Good news for sleep-deprived mums!
The reason your baby doesn’t sleep much could be because he’s a genius in the making.
Two parenting experts have shared some interesting insight into why some babies don’t sleep well. If your little one has a habit of waking up often or your baby won’t sleep through the night, then this is a must-read!
Baby won’t sleep? It’s probably because of his big baby brain
Professor and parenting expert Peter Fleming has devoted his life to studying infant development. He’s the guy who, back in the 80s, recommended infants be placed on their backs to sleep. In other words, he knows his stuff.
Professor Fleming explains that babies are not designed to sleep for long periods of time and that there is actually a link between “very high levels of developmental and intellectual achievement and not sleeping throughout the night.”
Which is great news if you’re one of those mums whose baby isn’t a good sleeper! It could mean that this lack of sleep now will lead them to be gifted children down the road.
Blame society for our high baby sleep expectations
Professor Fleming also explains that it is only in recent decades that we’ve placed so much emphasis on babies being ‘good sleepers’. Evolutionary wise, it’s more natural for them to wake up often.
“From a biological point of view, what the baby is doing is completely normal and sensible. It just doesn’t fit in with our 21st-century expectations.
One needs to remember that society changes faster than biology. A biological pattern that’s taken half a million years to develop can’t just be suddenly ignored and turned around. Particularly when there’s no advantage in doing so.”
Waking up at night is good for babies’ emotional development
Professor Fleming also points out that babies that are waking up through the night are getting a lot more attention. After all, there are fewer distractions at midnight than at 8 am.
All this extra attention is bound to be good for our babes down the road, right?
Both Fleming and another parenting expert, Professor Dacia F Narvaez believe so.
Professor Narvaez explains that children that do get extra attention throughout the night have their needs more readily met and have “greater empathy and more self-regulation. They have a greater conscience, and one study showed they had more cognitive ability and less depression.”
So, the next time you’re up at 4 am and the baby has been awake most of the night, remember this – you’re not doing anything wrong. In fact, by simply being there, by holding her, by feeding her (AGAIN), by shushing her back to sleep, you’re doing everything right.
Even if it’s exhausting, frustrating, draining and lonely, it’s what you’re meant to be doing. And, by doing so, you could be nurturing a baby genius who will buy you lots of pretty things in 30 years’ time when he’s a billionaire. You gave birth to him AND lost a year’s worth of sleep for him. The least he can do is buy his Mumma a diamond necklace…
What to read next
- For a first-hand account of sleep deprivation, read: This Is What It Feels Like When Your Baby Won’t Sleep
- For baby sleep help, check out: Review: The Swaddle Grobag That My Baby Sleeps All Night In
- For baby (and child) sleep charts, read: SLEEP CHARTS: How Much Sleep Do Your Kids REALLY Need?
- For reasons WHY your baby is waking up at night, read: Baby Waking Up Crying? Here’s WHY and How to Make it Stop