About infants, toddlers, and sleep (ing through the night)

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Start at Chapter 3: Doing Her Nights

This information is absolutely brilliant, and absolutely aligned with the Montessori philosophy of learning, independence, calm, and the child adapting to his or her world/ reality.  I’m so grateful that this PDF is completely free!

Every parent of a newborn or infant under 4 months ought to read this.

Key takeaways, since I know parents are too sleep deprived and busy to read:

~ The French parents from this book value relaxing and stay calm.  They value calm and tranquility more than fear/worry/anxiety, and a need for extreme attachment to their babies at all times.

~ The Pause/ learning how to observe your baby for a moment rather than responding immediately to every whimper, and know that it’s okay for them to start learning how reality works, right away– that you will always pause to discern whether they really need attention, and give them the opportunity to possibly succeed at working it out on their own before you intervene.

~ taking a moment to observe what’s going on when a baby cries does not equate with neglect, harm, or total destruction of a baby’s psyche.  It might actually make you more attuned as a parent/ caregiver.  And it might actually help your baby learn that they have the capability to be patient, to learn, and to self-regulate.

~ The idea of sleep learning during the opportune window of development, which is right after birth until about 4 months old; versus sleep training or sleep remediation once it’s already too late, the opportunity for sleep learning has been missed, and the child has “behavioral insomnia of childhood”.  This is aligned with the Montessori concepts of the symbiotic period, sensitive periods, deviations, and not assisting  or interrupting the child when the child does not need help (they might start to learn to want your assistance if you train them to expect it).  Perhaps the baby just needs to learn to do their work and learning, which is learn to sleep independently through the night.

~ Know how newborn sleep works (the cycles are not yet connected the way adults’ are; but the baby can learn within 4 months how to connect sleep cycles independently without waking).  Stop interrupting the baby, avoid waking them all the way up, or avoid teaching them that the middle of the night is time to eat and a time to become more active when in fact they should  actually be learning to just go right back to sleep.

~ Believe that your baby CAN learn to sleep independently way sooner than we tend to think here in the middle working class, attachment-parenting, sometimes overly-hippie, worry-obsessed American culture. 

~ There was a study that compared various groups of babies and parent behaviors around night waking.  There was the “experimental group” (parents who were told to resist the urge to night nurse unless every other regulation tip suggested had been tried and failed to help the baby calm itself back to sleep), and the “control” group who did whatever they felt was appropriate when a baby woke up at night.  All the babies from the experimental group learned to sleep through the night within 8 weeks time.

~ what to do if you miss the 4-month sleep learning window .  Explain to the older child from the moment you put them to bed that you will not be back in their room until 7am in the morning… (or whatever time they are expected to wake up), and then stay consistent and do not go in there until wake up time.  Parental inconsistency was cited as a key trend when children don’t sleep through the night.



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