Monday, March 26, 2012

What I wish I had known before about baby sleep

A lot of useful things have been written on the internet about baby sleep, for example here at ScienceOfMom. Like I said before I never realized that a baby would come with so much sleep deprivation (I know, I hadn’t really thought it through). Here are a couple of things I wish I had known before:

Compared to other primates, human babies are born more premature because otherwise their big brains wouldn’t fit our pelvises that have adapted to walk upright. Because of that, they will need to feed often, since their little stomachs cannot hold that much milk at once. Also, human milk is rich in carbohydrates relative to protein and fat compared to milk of other species, because babies’ developing brains need those carbohydrates. However, this makes the milk quicker to digest, creating the need to nurse more often. So, it is very common for breastfed babies to not be sleeping through the night for quite some time. And sleeping through the night is in itself a pretty deceptive term, since it technically means sleeping for a five hour stretch. In my vocabulary that is by far not the entire night.

One of the wisest things I read in the past few months is that sleeping through the night can be seen as a milestone just like walking or crawling. Reading this made me realizing that all we had to do was wait for it to happen, since we did not feel like having BlueEyes cry it out (whatever ‘it’ may be). We’re still waiting by the way.

Another thing that made my life a lot easier the past couple months is co-sleeping. In the hospital they scare the shit out of you and tell you that a baby should always sleep in his own crib (we had to watch a video with people talking about their babies that died from SIDS…), so I spent a lot of time trying to put a sleeping baby in his crib, only for him to wake up the second he touched his mattress. It took me a while to find out that it’s way easier to have BlueEyes sleep in bed with us (which by the way is not that dangerous at all). He now usually starts the night in his own crib, and whenever he wakes up I’ll put him in bed next to me, and nurse him back to sleep. And I have usually already fallen asleep before he is done nursing.

1 comment:

  1. If you go to pubmed, there's controlled studies showing that formula fed babies are just as likely to wake at night as breastfed. Even though formula is not digested as easily, its also normal for FF babies to wake hungry at night.