Babies make noise when they sleep. I think a lot of first time parents are really shocked by this.
Is your baby a noisy sleeper?
Are you eager for a baby who can sleep longer at night?
We use the phrase “sleep like a baby” to mean a long, deep and peaceful sleep but babies don’t really sleep like that. Baby sleep can be so loud you’d think they were awake.
DON’T BE FOOLED!
A baby who is a noisy sleeper can really mess with their parents’ heads. Imagine: baby falls asleep and is gently laid in their crib. They lie still sucking away at a pacifier, tightly wrapped in their swaddle. The parent quietly creeps out of the room and gets to the top of the stair when they hear, “grunt, squeak!” They pause and wait a moment. There seems to be nothing for 3 minutes. They begin to descend but 4 stairs down there comes a sound over the white noise machine, “coo, coo, grunt!”
What now? Turn back? Pat and shush the baby? Rock them? Snuggle them?
This doula says wait. Wait and see if occasional noises turn into genuine protest. Wait to see if grunts and squeaks quickly morph into angry calling out or crying.
More babies that you realise are noisy sleepers. Most of the time these noises aren’t meant as an alarm bell. They are the equivalent of humming while chewing: noises made to soothe oneself. Or like the open mouthed groan you make when you stretch when you are tired.
The noises will come and go. And in this era of baby monitors every little noise is amplified to wake an over-tired parent. Parents often worry their little one is distressed or waking up and wish to head off the protests before the grunts turn to cries and the cries to screams. And this is leaving brand new parents dangerously fatigued.
And when I use the term dangerous I do not do so lightly. The chronic fatigue of new parents can have a lot of bad effects. Most immediately is the brain fog experienced that can negatively impact a parent’s decision making abilities.
Then there is the problem of nodding off. If a parent is holding a sleeping baby and they themselves nod off, there is a real and present danger of dropping a baby or having a baby slide between the parent and the chair or sofa or nursing pillow and be unable to breathe.
Longer term problems can be a tendency to put on weight, irritability and the possibility of a higher risk of mood disorders. Chronic fatigue can also raise the risk of general inflammation in the body which is the leading cause of heart disease.
So, what is a parent to do?
Simple Tip To Sleep Longer At Night
Right away you can do two simple things to help yourself and your baby sleep longer at night.
First, turn off the baby monitor at night. Leave the baby’s door and the parent’s doors open a little. Occasional noises shouldn’t break through sleep, However, persistent and angry protests will break through a parent’s sleep. Parent’s are designed to be responsive to their babies and a cry won’t be missed.
Second, bring in a postpartum doula to take over some or all of the nighttime parenting. They can do the job of staying awake and monitoring all of the squeaks and coos and grunts. A doula is not easily alarmed by a noisy sleeper. They will know which of the noises and fusses mean baby needs attention and which ones should be ignored.
Whichever strategy you take with your noisy sleeper – and you can take both – you will end up having a better rest, and sleep longer at night and so will baby!