewed in the CNN article, agreed that sleepless nights can have an effect on parents as well as babies.
“If the infant or child doesn’t sleep, the parent doesn’t sleep, and this can have an impact on the parent’s mental well-being, as well as productivity in the workplace,” Ritch said in the article.
If you would like more information on newborn sleeping strategies Adoption STAR recommends you speak with your child’s pediatrician. You may also contact your Adoption STAR Family Advocate by phone at (716)639-3900 or email.
To read the full CNN article, please click here.