In writing my The Gentle Eating Book it became apparent to me that every piece of research I came across, supported the idea of responsive feeding in infancy. In short, this means that for the best outcomes (by that I mean weight gain, health, future eating habits, risk of obesity and so on) for babies, they need to be fed (and for babies eating and thirst may be different entirely – but both require milk) when THEY need to be fed. The healthiest thing a parent can do is watch for their cues and follow them.
We (‘we’ meaning society) seem to think that baby sleep is linear. By that I mean we seem to think that it gets better as babies grow older. Or at least we believe it is static, ie. it won’t get worse again. The thing is, it’s not linear (certainly not in an upwards trajectory) and it’s not static. It goes up and down (mostly down in the first year). This is entirely normal and very, very common…
I’m commonly asked for help and advice surrounding pacifiers (I’ll use this term as this is the most used around the world). Pacifiers can be a Godsend to some parents and a nightmare to others. If you’re currently pregnant and reading, my advice in general would be to try to avoid using a pacifier ifContinue reading “How to Gently Wean from a Dummy/Pacifier”
….You need to strive to do your best, but recognise that sometimes your best is enough, even when you don’t feel that it is.
Have you ever wondered why your child does something, even when you’ve told them not to and explained why they shouldn’t do it? Perhaps your three year old insisted on touching the oven door, even though you told him not to because it was very hot. Being told something and doing it yourself are two very different things. It is only when the child touches the oven door and experiences the heat that he truly understands and learns.
Is it possible to work with a baby’s sleep gently? Absolutely, because in every case it is not the baby that needs changing or fixing, it is usually something the parent is, or isn’t doing. That said, it is only possible to change sleep gently to a biologically appropriate level. The fact remains that babies don’t sleep through the night, while that may be a problem for parents in our busy world, the reality is there is normally nothing wrong with the baby.
This talk of ‘sleeping through the night’ must end, it is factually inaccurate. This myth and misinformation pathologises normal infant sleep and turns it into something problematic that needs fixing. The fact is, the baby achieves nothing from being taught to be quiet while they transition between sleep cycles, the benefit here is solely for the parents.
So what do we know about the effect and efficacy of cry based sleep training based on current scientific evidence? The answer is ‘not a lot’.
Welcome to the first of my special guest interviews on why gentle parenting matters to parents around the world. For this special first interview I chat with multi gold winning Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey about breastfeeding, bedsharing, tackling tantrums and postnatal bodies.
The mainstay of almost all baby sleep training is the idea of teaching ‘self soothing’ or ‘self settling’. This approach believes that if babies are put down ‘drowsy but awake’ and parents do not rush in to feed or rock when they wake, that the baby will learn to settle back to sleep without parental input.