How to regulate your child’s sleep hormones
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Stage 4 – 9 months

Attachment parenting

Anthropologists and psychologists have identified so-called 'Attachment Parenting' as a timeless style of parenting that leads to less baby and toddler crying.
In Short

Attachment parenting has been successful for thousands of years - particularly with hunter-gatherer communities all around the world - and is known to help reduce babies' crying. 

It involves:

Carrying your baby a lot.

Feeding your baby frequently.

Sleeping close to your baby.

Crying babies around the world

Professor Marc Bornstein is the Head of Child and Family Research at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in America. He has spent his academic career looking at different styles of parenting around the word. He has found that when Mums in Kenya watch videos of American Moms with their babies they were really surprised and anxious by how much crying the American babies did. Kenyan babies cry a lot less. Professor Bornstein concludes this is largely due to the ‘attachment’ parenting which is common and traditional there.

Babywearing

Babies feel safe, secure and soothed when they spend lots of time in close contact with their parents. As a parent, it is easier to notice and respond to their needs and cues when they are in your arms or in a sling on your chest. When you are holding your baby you can sense if he’s uncomfortable or pooing and your body heat will help to regulate his temperature.
If you feed your baby when he displays hunger cues, you will not wait until he cries with hunger. Lots of crying equals lots of swallowed air, which leads to uncomfortable wind, bloating and more crying.

Sleeping close to your baby

Babies sleeping in a separate nursery is a recent phenomenon in human history. It helps to regulate your baby’s breathing when you sleep in the same room. The UK Department of Health recommends having your baby in the same room as you when they sleep for the first six months.

Ideally your baby should sleep in their own bed space right next to, or attached to, your bed. This reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Scientists think this might be because the parents breathing helps to regulate their baby’s breathing. Also parents can more quickly spot if their baby is not breathing well as they sense it and wake up to check.

If you sleep close to your baby you will both find night feeds a little easier and less disruptive. A night-time breastfeed can be done with your both half-asleep once you get the hang of it.

It is a personal choice, some parents do want to stay close to their baby during sleeping and naps, and some parents prefer to have their baby sleeping in their own room.

When your baby cries in public

This will happen so try not to worry. It can be really stressful if your baby starts crying when you are out and about.

If your baby starts crying when you are in public (or if you’ve got a disapproving in-law), you may feel like must stop your baby crying quickly.

This can make any new mum or dad feel very anxious. Not surprisingly, when all the adults around are being uptight and anxious a baby’s crying can escalate because the baby is picking up on the parent’s physical tension and unhappy face. Many of us have seen this played out in an aeroplane or a waiting room.

Try to focus on your baby and ignore disapproving adults around you – remember they were a baby themselves once. Often they are not really disapproving and may even be trying to give you a sympathetic smile!

Relax, and breathe slowly, you can also sing or hum to your baby to help you both calm down a bit.

Remember, crying babies are not spoilt, they just need a little bit of help from you.

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DISCLAIMER
This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.