Click to listen to the audio…
A sleep fairy godmother for new Moms and Dads
This is one thing most new parents want MORE OF.
Unfortunately, a newborn baby IS a sleep disrupting machine, without an OFF button. The nightly sleep interruptions, take their toll………
If only there was a sleep fairy godmother, who could wave a magic wand and grant EVERYONE, in the house, a good night’s sleep.
Applying for the job
A group of researchers from the University of California’s School of Nursing, decided to apply for the job. They put together a special package, to help parents create an environment conducive to MORE sleeping.
The Sleep Hygiene Intervention Package for Parents, SHIPP for short, focused on making minor modifications to parental bedrooms, so that
- Baby was close at hand
- The lights were kept low and
- Noise was “eliminated”
They waved their magic wand on 109 low income expectant couples….
Dispensing a little magic
Each of the couples received……..
A bassinet, a night light and a white noise machine.
The bassinet was to help Moms keep junior nearby, allowing Mom to be aroused more gently and minimizing baby’s vocalizations.
The light, was to stop melatonin, the body’s night valet, from hiding out in the cupboard.
The white noise machine, was to create a consistent background noise, that drowned out intermittent noises, like traffic, the furniture creaking or baby crying.
So what happened ?
The job interview
Since, the researchers were applying for the position of the sleep fairy godmother, they needed to prove the SHIPP package worked.
To do this, they strapped an actigraph onto the wrists of the Mom’s AND Dad’s, and kept tab on their levels of activities for 48 hours :
- before baby arrived
- 1 month after birth
- 3 months after birth
Not quite. I would love to tell you that they all slept happily ever after, but this is the real world, not a fairy tale.
Mom’s and Dad’s using the equipment, did benefit.
The benefit was seen in the numbers and in perceptions. The actigraph recordings, suggested more sleeping happened in the night. And in the questionnaires used to assess sleep levels, both Moms and Dads reported, better nights.
But, the research team found, the SHIPP pack was not always deployed.
It only works if you do it
Overall, Mom’s loved the night light and the bassinet, both were widely used and appreciated.
There was a love / hate relationship with the noise machine.
Some people HATED IT. The white noise was just that NOISE. And, the only way to deal with the intruding noise, was to turn off the machine. I am guessing, I would have been one of the HATERS. I cannot tolerate a ticking clock or whirling fan, when I am sleeping. And, I am not a GOOD SLEEPER, at the best of times.
I’m LOVING IT
For some, the noise machine was the magic wand – THEY LOVED IT. And so did baby.
This is not a big surprise…….
The inspiration for including a noise machine in the SHIPP package, came from a study performed at the Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospitals in London, in 1990. In this study, the medical team surreptitiously hid noise machines in the cribs of 2-7 day old infants.
When they turned them on, 75 % of the little ones fell asleep, within 5 minutes. When they weren’t on, the babies fussed and cried. The team concluded, white noise was an easy way for Moms to settle difficult babies.
Effectively making a noise machine, a baby off switch……
I want a noise machine
Well, you can go ahead and buy one, but it’s probably not necessary….
The idea behind a noise machine is to provide “a noise” that is constant and loud enough, to drown out other noises which can cause arousal / stimulation.
There are quite a few DYI options …
- If you really want white noise, an untuned radio, playing in the background, will hum a way,
- Another option is to Google white noise and download a recording or two, to play on your iPod or mp3 player, during the night
- A third and final option, plug in a “noisy” device, such as a fan or a ticking clock
It’s worth a try……….
If it doesn’t drive you crazy, it might just help everyone in the bedroom, get a little more sleep.
The call of a hungry belly, must be answered. But, while providing for the need allows for bonding, it can be a little boring. So what do women get up to ?
Sleep deprived new Moms think “switching” to formula, especially for the night feed, helps keep baby satisfied and sleeping. Research shows they’re mistaken…
Does it feel like your baby is keeping you awake deliberately ? You’re right. The NEED for night feeds is programmed into some babies by their Daddy’s genes.