My Baby Guided Sleep Philosophy
There’s a reason your baby isn’t sleeping well. Your baby does know how — there’s more to the picture.
Many parents experience the usual sleep challenges. But often there’s more:
- It’s difficult being the mom you want to be
- Feeling like you don’t know how to communicate with your child
- You don’t understand why your child is acting this way
- Guilt or feeling inadequate because you can’t get your baby to sleep or that something is wrong with you—or your baby
- Stress in relationship with your child
There’s nothing wrong with you or your baby.
The challenges your child is having? There’s a hidden gem in them.
Your baby is crying and won’t settle? S/he’s communicating!
The anxiety you’re feeling? Your child is a wise soul, and there’s a reason.
I have had a lot of anxiety around sleeping since my first child, and although some of our activities made me more acutely aware of this, it wasn’t the *activities* themselves that caused it.
Ultimately, I think it helped me reframe the sleep question from the idea of imposing/enforcing sleep on my child to being in dialog with him.
Babies are highly aware people with innate abilities to do many things …including sleep!
You know what irks me the most? Society’s tendency to not treat babies as people. Parents are bombarded with messages that babies:
* don’t know how to sleep * should be sleeping through the night
* can’t handle big feelings * can’t tell us what’s wrong * don’t remember their birth
I find that many parents feel anxiety and pressure about their babies’ sleep, but don’t resonate or have success with common solutions. Why is this? Because the very act of training overrides babies’ innate abilities and a process that’s very natural.
Babies do indeed know! They do remember. You may not know exactly what your child is telling you. But they need us to listen.
Why am I so intensely focused on drawing out their innate abilities? Because it matters! It affects how they experience life and many other things, including relationships, self-confidence, body health, and even ‘school-learning’ habits.
What does all this have to do with sleep?
Everything! When you’re stressed or have something on your mind, how well do you sleep? Do you hold patterns of tension in your body or your breathing? Do you ever feel like everything isn’t okay, whether you can identify why or not, or there’s something you just can’t put your finger on?
You see, sleep is about so much more than sleep itself.
Our emotional state, our sense of ‘okayness,’ how safe we feel in the world, our daily experiences, development—all these things affect sleep. Everything is related.
Sleep is a state. It’s a biological function, like breathing, peeing, and pooping. We might learn skills related to carrying out these tasks, but we don’t need to be taught how to do innate biological functions.
So, train sleep? Nope.
I have a distinct memory of learning conditional statements in geometry class.
“If p, then q.” It generally defines the statement to be true.
If an ability is innate, then we don’t need to teach it.
Sleep is innate.
Therefore, we don’t need to teach sleep.
Remember, sleep is about more than just sleep. This is why popular methods of teaching sleep can backfire sooner or later—the underlying need hasn’t been addressed.
It’s also why there’s so much conflicting advice. Most typical advice only confronts the surface-level symptoms and does not understand or address the underlying reasons.
The mysterious feeling you can’t quite put your finger on–that’s where we want to approach sleep from.
I hear you, I know quick-fixing the symptoms sounds very appealing—especially when you’re sleep deprived.
The Hare and the Tortoise, friends.
My approach will sound very different from other sleep methods. It comes from Aware Parenting (Aletha Solter, Ph.D).
My perspective and insight also come from the Body-Mind Centering® Approach and its application program, Infant Developmental Movement Education.
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