Why Prepping While Pregnant Makes ALL the Difference
I am always fascinated that we go to labor and delivery and breastfeeding classes, but not infant sleep classes while pregnant. I guess I'm on my one woman mission to change that. It's what baby and parents deserve.
Here's the truth-no matter what you do, no matter what, all you can do, is your best at the moment. If there are things that you can do to prepare, then you do them, no?
Every parent wants what is best for their child. Most of us are committed to them in a way that we are committed to nothing else in our life. We do the best that we can. And, if you don't look back in 20 years and see some things that you maybe wish that you'd done a little differently? Then I'd question whether you had parented.
You will do this parenting thing brilliantly. Truly. You will.
Here is the thing about babies, they are 24/7 work like you cannot imagine. Don't even try to imagine, because if you don't have kids you can't and it's best just to accept that as fact. (If you have kids, can I get an 'Amen!"?)
Newborns are little survival machines and they are developing so fast that if you really thought about it, it wold make your head spin. Think about a newborn, a teeny tiny human who can't even hold their own (proportionally very large) head up, can't control their arms or legs and needs constant attention. Fast forward 6 months, they're holding their head up and not only can they control their limbs, they can put things in their mouths and roll across a room, and still require attention, but are very different. And all in 6 months!
Generally speaking we adults do not change all that much in 6 months, eh? The thing is this-often times we parents are so thrilled that we have mastered something like how to soothe our baby that we miss the fact that they are on to the next developmental stage!
When it comes to sleep this can lead to what I will refer to, in the most gentle way possible, as parenting delays. And it is completely and totally understandable! In the newborn stage our job is to help baby sleep because it is crucial to their brain development. They need sleep, although they don't always know how to actually get themselves to sleep so helping them get to sleep truly is our job as parents. And it's an important one. Understanding how to help baby get sleep as a newborn is vital.
Babies also need to eat, because that too is crucial to brain development. And because they are little survival machines they will wake up to eat. In the newborn weeks 0-14 weeks (give or take), no one in the house gets much consolidated sleep-by which I mean consecutive hours of sleep. Newborns sleep 16 hours a day, but often in two hour stints.
By the time baby is developmentally able to get themselves to sleep we are in our routine of helping them get to sleep. By the time four or six months rolls around parents stick with the routines that worked with a newborn. Makes sense. For an adult. And those routines still work, so, if that's good with mom and dad, then that's fine. Turns out that by 6 months most parents are also more than ready to get a decent night's sleep. Parents are ready, but they've missed the opportunity to help baby get themselves to sleep. Baby is still in the same routine that they have been inadvertently taught, which depends upon a parent or guardian helping them go to sleep.
So, why learn about sleep before baby is born? Because the whole family deserves to sleep as well as is possible from the very beginning. Because gaining an understanding of what you want and what is possible in terms of infant sleep can help you set and achieve goals for you and baby..