What is a damn baby

Family: Here's what to do when the child just won't fall asleep

The books on the subject of “Babies and Sleep” fill meter-long shelves in bookstores, one with the drastic title “Damn shit, fall asleep!” A controversial guide, but also a bestseller, is “Every child can learn to sleep”. But how? This is what a lecture will be given by the experienced early childhood advisor Marion Hirsekorn on Tuesday in Neusäß. She has been an expert in early childhood development for almost 20 years, gives lectures, gives courses and supports families in difficult phases. The 53-year-old educator and mother of two adult children came through her own daughter: "She was a screaming child who yelled for an hour and a half every evening before falling asleep."

Child does not sleep: going for a walk and being carried around counteracts sleep

Millet grain knows the needs of many parents and knows what flowers the struggle for a few hours of sleep sometimes brings. While senseless driving for a walk in the car or carrying around for hours around the apartment are still harmless, recently some people have been resorting to medication to keep the child quiet. "I don't think so at all," says Marion Hirsekorn, as expected, "because parents should help their children with their difficulties falling asleep". It can be observed that it is increasingly being achieved "that the child is always calm", his crying is perceived as a disturbance. It serves to break down stress hormones. In addition, drugs do not eliminate the cause. This brings the family counselor to the most pressing questions:

Why can't my child fall asleep? The child is often laid down too late and the baby's first signals are overlooked: avoidance of eye contact, erratic movements, stroking over the ear and hair, whining. "Some parents then give even more stimuli, carry the child around, making it even more difficult to fall asleep," says Hirsekorn. Especially in the evening it is important that the day ends slowly, that you always go to bed at about the same time. "This is particularly difficult when dad comes home in the evening, half an hour before the baby is supposed to sleep, and then there is still play."

And from the age of six months, there should be a set bedtime ritual so the baby knows what's next. A quiet, darkened environment and, if possible, the same sleeping place is also helpful.

Sleep for the baby: patience and listening to signals lead to success

What if the child still doesn't fall asleep and cries? “The parents have to learn to listen,” says the teacher. Is the child whining or is it really in need? It is better to wait a few minutes before reacting and then proceed step by step: go into the room, talk to the child in a soothing "singsong", initially without physical contact - wait. Then put your hand on your chest, maybe put your baby's arms on if he is rowing - wait and see. Finally, offer a pacifier (do not stuff it in!). “At least ten minutes have now passed, in which the baby had the opportunity to calm down,” in the calming presence of the mother or father. That is also the difference to “Ferbern” (after the author of “Every child can learn to sleep”). According to that method, the parents leave the room and leave the child alone. “But you shouldn't react according to the clock, but rather according to the state of the child,” says millet grain. Nevertheless, one should keep in mind that self-regulation can only be expected from babies from around six months old.

Does the father have worse chances? Not if he is also a real attachment figure for the child and spends a lot of time with him. It is crucial that he can comfort the child. Some tend to send the father, especially in the weaning phase. Even then it is important that the mothers consciously draw the line and “get through” this important development step together with the child.

Why are many problems homemade? The child screams, the parents fall into actionism. "Babies quickly learn that they can make a difference," explains Hirsekorn. “For example: I wake up and cry - mom comes and gives me a bottle / pacifier / hugs me. That's great, but the wrong answer. ”Parents often offer far too much and provide additional stimuli. This creates a vicious circle, because the child thinks it must always be like this and will vehemently demand it in the future. The child's brain runs at full speed, especially in the phase of major developmental steps (crawling, running, teething, solid food), sometimes even at night.

If the child does not fall asleep: "Parental nervousness is transmitted to the baby"

All that really needs is the signal: I know you have a lot to deal with right now, I'm here. Many also underestimate the transfer of their own feelings to the child: "The parents' nervousness is transferred to the baby, it then takes on the control function according to the motto: When mom is like this, something can be wrong." Another classic is: the child is asleep in your arms, as soon as you put it down, it wakes up and screams. "Whoever puts the child down full of tension, with bated breath, will often fail," says the counselor, because the child immediately senses that something is wrong. Better to make a clear farewell, preferably while awake.

How can something change if you've done everything “wrong” for months? "You have to have the strength inside and be absolutely convinced that you urgently want to change something and thus not do anything bad to the child," says Marion Hirsekorn. If you are firmly determined and have a good, secure bond with your child, the changeover usually only takes three to four nights, according to her many years of experience.

Information evening “All about sleeping with children” with Marion Hirsekorn on Tuesday, March 21st, at 8 pm in the St. Agidius meeting place (Bgm.-Kaifer-Str. 6) in Neusäß. The organizer is the AWO Neusäß, the evening is free.

You can find more helpful information here in our family guide.

Editor's note: This article is a contribution from our online archive.