Sleep: adults simply love it, so what’s up with babies?!
Babies come into the world knowing very little. You could say they know how to eat, sleep, and poop, but that simply wouldn’t be true. Many babies struggle with how to sleep and how to breastfed and how to pass gas. The learning period can be very stressful, especially for new parents who are desperate to see their baby happily snoozing away. New parents have this image in their head before the reality of baby sleep is realized.
In the first year of your baby’s life, their sleep is in constant turmoil. There are good sleepers and bad sleepers. When struggling with a bad sleeper or a rough patch try to remember these important things:
They will outgrow it
I promise your baby will learn to sleep. It may take much longer than you ever imagined, but time marches on and your child will not resist sleep forever. Your child will outgrow the 15 minute naps and eventually take those amazing 90 minute naps. Even if the sleeping patterns were growing great and suddenly have turned on their head, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Every other parent has been there, and yet they are still alive and most have moved on to have more children!
Breath deeply and let it go
I have stressed myself out beyond a necessary point concerning my daughter’s sleep habits. Your baby will sleep when she needs to, even if it feel like she never sleeps at all. Your baby will drop a nap when she is ready. Your baby will sleep through the night and not wake up to nurse/eat when she is ready. Let the expectation of a perfect sleeping baby go.
The resistance and crying is normal
Some babies treat sleep like the plague. They don’t realize it makes them happier and helps them grow big and strong. My daughter screams at nap time and bed time. She has no ability to soothe herself to sleep so I am there by her side the whole time. This can put a mommy or daddy’s body into such a tense state because no one likes their baby to cry.
There’s a million ways to go about bed time, but you need insistence to break the resistance. Use a phrase every time you put your baby down in the crib or lay with your baby for a nap. I tell my daughter it’s “night night time” and will not take her out of the room after that point. While I don’t personally use or recommend crying it out, I do accept she will cry and I will try to soothe her the best I can.
Don’t get caught up on another baby’s sleep schedule
Your friend wants to tell you how her baby goes down so easy. Your mother wants to tell you the baby is hungry and needs rice cereal to sleep well. Your favorite Youtube says their six week old sleeps through the night.
That is fine and dandy, but that’s not your baby. And that’s ok! Your baby is the best thing in the world. Think of how special they are. They will find their rhythm when it’s time. You are not doing anything wrong.
Be mindful of wake times
Babies of different ages should be put down for a nap after a certain amount of time awake. For my six month old it’s 2 hours. So two hours after her last nap she’s generally tired even if she’s not showing any signs of stopping. Putting your baby down for a nap using age-appropriate wake times can be very helpful in reducing over tiredness which can make it harder for your baby to go to sleep and stay asleep! The opposite of what you want.
To see how long your sleepy baby should be awake hop on over to preciouslittlesleep.com
Until your baby is a sleeping pro, take time to remember these things when you’re stressed and out of answers (and keep the coffee brewing).