As a parent you know how
a baby can be after a good rest - and how
cranky and fussy when tired. And how an overtired baby won't sleep easily, won't fall asleep well nor stay asleep for longer stretches.
And if your baby is well rested, you benefit too: you get more rest, which
makes you feel better
and keeps you healthy. And that in turn has an important positive
effect on your child(ren).
But there are even
Hard work is done in a newborn's brain, and
requires enough and good quality sleep.
When sleeping, a
most of the time. Researchers found that dreaming stimulates baby's
and so assists in its healthy development.
first half year is crucial
for developing good sleeping skills. It's
in these early months that
mature most quickly and
theÂ stage is set for the years to come.
sleep in infancy has been linked to obesity, as a child
and as an adult.
Good sleep as a child also
the chance for general
health problems and emotional difficulties
depression and anxiety.
An overtired baby won't sleep well. A baby who is
mostly well-rested and just readily tired
by bedtime, will settle much
easier and have better
nights as well.
If your baby is not sleeping well ...
Does that mean your child is doomed to be unhealthy and unhappy? No, of
course not. What we as parents call
sleeping well" is often just fine for an infant
She may not be taking any naps at all or may not be sleeping through
the night at 6 or at 18 months. But that can still be just fine
for her and give her enough good quality rest.
What is important is that we give her
go through that all important development in the
first half year.
guiding in a
loving and determined way
Loving means with enough
attention for her needs and natural
without forcing her unnaturally
(like overfeeding or certain medical sleep aids).
means you don't necessarily give her all the freedom: you choose where
and how she sleeps, when you put her to bed, when is play time and when
is quiet time.
That gives your baby the
and consistent environment
to develop her sleeping at best.
Besides being tired and sleepy, the first
is nearly always emotional: we feel
on energy and without much confidence in what we do.
It's good to realize this and to think about it when you feel depressed
after many broken nights with your baby. It's
the lack of sufficient rest
doing this -
not being strong enough or not trying hard enough.
by catching up on rest as much as you can. A quick nap, an early night
or even an hour or so between the last day and first night feed can
work wonders. You may find a couple of simple
do not hesitate to ask your partner, family or friends to help you from
time to time, for example with babysitting while you nap. If you would
like support you can also
contact me, I'm here to help.
The answer to the
Is Sleep Important?
question is in all of the above.
The best tip I can give is to keep the importance in
the back of your mind, but do not over-emphasize. Simple as it may seem, keeping
a relaxed attitude
will help both you and your little one get more rest.
Heidi Holvoet, PhD, is the founder of the Baby Sleep Advice website and movement, an award-winning author, baby & toddler sleep consultant with 15+ years experience as well as a certified lactation counselor.
Over the years, Heidi has received several awards inluding a Mom's Choice Award (MCA) and National Parenting Awards (NAPPA) for her Baby Sleep Advice website, programs and books. Also, Baby Sleep Advice was awarded "Most Trusted Infant's Sleep Solutions Company 2023" in the Benelux Enterprise Awards 2023.
Heidi continually conducts personal research and participates in continued education and in that way stays up to date with current scientific and pyschosocial infant care.
She is also a member of the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants of which she was one of the earliest contributors. She obtained her PhD degree in physics at the University of Ghent in Belgium.
Heidi is passionate about helping babies and their parents sleep more and better, with her trademark approach that has been proven and praised time and again by parents worldwide to be effective and truly no-tears. Respect for you as a parent and your baby, is at the heart of Heidi's warm and kind support. Her approach always keeps in mind a baby's needs and abilities at any given age, is based on pediatric science and the most up to date knowledge in infant care and sleep science.