Monday, September 21, 2015

Babies who only sleep when held are amazing!

QUESTION:  My daughter is 8 weeks and I have a really hard time putting her down for naps, the only way she'll get a nap is if I'm holding her or wearing her. I LOVE holding and wearing her, but lately it's been harder to put her down for bed, both initially and after middle of the night feedings also. I've heard so many conflicting things about this, some say to "start as you mean to go on," but I also know that this is such an important developmental stage for her, trust vs mistrust, and being close to me is how she feels loved and secure. Am I creating a problem for myself later on, if I continue to only let her nap on me?
Babies this young who will only sleep on you are letting you in on a big secret. They are very stimulated by their surroundings and have a hard time dealing with it. You are their buffer. It's called co-regulation. Your closeness is helping them regulate the stress of the overstimulation. It's a temperament trait the child is born with. It's not bad. Just different. So knowing this secret, does cry it out even seem like a good idea? The cool thing about it, is that babies who have higher needs like this actually have a greater potential than average needs babies. The increased perceptiveness combined with the practice problem solving you get from the co-regulation equals a very astute young man/woman. It's awesome. The sad side is that babies like this who don't get the extra attention needed have very very low potential.  The brain development at this age is establishing the framework for ALL FUTURE LEARNING. So you want to meet the attachment needs and worry about habits and problems later. It's not a problem, it's a need. I'm glad you like the closeness. Keep doing everything she asks for and after 4 months or after 6 months, we can work slowly on more independent behavior. The closeness now will actually increase the potential for independence later.

Tracy Spackman
Trained & Certified Gentle Sleep Coach 

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