The sad reality is that we are always looking for the convenience, for the easy route. As Americans, we often look for those hacks that will make life more simple. Yes, it is a very “American” idea. Sometimes convenience with newborn care can detract from your bonding experience and healthy living, and middle-of-the-night feedings are one of those.
I recently came upon a few posts that claim “how I got my 2 week, 4 week, and/or 10 week baby to sleep thru the night”. This may be more of a personal opininon, but I feel that we were built to wake every few hours, especially in the first year-two years of life. There are various studies to proove that yes, infact, it is healthy and normal for babies to continue to wake in the night. It is the tired, sleep-deprived parent who desired to break this routine.
For Peter Fleming, professor of infant health and developmental psychology at the University of Bristol, the idea that babies should sleep through the night is a 20th-century idea. It’s more natural for them to wake up, often.
“Human infants are not designed to sleep for long periods, it’s not good for them, and there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that there is any benefit to anybody from having a child that sleeps longer and consistently,” he tells BuzzFeed.
“That’s not perhaps what most parents would like to hear.”
Why do I claim this is Americinized? Culturally speaking, many other nations’ families live with more members to help aid in raising children. Grandparents, aunts and cousins often living in the same houshold share responsibility of caring for baby. The term “it takes a village” is true, but our culture says otherwise, as we seek to live independently of our relatives. Our burden becomes our alone.
Co-sleeping is very old-school in our country, but not so in other countries. On a personal note, my children slept better when I brought them into my bed vs. their own crib. But again, our independence has separated the notion that we should be individual and should be in our own beds, have caused our culture to decline the co-sleeping efforts that our ancestors did.
Another great reason to embrace babies waking in the middle of the night is brain development. Our babies are hitting milestones and their brainwaves are becoming more active. Their sleep schedule includes shorter sleep patterns and their activity level is becoming more ripe. This also plays a role, early on, when babies night and day schedule is being fine-tuned. Their bodies didn’t know the difference while being in the womb.
One of my biggest reason for posting this, is the fact that babies, as young as 4, 6, 10, 20 weeks still need adequate night-time feedings, for nutrition and bonding! Your baby can’t wake up and walk to the kitchen for a night-time snack to ward off a growling stomach. They burn through calories and need replinsihment. Yes, they may have eaten right before bed, but remember, they are growing and need more calories and fat intake. Babies burn through calories quickly.
Bonding, bonding, bonding! Even though you may feel you are bonding plenty during the day, your baby has learned to associate eating with bonding. Through the years, your baby will wake, because they are hungry, uncomfortable, having reflux, etc. Their intuition is to seek attention to address their feelings. Just as any human, they don’t have the perfect sleep pattern each night. They want to be comforted; they want their comforter to help them go back to sleep.
For more info on sleeping through the night: https://kellymom.com/parenting/nighttime/sleep/
Why humans wake in the middle of the night: