Better Sleep for You and Baby (Tonight!)
When More Help is Needed
Some parents have used a technique called “behavior shaping,” a process described in Early Child Development and Care to change Baby’s behavior by gradually withdrawing parental attention as he falls to sleep. Most parents cannot tolerate the “cold turkey” approach to letting their infant cry himself back to sleep, and even the originator of that practice no longer recommends it.
For a small number of infants, sleep problems stem from the infant-parent relationship. If Baby does not feel secure and confident that his parents will be there to meet his needs, bedtime is frightening, and he has difficulty relaxing and settling to sleep. Your pediatrician can help you find an attachment therapist to help you assess whether your baby’s sleep problems stem from insecure attachment.
Sometimes a mother’s depression may contribute to a baby’s feelings of insecurity. In other cases, extreme sleep deprivation may cause depression in a new parent. Consult with your own physician if you have had significant changes in mood or appetite, feelings of hopelessness, or especially thoughts of suicide. Seek help also if you feel hostile toward your baby or feel like striking or shaking her when she does not sleep. Shaking an infant, even mildly, can cause serious injury or death.
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