Many new parents suffer from sleep deprivation after the birth of their child.
Most of them would turn to sleep books and information on the Internet and would usually find two very distinct approaches to sleep.
The mainstream parenting would see sleep as something that parents should “train” their baby to do by the techniques of controlled crying or cry-it-out. This usually requires the baby to be left alone at a certain period of time, hence this approach is perceived that parents need to sacrifice attachment.
On the other hand, the Classical Attachment Parenting values secure attachment and bonding – but their baby’s frequent night waking is perceived to be a natural or normal physiological response and breastfeeding mothers are expected to put up with broken sleep by meeting their baby’s need to feed through the night for months and even years.
I respect the parenting approaches that we all choose for ourselves and for our babies. We all have our own reasons to choose how we parent based on our own values, core beliefs and experience.
What I offer is another approach that will resonate with some parents. I aim to help parents to provide all the secure attachment they want for their baby while still getting enough sleep. You can have the best of both worlds![hr]
How Is My Approach Different?
To fully understand how it is different is to go back to the Aware Parenting theory.
In this model, we learn that babies have feelings and emotional memory starting from being in the womb and these feelings that surface from birth need to be heard.
Even if we as parents have tried to minimize stress for our babies by gentle birth, co-sleeping, breastfeeding on demand, babywearing and promptly responding to their immediate needs, our babies still experience painful and uncomfortable feelings.
If a baby has gone through a difficult time in utero, birth trauma or separation after birth, she will have even more bigger feelings to express. Usually these feelings are expressed through crying.
This is why crying in Aware Parenting approach is used as a function to heal from stress, painful and uncomfortable feelings. Crying in the loving arms of his parents promote his feelings to release and for baby to heal emotionally.
In controlled crying, a baby is left to cry alone for certain period of time. When the baby cries alone, he is left to feel fear and anxiety and ends up in a state of high level of stress for the baby to deal with.
Through this method, a baby will use a new way to self-soothe by either clutching on a blanket/stuffed toy, sucking on a thumb or pacifier to repress his feelings because no one is there with him to support the feelings that he needs to work on healing.
In Classical Attachment Parenting approach, parents usually stop their baby’s crying by distracting them with comfort nursing, jiggling, shushing, rocking and baby wearing them. While this meets their baby’s immediate need for physical closeness, it does not give the space for their baby to express his true feelings that are bubbling inside.
By 6 months of age, a baby usually has formed a strong control pattern to repress his feelings.
He would demand for a feed or comfort latching when he feels upset, or to be entertained when his painful and uncomfortable feelings start coming up.
This makes it confusing for breastfeeding mothers to really tell whether her baby is truly hungry or has a need to release.
So instead of just looking at one specific issue with sleep problem, I would look at what the sleep behavior is telling you.
I would also help you address related areas to sleep such as appropriate feed-play-sleep schedule, awake window, bedtime routine, nutrition, sleep cues and sleep environment.[hr]
I set logical expectations for parents in regards to crying and educating you in understanding why babies cry.
I also work a lot on listening and coaching you during the process, mainly around the issues with crying because a crying baby triggers feelings and memories in us.
My approach is primarily to acknowledge, empathize and reassure you during the process.
Being a parent to two young daughters, and a former sleep deprived mom myself, I know how daunting it feels like to change your child’s sleep habits.
When I work with you, we always determine clear GOALS and NEEDS and guide you step-by-step with the strategy we agree on.
If this approach resonates with you, I invite you to schedule an introductory chat before coming on board with my program.[hr]