Sharpening our Saw meaning we continually focus on learning so we can help babies as comfortably and effectively as possible.
On Tuesday Kristin Daley, PhD who specializes in sleep generously shared her knowledge with us. Part of what is on every infant and child’s “to dos” is to learn to sleep.
We learned about circadian rhythms, and sleep through the life span and lots more. We shared notes about the parent’s role as teacher. That is, the parents set the routines and environment which make regular sleep more likely to happen. This is followed by observing and adjusting the routines and the environment as baby grows and changes. Ideal environment for a young infant is one which is safe,flat and firm with good air flow. Setting the stage for sleep also includes a consistent place; darkening the sleep space; and swaddling for most infants until about 3 months of age. Also the before bed routine of feeding, massage, and whatever other subtle cues your infant may respond to such as diffusing lavender oil.
So why is this important to us as occupational and physical therapists? Sleep is an essential life function and learning to sleep begins early. When we are knowledgeable as therapists and can help parents understand it, we are much more likely to be working with a well rested baby. A well rested baby is much more likely to indulge us during therapy and join in our antics! That is, the ways we want the baby to look; the positions we put them in; the myofascial release; and all the rest are so much more able to happen when the baby is well-rested!
Kristin was extremely knowledgeable and practical and we wish we could have spent even longer with her!
Thank you Kristin Daley, PhD for so generously sharing with us!
Note: While I use the term “learn to sleep”, you can’t really teach a human to sleep. What babies can learn though are the cues and routines that suggest to them that sleep is coming and it is a good thing!