Why can't I just let my baby sleep when tired? Why all this drama?
Because it won’t happen.
In the beginning, we all try this. Very few of us go into parenting believing anything other than “baby will just fall asleep when tired”. However, we learn fairly quickly that this is not the case. Why is this:
1. Babies are unable to soothe themselves to sleep. If they fall asleep on their own, it is when they are tired to the point of exhaustion.
2. Overtired babies sleep badly because their bodies fill with the stress hormone cortisol.
3. Our modern environments are not conducive to baby sleep.
4. Babies who fell asleep whenever, wherever in pre-modern times were usually wrapped to their parents all day, nursing and sleeping on demand.
5. Artificial light for the last century has wreaked havoc with circadian rhythms.
6. Babies that our “elders” tell us about were likely grossly overtired or were sleeping in cloth cradles or…our elders don’t really remember.
7. “Other people’s babies” who fall asleep everywhere and anywhere are either grossly overtired or sleep trained (knowingly or unknowingly).
If we attempt to make our babies fall asleep of their own accord, we are likely to end up with cranky, overtired babies who take short naps, cry before and after naps, seem fussy through the day, don’t eat well, wake more frequently at night, cry at night, have active nightwakings and wake early in the mornings. If that isn’t reason enough to practice a little sleep management and give our babies the support they need, I don’t know what is!🙂