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In general, sleep is one of the main topics that families emphasize in the development process of their babies. Psychologist and Sleep Counselor Melis Keşan answers all your questions about how to put your baby to sleep.
Newborn period many mother is the most difficult period for. New identity, new order, new habits… This period is a complicated period for babies as well as for mothers. They have abandoned their mother's womb, which has been wrapping themselves for 9 months, and are trying to adapt to their new world where they try to perceive what happened. - First, know that your baby has very strong emotions and is extremely conscious. As science progresses, we are amazed at the mental and emotional skills of babies.
They can't express it just because motor skills aren't enough. Therefore, all kinds of communication with them (skin contact, talking, looking at the eye, touching…) should be the basis of the relationship. - Sucking during this period is the most important physical and emotional need. Babies want breasts not only because they are hungry, but also for intimacy and emotional satisfaction with the mother. Breastfeeding should be according to the demand of the baby, not according to hours. Breastfeeding is very good for both the baby and the mother emotionally, connects them to each other, helps to regulate sleep through the level of melatonin in the content and means a quiet time alone. In addition, the newborn baby has the best visible distance of 20-25 cm, ie approximately the distance from the mother's face when sucking. This enables the baby's eye contact with the mother and calms the baby.
Breastfeeding mothers should avoid caffeine-containing beverages and foods such as coffee, cola, chocolate and tea. Caffeine passes quickly into milk and prevents the baby from sleeping. It is also important to remove gas after each suction. Because during this period, the baby's digestive system is not fully developed and needs it. - The mother's uterus keeps the baby calm as a reflex. Texture, sound, baby's posture… All of them provide the most peaceful state of the baby as a whole. The baby coming out of the womb becomes calmer and easier to sleep in situations close to this uterus. Abdominal slightly drooping reverse position grip, feet free arms tight forend, white noise, slight shaking and suction are the most important.
- Although the baby is crying despite all these practices, it is best to remember that crying is a communication and to keep calm and keep the baby calm in the chest of the mother or father, or someone he knows, and respond by crying with sound / skin contact. Babies cry to communicate at any age.
They have a physical or emotional need. This emotional need can range from not being able to make sense of the complexity of that day to difficult emotional or intensive care days to emotional pain. As in any age, it is necessary to know that these cries are a speech in the language of babies and a problem. Evolutionary crying of the baby makes the mother very uncomfortable especially during the postpartum days for the survival of the baby. However, having this knowledge will increase patience and compassion.
- I do not recommend the use of a pacifier in this period or in any period. No object can replace the mother's breast or touch. In addition, the silence of healthy crying in the safe environment (for the reasons I explained above) with a pacifier is not to listen to the child who wants to explain his or her problem. In addition, to increase breast milk especially in the first days of the baby must absorb plenty of.
- In the newborn period, infants do not indulge or acquire “bad habits, gibi as is commonly said in the community language! Plenty of attention, closeness, love, hug is what they need most. Even the scent of the mother calms the baby. In this period, the foundations of the sense of trust in life are laid in this way. Scientifically, it has been proved that babies who are held more arms in the first 3 months are more independent individuals in the future.
- The bed used during this period should be partially small to make the baby feel safe. In fact, the baby wrapped around with a rolled blanket and sleeping with his mother's clothes so that he would not close his nose could feel even better. It is better for the baby's bed to be in the mother's room, both for the mother to feel the presence of the child during sleep, and for the mother to be with her baby in every need. Especially night's sleep should be in the dark.
They make the evolutionary distinction day and night themselves, and the scientific interventions that can be done to support this issue are actually quite limited, the baby already perceives it.
- When your baby wakes up hungry at night, it is unnecessary to set up a clock and wake up and feed the babies. If you only sleep more than 5-6 hours you need to watch closely and communicate with your doctor. Each time the baby wakes up, it can be nursed (without turning on the light). Just wait for a moment before picking up your baby when you hear your baby's voice and make sure it wakes up. Babies can often giggle and fall back to sleep at night.
It is best to use diaper rash cream when going to sleep at night, and not to open it unless it is pooping and no urine spills out of its diaper.
Babies' sleeping environment should give them confidence at all ages and conditions. The first requirement is that they know the environment and become familiar with it. For example, if you are visiting for the first time and your baby is going to sleep in a room with your baby for a little tour around the room, spend some time before sleeping and tell him where he is, you can sleep safely here. Secondly, the parent should be able to be there for every need of the baby during sleep. There is no age at which babies are right or wrong to move into their room.
This is the parent's own decision. The important thing wherever the baby sleeps, to be next to every need and to respond to the need. The baby is familiar with the bed and can get used to it and feel safe from the first day. However, as long as the parents want to sleep on the lap, especially in the newborn, both parents and the baby is very sweet. In addition, babies can easily sleep in strollers or in their arms for the continuation of social life. Babies who experience it from the early days are more likely to get used to sleeping in different environments.
The important thing is that the mother should always be calm and reassure her baby. The baby sleeps wherever he feels safe. And sleep should be in the dark. Finally, of course, security measures must be taken in all circumstances. For example, if the bed is railed or the safety straps of the stroller are always attached.
Nutrition should be considered as one of the most influential factors on babies' sleep, both biologically and psychologically. Doctors and psychologists who are experts in this field should be the source. In infants receiving breast milk;
- In the newborn period, the baby should be breastfed frequently and should be managed according to the instincts of the mother. Especially during this period, the mother's and the baby's intervention should not be interfered with, because the external interventions made to the mother will make it difficult for her to adapt to the motherhood process, to discover her instincts and to recognize her baby, and to leave the flow of nature.
During this period baby sleeps largely depends on the mother 's calmness, the ability to observe and respond to the baby' s signals well, to breastfeed freely, and to be able to stay alone with her baby in sleep - free environments.
- I recommend that mothers who take only breast milk until the transition to solid food should open their breastfeeding intervals a little by listening and giving time to their babies after the newborn period. In this way, the baby can experience different forms of social support for the need to calm down.
Like her lap, her voice, her skin, her speech. This allows the baby to cry out these concerns in a safe environment if there is a need for stress-induced crying. Which means better sleep. There is no problem in sucking off during this period, the safest moment for the baby is the moments when the mother has experienced sucking on her lap.
- Night breastfeeding can continue even after the passage of solid food. I find it valuable for the continuation of milk and emotional satisfaction. However, 1-2 times per night is sufficient. The baby will determine that. Of course, we have to regulate the frequent breastfeeding. There is no need for feeding at night after the 6th month in infants fed with food. There are many factors to be considered after the passage of solid food. For example, if meals are eaten together in a positive environment, if possible at the family table, both eating habits will occur and less stress will occur during the day. Also especially before sleep attention should be paid to the content of meals, foods and meals that may experience digestive problems should not be given in particular. The fact that the baby is full and does not suffer from digestion is essential for sleep.
Night terror What can be done if seen? Night terror is a very frightening experience for parents with infants or children asleep, but with less impact on children. The child who is experiencing night terror wakes up shouting or crying, can sit up and even throw himself in his bed. But all of this is not awake. He doesn't hear his parents and he doesn't understand. The first thing to do in this case is to protect the child so as not to wake him or to harm him calmly without touching him if possible. After a while the child calms down and sleeps back. The next day the child will not remember this experience because he is asleep. Therefore, the issue should not be discussed.
Stress and worries are the main causes of night terror. However, it is argued that causes such as excessive exposure to screen / media, use of new drugs, fever and caffeine may cause night terror. In general, children experience this experience several times and are not continuous. However, if it happens at the same time every night and often, the child is woken up and put back to sleep for 15 minutes before that hour. In this way, the sleep cycle is broken, and night terror is unlikely to occur. Regardless of the frequency, the child's sources of concern should be understood and supported to address them.
Methods used to put babies to sleep I split it in two. Stunners and reassurers. Foot shaking, quick shaking, bed shaking, and other methods such as stun the baby are physically harmful. These methods also make habits and give the baby emotionally no confidence. In addition, the infant does not have the freedom to move. However, babies reach the serene mind, which is necessary for sleep, by moving during the immersion phase.
Loving, caressing, lullabyOther methods that are used while doing these things are reassuring methods. I support them all the way. Why is that? The baby's brain is not capable of self-calming until the age of 5 years. He expects support from his parents for this. Sleep pre-tired body and tired mind, need to calm down and fall asleep peacefully. The calming and feeling support provided to the baby at this stage makes the baby feel safe and makes sleep perceived positively. For this reason, it is most healthy for the mother to sleep by listening to the instincts of the mother and responding to the baby's signals with sensitivity, such as holding on lap, firing, singing a lullaby and making skin contact before sleeping.
In particular, babies who are active may want to move freely after this calming phase. In this case, they can be in bed and can provide support from the parent. The important thing is to follow the baby's tips and make sure that the baby falls asleep in peace and mind. The baby who experiences this within months perceives the sleeping experience very positively, and if he does not have a problem, he can fall asleep in his own bed.
How should families proceed? Sleep training is to put the babies to sleep with the conditioning method under behavioral psychology. Although this method has been excluded from child development and education for a long time, it is unfortunately on the agenda of sleep. Babies do not need sleep education, they need to go to sleep safely. Also scientifically, there are many damages.
- Sleep training babies they are left unresponsive and even alone. In a study on infants whose cries stopped in such trainings, cortisol levels of infants remained the same. So the stress of babies did not pass. In addition, cortisol is very harmful to brain development because it damages brain neurons. In the first year, the brain grows up to 3 times and the stress experienced during this period adversely affects this very rapid development. There is no evidence of a minimum level of cortisol, which can be said not to harm the baby. In other words, all kinds of stress will harm the baby and sleep training will create permanent stress in the baby.
- Sleep training is not listening to the baby's signals. Babies whine or cry to express their needs. So crying is a communication. Children who are left unresponsive in sleep education and even cry alone, are silent because they have lost hope from their mothers, have lost contact and become desperate. The message they receive is “I am alone, my mother will not come”. Science says that interrupting communication adversely affects the child's development. Effective communication accelerates the development of children.
- Sleep training mom and baby The trust relationship between Self-confidence and independence are possible by first building trust. In the first years of life, trust-pumped babies become more independent and healthy in later years. Babies who have confidence problems tend to experience behavioral problems. - Self-calming targeted in sleep education is not possible before the age of 5 when we look at the brain development of the child.
The part that regulates emotion has not developed at birth yet, and it needs to be supported with plenty of confidence and fed with social support in contrast to what is experienced in sleep education for its development. If we want the child to calm himself in the coming years, we should respond to his needs and not to break his trust. With the conditioning, the baby, who was thirsty, did not calm down.
- Sleep training There is inherently in the child between 0-2 years of targeted uninterrupted sleep. Infant sleep is intermittently evolutionary and biologically due to attachment period, developmental attacks, sensitivities related to emotional development and very intensive brain development. The only way to do this is to condition the baby to silence all these needs. This means that the baby cannot express his needs.
- During sleep education, the mother's instincts and the connection with her baby are not taken into consideration. With rules to be followed, breastfeeding patterns, clock tables, etc., the mother's brain becomes so busy that it loses its ability to observe the baby and suppresses its own instincts. This is a negative experience for the long-term parenting experience.
- Research that claims that sleep education is “harmless dır is limited and has received much criticism from the academic masses in terms of the interpretation of methods and outcomes. Families with sleep problems should seek counseling from their physicians if the source of this problem is health, and from psychologists who are the only science competent in behavior and human behavior. Sleep cannot be handled alone, it is a very important part of child development.
Therefore, the aim should not be to eliminate the sleep problem as soon as possible, but to help the child to reach a healthy sleep pattern that is appropriate for the development and natural sleep of the child by considering every aspect of mental health. While doing this, psychological support should be given to the parent and proceeded in ways that will set an example for the total parenting experience.