In this third instalment, I call out the common myth in sleep training manuals that your baby will flourish if you impose a routine on them. Apparently all cookie cutter babies LOVE routine.
I call horseshit to this one for a number of reasons.
1. Breastfeeding is the biological norm and breastfeeding on demand not schedule is well known as being the best way to ensure your baby’s needs are met and you have bountiful supply. If our human infants were indeed designed to flourish with routine then surely their natural source of nutrition should reflect that AND it doesn’t.
2. Maybe cookie cutter kids love routine but the real life babies I know are unique individuals and just like the unique individuals getting around as grown ups, not everyone likes routine. Some people prefer spontaneity and novelty or on a more even level, many of us just prefer a calm, flexible rhythm and flow rather than rigid timetabled life.
3. Leading on from point 2, life is unpredictable. Teaching children who sit on the Autistic Spectrum who absolutely DO have an intense need for routine and predictability has shown me just how unpredictable life can be even when you do try to adhere to routines.These children and others who love routine by nature or have only ever known routine, often struggle with their rigidity once they are out in the world. So knowing this, it puzzles me then to know why we are told by these ‘experts’ that out littlest people will benefit from their strict schedules.
Some predictability and above all reliability in their day, that’s what helps a baby.
A calm, flowing rhythm, flexible and evolving to meet your unique growing baby’s needs.
Surely that would be a better aim for parents but that wouldn’t sell books and also wouldn’t provide the Sleep Whisperer with an ‘out’ when it doesn’t work for you (most love having caveats of ‘I guarantee this WILL work but only IF you follow my plan to a tee’).
So if you have a non routine, non cookie cutter kid on your hands wondering why they don’t seem to agree with this routine shit of feeding at X time, followed by a 10 mins play, before winding down to sleep at 10am and not to wake until 12pm, fear not. Your kid is normal. Watch your child and follow THEIR rhythm no matter how offbeat it is and you’ll soon find your own unique flow.
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