“My baby is 5 weeks old and I don’t understand what’s wrong with him. Breastfeeding is going really well, and he relaxes and falls asleep at the breast, but the problem comes when I leave him in his crib. He just won’t sleep! He wakes up after a short time, and it starts all over again. I don’t understand why he doesn’t stay quiet in his crib. It’s as if he has a sort of radar. On the other hand, if I leave him asleep in my arms, he can stay there for hours. I feel like he is he is playing tricks with me!”Anonimos query in LactApp*
This is a very common question, and we hear it with different ages of newborn babies, as parents are surprised about it, when they first arrive home and wonder: why does my baby not sleep in the crib?
Even if our babies are born in the 21st century, biologically, they are not very different from babies born in prehistoric times. Knowing this fact will allow you to understand why children do many things that may not seem to make sense to you.
Babies need the presence of an adult to survive; when a baby is not protected by an adult, it is at risk of dying. That’s why babies have specialized, for their pure survival, in continuously demanding the presence of an adult.
A baby born today has the same needs as a baby born 2 million years ago: warmth, love, food, and adult interaction. A baby that is “forgotten” in a meadow while the mother picks berries is a baby at risk, as it can be eaten by any animal or freeze to death. So, babies still come with a built-in “loss of human contact” alarm today.
It doesn’t matter if they now live in a safe house; they have a beautiful crib, and the house where they live is heated to ensure that their body temperature won’t drop. No matter what, if a baby loses contact with their mother, it will burst into an almost immediate cry, demanding attention and making sure the mother is close by.
But probably nobody has ever told you this before, and it can be very surprising when you have a new baby in your care for the first time. Babies are not as we have been told, and they have specific needs that may seem impossible to understand at first.
Taking care of a baby day and night is the hardest and most exhausting job there is, so always keep in mind that this is their need and that what mothers and parents can do to survive this is to adapt as much as possible to their baby: try babywearing, co-sleeping and holding your baby in your arms. This is what babies expect and what they ask from us. And, in case there is any doubt, attending to their needs is not spoiling them.
“To spoil means to raise badly, with little affection, without covering a child’s basic needs.”Dr. Carlos Gonzales (paediatritian and author)
In this article, you can find out more about research on how to put your baby to sleep.