Emotional Availability – Key To Baby Sleep

They all advise the setting of sleep routines and helping baby calm down to make sleep come easier and to help your newborn baby stay asleep. However, less stress has been put on the emotional aspect of baby sleep and, as importantly, helping baby stay asleep.

baby sleepResearchers at Penn State University tried another tack when they examined the behavior of mothers at the infants’ bedtimes.

Mothers who were emotionally available to the babies and responded to their needs were seen to have babies who slept better, with fewer disruptions and less in between waking.

Babies whose mothers responded to their fussing by looking at and attending to the baby and murmuring quietly and soothingly, things such as “Its OK”, were seen to respond well by sleeping better.

According to lead researcher, developmental psychologist Douglas Teti, PhD, this “emotional connection” seems to be more effective than specific bedtime routines, in getting baby to sleep better. Apparently, what parents do is not as important as how they do it. The key is if parents are feeling good and comfortable with what they’re doing.

So next time you find that baby isn’t falling asleep, switch off all else and concentrate on baby and her needs. Attend to her fully, be soothing and comforting.

Posted in: Baby Sleep

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  1. J. Efseaff says:

    Very interesting that there have been studies to prove this. I totally agree! When my baby was little and I was anxious or stressed out, so was he. He had such a hard time settling down. The problem is that it is such a vicious cycle. Sometimes it’s just best to give your crying baby to someone else – someone who isn’t exhausted and overwhelmed by all the crying. Relax and then try again… Babies are extremely sensitive to how Mom is feeling, at least my baby was.

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