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Stacey McCormick, Kitchener ON
In the early days with a newborn, sleep is something that is constantly on the minds of parents; both their baby’s sleep and their own.
We all know how important sleep is. We also know how very difficult it is when our infants are not sleeping well. To help parents and their infants, The Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services has partnered with the EarlyON Child and Family Centres in the Region to provide sleep sessions for parents of babies from birth to 12 weeks of age.
Having a new baby is a time of change and often many questions. Our Sleep and Your New Baby sessions provide parents and other adults caring for a new baby with practical and evidence based information around realistic expectations for their new baby’s sleep patterns and the importance of recognizing and responding to their baby’s cues.
The newborn period is a key time to influence the development of parent-infant relationships. Infants have very minimal self-regulation skills at birth and these skills are built through positive and responsive parent-infant interaction. Research tells us that the most rapid period for developing night-time sleep regulation occurs in the first four months of life. However, research also tells us that many parents have a knowledge gap around the importance of these early months in their child’s life. The Sleep and Your New Baby sessions are designed to ensure that parents have access to this information and evidence based answers to their questions.
The session helps parents know about:
– The cues babies use to communicate their needs or states, and how parents can respond to these cues.
– The sleep-wake cycle and how parents can help their baby move through each stage.
– Strategies for parents to help promote sleep for their child
– Community resources and services.
Our Sleep and Your New Baby sessions are available to all parents and adults caring for babies from birth to 12 weeks of age. Together we will discuss infant sleep patterns as well as how their baby uses cues to communicate their needs. During the session, families have the opportunity to connect with other adults who are caring for newborns. Questions and concerns are answered with evidence based information so that they can make informed choices for their families. There is no fee for the session.
Sessions are offered at EarlyON sites throughout the Region. Families can register online http://www.earlyyearsinfo.ca/sleep-sessions.html or by phoning any of the EarlyON sites.
The session is 90 minutes following which families are invited to tour the EarlyON site.
Stacey McCormick is an EarlyON Child and Family Centre Supervisor, for the YMCAs of Cambridge & Kitchener-Waterloo. Stacey is also the mom of two boys and one of the Sleep and Your New Baby facilitators.
Editor’s Note: check out this article about one mom’s reflections and insights on those early, sleep-deprived years.