Flexibility, adaptability & resiliency must evolve from emotional safety in order for independent sleep to happen.
Sleep is a biological process, not a behavioral one. Behavioral sleep issues arise around sleep, when a baby or child's emotional needs remain unmet. Yes, babies & toddlers need a lot of emotional support, balancing the needs, while encouraging safety & security around sleep is the solution. Conscious parenting helps parents understand how their own emotional past plays a role in their child's developing emotions. We cannot train a child to sleep any more then we can train them to breathe. Like all milestones, sleep evolves over time and each stage must be mastered before moving onto the next.
Sleep becomes complicated when the factors that influence sleep are not addressed. When those milestones are not met or other factors come into play, such as reflux, feeding issues, birth trauma, sensitivities, colic, allergies, regulation imbalance, mom's emotional health, stress, anxiety, travel, illness or temperament, sleep becomes a problem. Finding solutions begins with identifying the areas of concern, working from the inside out, balancing the needs, adjusting feeds, adding sunlight, emotional connectedness, play, physical touch, stimulation, activity and emotional availability, before making changes to sleep.
Day-by-day these changes fill the night-time needs, reducing night wakings, providing emotional security, supporting down-regulating, empowering babies & toddlers, and then asking them to shift comfort zones at night. Holistic sleep work requires careful planning and an understanding of your baby's needs from their point of view. Before any behavioral strategy can be considered, it's important to identify the root of the problem and understand why your baby is resisting independent sleep. Babies dominant survival instinct is close proximity to mom. Working through this takes time.
Some babies have negative associations to bedtime, immature development of the nervous system, or early experiences that negatively affect sleep. Some may have switched to reverse cycling with feeds or are awake for long periods at night, identifying the cause is always the first step. Knowing what parenting style resonates most with you, is imperative to the process. My philosophy follows conscious parenting, with components of peaceful, gentle, respectful and leadership parenting styles.
As a parenting instructor and sleep coach I combine hands-on solutions with deeper awareness. By supporting mom's emotion, becoming aware of the synchronized emotional reaction and building connected relationships we can often solve sleep issues without any behavioral changes at all. Today’s generation recognizes the importance of healthy sleep for early brain development, emotional intelligence, attachment and trust. By proactively seeking professional advice for emotional development, early parent-child relationships, parenting challenges, nutrition and sleep support, you are giving your baby the very best! Children benefit emotionally, cognitively, and developmentally, when we are in balance with ourselves and emotional connections are the primary focus. The first three years are critical to a child's development, the ability to regulate emotions down the road begins with a deeper understanding and awareness. We know that overall happiness and academic performance is directly related to emotional intelligence. Emotional isolation is never an option!