The Lullaby Blog.
8/11/2019 0 Comments
I saw an article recently that was discussing the difference between research on infant stress and cortisol levels particularly in regards to sleep training.
I understand some people think the words ‘sleep training’ can sound quite unnatural and regimented. To some degree, I would agree. However, despite a lot of different interpretations, in my eyes it generally just means a baby is learning the skill of falling asleep independently when they are developmentally ready to.
Studies reveal that babies respond to different forms of stress and not all crying leads to a rise in cortisol levels. Also, research has shown not all cortisol elevations are necessarily bad or sustained.
A newborn baby having a bath, or having their nappy changed or receiving immunisations can experience a rise in cortisol due to it being a new experience or an unexpected experience. We are not going to stop bathing or changing our babies because it can elevate their cortisol levels??
What happens is after a few days, babies stop reacting to the bath with a stress response because they have simply learnt from the experience and the stress response has moved to a positive response.
Throughout all these changes and new experiences in your child or baby’s life you will be there offering comfort to them throughout the change.
So, during a period of change with your baby’s sleep habits, yes there can be some crying, even with the gentlest methods that I offer, and of course they are going to protest any change. Not because they are traumatised, but just because they are tired, want to sleep but now the situation for sleep is unexpected.
Protesting change is part of being human
So, I hope this helps reassure those out there who are contemplating or feeling uncomfortable ‘sleep training’. Working gradually towards better sleep is how I work with families, working together with every parent to ensure they are comfortable with whichever method I choose.
Remember: Improving your little ones sleep will, in fact, mean over a course of time your little one will be producing less cortisol overall than a baby who continues to be overtired or sleep deprived.
If you need any support with some gradual sleep methods then please feel free to contact me or take a look at my website to see how I work.