What does yoga have to do with baby and toddler sleep?

Last week, while attempting to do a headstand without any props, this metaphor came to mind.  Maybe it was because I had more blood than normal flowing to my brain?  Whatever the reason, my yoga class inspired this article.  Rest well!

What does yoga have to do with baby and toddler sleep?  In the big picture, really nothing at all, but yesterday, while sweating it out in my Hot Vital Flow class, I did find some interesting parallels.  This articles looks at how we teach our bodies how to perform a task, and how babies learn to sleep can mirror this process.

To begin with, I am no yogi.  In fact, I am far from it.  I started going to this class because the teacher is simply amazing to watch.  She moves like sunlight through the air.  In this metaphor, she is your best friend’s baby who has slept through the night since he or she was born.  I, on the other hand, am stiff and need lots of props to get through class.  I am the baby whose parents have bought everything they can in hopes that this one last thing will help their child sleep a little bit longer.   

I have been going to this class on and off for about a year now.  Yesterday I had a break though.  I actually got into a full head stand without needing props.  The woman next to me, who is amazing in her own right, stumbled.  When she came back up from her toppling over she said, “Wow! It was so easy yesterday.  I wonder what is going on for me?”  I have heard a similar question from numerous parents.  “My baby was a great sleeper, but now they are not.  What happened?”

One of the common myths about babies’ sleep is that babies come hard wired to sleep.  In reality all babies have to learn this skill.  Some babies take right to it, and some babies need coaching.  Another common myths is that once a baby learns how to sleep, then parents will never have a sleepless night again.  When one looks at the research all babies and toddlers have the potential to regress.  There are numerous factors that regress a little one’s sleep.  

I see my experience with yoga as a metaphor to baby and toddler sleep.  Just like with yoga we come to sleep uniquely on our own.  Some of us, like me, need a lot more coaching and props to get it.  These are the babies who you hear about needing constant retraining.  They need a lot of repetition and reinforcements with the learning.  These are the children who are more effected by changes in the environment and changes developmentally.

Some of us take to yoga like it was our destiny just like some babies who fall into sleep as easy as pie.   For those babies who sleep comes to them so easily, they can have regression, just like the yogi next to me.  They can go to sleep with a lot of new information in their minds, and it just keeps them up at night.  It is exciting for babies and toddlers to learn knew things.

So, the next time you find that your child is suddenly not sleep or has never been a good sleep, take a moment to reflect.  Some questions you can ask yourself: “What does my baby/toddler need to learn how to sleep?”  “What could be going on right now that is causing a regression?”  As always, let me know if you have any questions!

Is Melatonin Safe for Children?

Just had this question yesterday, "Can I give my child Melatonin to help them sleep?"  This is a good, quick article that reviews the information.  Basically it states that we don't have enough information to really know if the use of Melatonin harms a baby or toddler's brain.  My impression is: if there is not a medical issue such as reflux, colic, low weight gain, illness, or some other issue that you are in conversation with your Dr about, then most likely there is a behavioral component that needs to be addressed.   Click here for more information