This is one of the most common questions new mothers are asked. I was drawn to writing about this after giving an EFT talk at the wonderful Butterflies Pre & Post-natal Depression Support Group in Watford, founded by Claire Murphy. Hearing the women talk, reminded me of how challenging the first year after birth is, the relentless sleepless nights and the feeling of being caught up in a never ending cycle.
Getting a baby to sleep through the night is one of the most key/ crucial/ controversial issue a new mother in our culture will be faced with.
Some of the reasons for this are:
- Sleep deprivation
- Peer pressure
- Sleeping through the night is considered normal
Sleep deprivation is a form of torture. The sleep deprived mother is more prone to depression which can cause the inability to sleep (even when she has the opportunity). A sleep deprived mother will do virtually anything to get her baby to sleep so she can sleep.
In our culture we live in nuclear families so there are no grandmothers, sisters or aunties on hand to help out. Women weren’t designed to take on the 24/7 task of looking after a baby single handed so it is not surprising that in our culture there is so much peer pressure and emphasis in getting the baby to sleep through the night. Sharing the job of rearing a child (not just with the father) can reduce feelings of overwhelm, exhaustion and loneliness but it is not easy to find a supportive community given the structure of our society.
Is sleeping through the night normal? Do you sleep through the night? Do you go to the loo in the night? Do you wake up periodically? Do you fall back to sleep immediately or lay awake for a time? Do you struggle to fall asleep in the first place? What are your beliefs about sleep? What did you learn about sleep when you were a child? Are you afraid of the dark? What attitude do you want your baby to have about sleep?
Is the question “how do I get my baby to sleep through the night?” or is it “how do I get more sleep?”
Be clear with your intention.
Brainstorm ways of finding peaceful time for you to sleep. Talk to your friends and family and see how they would be willing to support you.
One tool that can help with yours and your baby’s sleep is EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques/ Tapping). It is simply to learn and easy to apply. Here are some of the many benefits:
- To calm and relax yourself so you can be calm for your baby
- To calm and relax yourself so that when you have an opportunity to sleep your mind will be calm enough to fall asleep
- To calm and relax your baby so that he/ she will feel more peaceful and sleepy
- To release any negative emotions about the fact that you and not getting enough sleep – eg frustration, can’t think clearly, impatience, fuzzy head, tearful
- To release any negative emotions about the fact that your baby isn’t sleeping through the night – eg not good enough mother, failing, belief that something is wrong with your baby(even when he/ she is healthy), something is wrong with you, creating a rod for your own back, peer pressure, not trusting your instincts