Why babies are so reluctant to sleep alone - and what you can do to help your baby

As a young parent, this situation is no stranger to you: It's evening, a long day With the baby comes to an end and you just want one thing: bring the child to bed and finally have some time for yourself!

For as much as we love our children, having a small, sophisticated, dependable companion with you all the time can be quite exhausting. A baby does not understand that you can not cuddle right now, but need to cook the food urgently, or that you can no longer play because you want to take a shower.

A baby restricts its own independence, and so the times when it sleeps are so precious to parents. Parents need these time windows, in which they can devote themselves undisturbed to their own needs. And of course you need sleep! !

But the way there is often stony. Because your baby often does not care much about the idea that it should sleep without you in his crib. Why is that? Why is your baby crying so blissfully slumbering on your chest, screaming in horror as you gently lay it down in its cuddly crib? There it is comfortable and safe!

But that's exactly what your baby feels differently. Especially cozy for babies is skin contact with familiar persons. And being alone and safe - that does not even fit in the eyes of babies!

Babies Urangst before the Wild Wolf

Experts suggest that this is evolutionary. We often forget that humanity has been living in safe houses for a relatively short time. For a much longer time, there were no walls that protected against wild animals at night. At that time it would have been extremely dangerous for a baby to sleep alone - a wolf or a bear it would have been vulnerable.

In his book ""Understanding Children"", Herbert Renz-Polster explains that, of course, this need for protection is naturally created in babies. Instinctively, they do not feel safe on their own and expect someone to take care of them. Only then are they relaxed and can ""let go"" to find the land of dreams.

So sleeping alone is so ""unnatural"" for babies against this background. A baby does not know that no bear is lurking around the corner. It also does not know that his parents are only a few rooms away and are there within seconds should it need help. A baby has only his instincts that tell him being alone is potentially dangerous.

Why Babies Are So Vulnerable

Another reason is that people are extremely ""unfinished"" when they are born.While many animals are already running or can search for food after just a few days, humans are still very poorly developed at the time of their birth. That's how it has to be, because an evolved brain would have meant a bigger head - and it would not fit through a woman's pelvis.

Many body functions are therefore not yet fully developed - for example, temperature regulation or respiration. Research shows that a lot of physical closeness helps babies to stabilize their body functions and sleep better. Babies with a lot of physical closeness are more alert and smiling more often than their peers. Being close to the body is obviously an important support for the development of the brain and the whole body. Also, wearing is very reassuring for a baby and conducive to its overall development. Not only is the need to be alone not only at night - even a baby lying alone for days on end would have been vulnerable to the long history of developing homes. That's why it helps newborns to slumber a lot in a baby sling during the day.

Many parents and babies can get along with the family bed or an extra bed for night sleep. New studies show that parents sleeping in the same bed with their baby do not have to worry about sudden infant death syndrome if they are not smoking, drinking alcohol and only in bed (not on a sofa or other soft mat) with the baby sleep.

Calming in the womb

The American pediatrician Harvey Karp is of the opinion that human newborns are actually still ""missing"" in the womb for about three months. His advice: In the first three months we should make the lives of our babies as similar as they are used to from the womb. He proposes five important techniques, the so-called ""Five S"":

1. Tight wrapping: The swaddling is currently making a comeback. Wrapping creates a condition for babies that resembles tightness in the womb. Of course, a baby should not be tied too tight, but many parents are too worried about worrying. A certain tightness is important for the method to work. As an orientation, Harvey Karp calls the following trick: When you've wrapped your baby, you should just put your hand between your baby's chest and the blanket - it should be as tight as your hand between your stomach and your pants at the end of the pregnancy ,

It's also important that the blanket / blanket does not touch your baby's cheeks, as this may trigger the reflex of searching for food. Also pay attention to overheating - at normal room temperature of about 18-21 degrees usually a body is sufficient. Overheating indicates that your child's ears and fingers are hot, reddened, and sweaty.

second Lateral or prone position: In the supine position, the morbo reflex is often triggered in newborns: they flinch as if they were falling. This can not happen in lateral and prone position.

Recommendations for preventing Sudden Infant Deaths do not recommend prone to sleep, but there is nothing wrong with waking and calming. Also on the arm, screaming babies can be well calmed in the side or prone position (aviator's grip). When your baby calms down, try gently turning your baby on the back. The tight push can also help to prevent the Moro reflex in the supine position.

Should your baby be unable to sleep supine, the lateral position may be a necessary alternative. It is said to increase the risk of sudden infant death, but this is probably due to the risk of the baby rolling on its stomach. You can prevent this with a side cushions or safety rolls that support your child from the front and back.

third ""Shhh"" - lute: Instinctively ""hissing"" parents to calm your crying baby. Especially in the first three months, babies probably feel reminded of the sounds in the womb and therefore calm down better. Karp compares the volume of the sounds in the womb with those of a vacuum cleaner - so do not hiss too soft! Now you also know why many babies love car rides, hair driers or washing machines - the sounds are also similar to a ""shh"" sound. Meanwhile, there are also CDs or files to download with so-called ""white noise"", which you can play to your baby to sleep.

4th Swinging: From your time in the womb, babies are used to being gently rocked back and forth for many hours a day. Every movement of the mother was a rocking for the unborn child. If a baby is lying on a hard, motionless mattress most of the time, it's a huge change. They make it easier for your baby to arrive in the world by wearing it regularly on the body (the same rocking movements as before birth) and rocking on your arm while screaming. Karp recommends: The louder the screaming, the smaller and faster the rocking movements should be. By no means should you use large, shaking or hurling movements - there is a risk of shaking trauma here.

5th Sucking: Ultrasound images show that unborn babies suck on their fingers in the womb. It is extremely difficult for newborns to deliberately put their hands to their mouths. Therefore, you satisfy your need for suction by breastfeeding, sucking on the bottle or a pacifier. Studies even show that pacifiers reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, and sucking that does not feed (""suckling"" on the chest or pacifier) ​​reduces stress.Therefore - and because the nutritional needs of babies often fluctuate - breastfeeding is recommended as needed. Breastfeeding mothers should no longer use the pacifier to avoid any sucking confusion as soon as breastfeeding problems occur or artificial teat is inserted only when breastfeeding is reasonably well established (Karp recommends, for example, that bottles be inserted only after two weeks).

And after the first three months?

After about three months, parents can try to make the ""five S"" slowly creep out - for example, by loosely tying up the puck cloth, making the noise quieter, and so on ... Babies can become drowsy at first, then only lightly Sleepy and more and more awake in her crib to practice self-sufficiency. But carrying, family bed and sucking are important reassurance aids even for older babies. Some babies even need the swaddling or white noise beyond the first three months - there is no ""right"" or ""wrong"" here.

Sources

""Understanding Children. Born to be wild: How evolution shapes our children ""by Herbert Renz-Polster

Blog"" Understanding Children "".

Sudden Infant Death Disease News See Sources Hide Sources

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