I’m a baby sleep expert and there are three things every mother of a newborn needs to know

WHEN having a baby is never easy, especially if it’s your first time.

But what can make every other decision and action a million times harder is when you’re completely exhausted.

Child and child sleep expert Gemma Coe offers advice on the dangers of sleeping when your baby is on your chest


Child and child sleep expert Gemma Coe offers advice on the dangers of sleeping when your baby is on your chestCredit: Getty

Certified Child and Child Sleep Specialist Gemma Coe Knows all too well how important it is to help your baby get some good nutrition – so you can get some rest too.

The expert explains the dangers of “helpful tips” like “sleep while your baby sleeps” and “make sure you’re taking care of yourself”.

“It’s hard to get general advice from others, because every experience is different,” she says.

“Someone may tell you to sleep while the baby sleeps, and that’s fine and good, but most mothers think, ‘Sounds lovely but house is tip, you haven’t eaten, you have to solve the problem. grandparents all day long and I have a million other things to do.

“And when someone says ‘take care of yourself’, most people just think: ‘I’m trying so hard but I have a new baby to take care of first!”

Cutting through all the well-meaning, but ultimately useless advice, Gemma tells Great about three things every mother should know when caring for a newborn.

Even if you are wiped out, safety must come first

I already know. Safety is not sexy. But it is important.

Gemma warns against taking short cuts and is easy to fix when it comes to helping your little one fall asleep.

She said: “You could get all the advice and guidance in the world on how a child should sleep, but at 3am, when you’re sleep-deprived, most of us will do just about anything. to go back to bed.

“But falling asleep with your baby on you on the sofa is the most dangerous thing you can do. It’s very common, but people don’t realize the potential harm.


“It happens mainly in the early morning hours when parents are so hungry for sleep that they just hold their baby in their arms and fall asleep.

“It’s very simple to do, but you run the risk of serious problems like Sudden infant death syndrome. Everyone thinks it won’t happen to them, but please don’t risk it. “

Gemma also explains that new parents can be enthralled by all the gorgeous baby accessories like crib mattresses and loose bedding, but really the baby needs an open space to sleep. they.

“Ideally, the bedroom should be between 16-20C and the baby will lie on his back, with his feet on the bottom of the crib,” she said.

What causes sudden infant death syndrome?

The exact cause is unknown, but several things are thought to be a factor.

Experts say it can happen at a specific stage in a child’s development – so children who are prone to certain stressors may be more at risk.

This vulnerability can be due to preterm or low birth weight or other reasons.

Tangled in bedding, cigarette smoke, minor illness or breathing problems can also be a factor.

When it comes to smoking, research from the Geisel School of Medicine in the US states that any exposure to nicotine can increase the risk of SIDS.

This includes vaping and wearing nicotine patches.

Co-sleeping – where parents sleep with their baby on a bed, sofa or chair – is also thought to be linked to sudden infant death syndrome.

Every baby sleeps for a different amount of time

We’ve all seen Instagram quotes about comparison being the thief of joy, and when it comes to parenting, it’s never been more true.

When Sandra takes to the streets to say that her little angel sleeps from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. without anyone peeking and rarely cries, just laughs, sings and sometimes plays the piano forte, Gemma will encourage you to ignore it. she.

The child sleep expert said: “There are always smug moms at NCT, or worse on Instagram, who have great photos of them enjoying parenthood. ignore it.

“Every person has a different parenting style and every child’s temperament is different. When each child is raised in a different environment, they naturally respond in different ways.”

Plus, Gemma’s too cool to say this, but the Insta mom’s mock-ups are probably a bit deceiving.

Gemma said: “Everything about a newborn is completely erratic. We live in a society where we can measure everything and compare everything with the day before and against the progress of the day. others.

“Some babies will be ready for their next nap just 30 minutes after waking up from the last time. At about 12 weeks, you expect a baby to sleep every two hours and expect you to stay in. in a more predictable sleep over a three- to four-month period.

“But everyone is different so there can be real ups and downs.”

Tips and tricks for a good night’s sleep

Here’s what Gemma needs you to know, if you’re looking to put your baby to sleep

Stop trying everything and try something really good. Newborns respond with consistency.

Pay attention to their window of sanity – don’t let them get too tired, or you’ll have nightmares that let them down.

Darkness is the key. Children produce melatonin in response to darkness sending signals to their bodies to sleep.

Keep the room cool.

Remove any and all distractions that might catch your baby’s attention. This includes cell phones above the crib… put them above the changing pad instead!

White noise won’t help your child sleep but it will help them sleep well because it masks background noise and keeps the environment stable.

Two things kids love: warmth and movement. Sitting next to your parents and rocking them gently may just be the way to stabilize them, but if you can get them down to the crib, it will save you the dreaded moving costs!

Your mental health problems

We talk so much about what’s best for babies that we often forget to focus on the person who just signed up for the 24/7 job of full-time caregiver/chef/cleaner/driver/assistant operating.

There are many things that can worry a new parent, and it’s important that you do what you can to make sure you don’t stress too much.

First, Gemma reminds parents that noises in the night are not usually a sign of something bad.

“Mothers are always stressed about the noises their babies make when they sleep,” she said.

“Infants can grumble, whine, whine, scream and do all sorts of weird things and that doesn’t mean they’re awake.

“Some parents of babies, who don’t expect strange sounds, may jump in too soon thinking the baby is awake.

“They will wake the baby on their own. The best way to deal with this is to give your baby space and time.

“Sounds strange, less is more.”

Another thing that can help you stay sane is knowing that in true Frank Sinatra style, you’re doing it your way.

Gemma says: “New parents can feel pushed into one way of thinking and mothers in particular are always judged for their choices.

“Some moms go into this infancy, after a difficult pregnancy and birth, so we all just need to be kind to ourselves.”

It’s not ‘young brain’, it’s fatigue. It’s hard to believe and makes you more likely to have postpartum depression.

Another thing Gemma highlighted is the language around parenting.

She said: “Also, let’s all stop talking about baby brains and get serious about it! It’s not ‘baby brain’, it’s fatigue. It’s difficult and frustrating. postpartum depression more likely. “

For those who are feeling exhausted and even depressed, a child sleep specialist recommends reaching out if possible.

She said: “It’s important to talk more candidly with friends and family members who have checked on us, rather than just saying ‘I’m fine’.

“You can ask a friend to babysit for 30 minutes so you can take a shower, or even better two hours so you can shower and get some sleep!”

Another thing that will help your mood during more difficult times, is remembering how great the times were.

Gemma says: “Capture your best moments and allow yourself to spend time in what feels good. It’s all too easy to be consumed by low times.

“Newborn days are filled with cuddles and sweet moments when they nap.

“Make sure you also put them in your stroller every day and get out of the house. Fresh air and exercise are very positive for your mental health.

“Along with going out for a walk it helps to get you out of the house, so you don’t always feel trapped inside!”

Please visit the NHS website for more information about postpartum depression or sudden infant death syndrome.

For more information on Gemma Coe and her work, you can watch her website, Instagram and Facebook.

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Tom Vazquez

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