I’ve been trying to think of some catchy little blog-friendly story or anecdote to insert here about why a family would want to have a sleep consult before their baby arrives. Although I did come up with a few, the truth is all I keep thinking is plain, simple, and very un-blog-like: IT WILL HELP YOU SO MUCH!
You might be literally startled to find out all the things you can learn about infant sleep and preparing for good sleep before your little one is born. I can’t tell you how many parents I’ve worked with over the years who have said, “If I only knew this BEFORE my baby was born!”
You sign up for childbirth education, breastfeeding classes, Newborn Essentials and Infant CPR prenatally, because being prepared for birth, breastfeeding, and taking care of your baby feel important to you. What you might not realize is that being prepared for what sleep is like with a newborn is also important. The Isis Sleep Team can help you be prepared for this! Here are 9 ways your prenatal sleep consult can help you prepare. So go ahead, sign up for one now or ask your loved ones to buy you a sleep consultation as a gift.
Here are 9 ways a prenatal sleep consult will prepare you:
- Learn about infant sleep development in the first weeks:
Most of your baby’s sleep and feeding needs will be “on demand” to start, but as sleep matures, that can change quickly if you want it to! Learn how homeostatic pressure will be the main driver of your baby’s sleep at first and what that means for her daytime nap frequency. Learn about your baby’s developing circadian rhythm and its effect on when and how to encourage predictable bedtimes, introduce a bedtime routine, and signs of readiness for longer stretches of night sleep!
- Learn about the ideal sleep environment:
Your super portable newborn won’t stay that way forever. Research has shown sleep environments can play a significant role in initiating and maintaining sleep (aka – falling asleep easily and staying sleep for a long time)! Learn about the ideal sleep environment for babies and have the room or nursery prepared BEFORE your new little one arrives.
- Help set realistic expectations:
Many expecting parents think their newborn will simply fall asleep whenever she’s tired! Some lucky families will find this to be true, but others will struggle with a fussy, tired baby who just won’t stay asleep! Learn about age appropriate amounts of sleep, normal patterns of newborn sleep, day/night confusion and how to remedy it.
- Learn Soothing and Swaddling tips:
Get a crash course in the benefits of swaddling, tips and techniques to use for soothing your baby during those evening fussy periods, which are so common in the first weeks!
- Begin the Path to Independent Sleep:
Some ambitious families want to get started right away teaching their baby how to fall asleep on her own. Learn about the earliest, gentlest approaches appropriate to begin with a newborn to help facilitate this skill. Not your style? No problem! We fully embrace families who prefer to assist their babies to sleep for naps and throughout the night and can provide some great tips and techniques for those approaches as well.
- Educate Other Caregivers, Nannies and Sitters on Safe Sleep:
A lot has changed since our parents had babies. Learn about current safety standards and guidelines of the AAP as they relate to infant sleep on everything from swaddling, warmth and temperature, blankets, sleep positioners, pacifiers, crib safety, sleep location and more! Address popular sleep myths such as early introduction of cereal or formula, dream feeding, and strict play and feeding schedules. Encourage caregivers to join you on your prenatal consult or sign them up for one as well!
- Learn about helpful products to add to your registry:
There are certain items our Sleep Team considers “must-haves” as part of a sleep-promoting nursery. Learn about teams’ top products to facilitate sleep: from white noise machines, blackout shades, swaddle products, bedtime routine stories, music and lovies.
- Prepare for the challenge of siblings and sleep:
Are you thinking about moving your toddler to a big kid bed early so the baby can have the crib? How about the baby sharing a room with an older child or managing multiple children, bedtime routines AND breastfeeding – not to mention putting a meal on the table. If you are an experienced parent, you might find it helpful to learn a few dos (and don’ts) when it comes to sleep and bringing home a newborn!
- Help choosing a daycare provider:
Learn about the most ideal settings for daytime sleep and what you can do to try to help your child sleep at daycare. Use that information to help you ask the right questions of childcare centers to find the best fit for your baby’s sleep. Learn what you should NEVER do to encourage longer stretches of sleep with your newborn and screen out childcare providers who could be putting your baby at risk.
Meg Casano BSN MA
Isis Parenting Senior Sleep Consultant