Written by Jana Angeles
In the first few weeks a baby is born, you’re either blessed with a peaceful sleeping baby or one that has grown to be fussy and demands your attention with cries and wails. If you’re a first time parent and have seen your baby in the first few months adapt good sleeping habits, expect it to change as they grow and develop. It’s easy to feel misguided and think that you’re not doing all you can to help your baby sleep well.
You may second guess your methods and are trying to wrap your head around the best solutions when it comes to their sleeping problems. If they haven’t been sleeping well lately, here are some solutions we hope can help your little one fall into a sweet slumber like they used to.
Problem 1: Being Patient During Developmental Milestones
Your baby would have learnt how to crawl and for first time parents, it’s exciting to see your little one adapt a new skill as part of their milestone. You may be up at the crack of dawn with them, showing enthusiasm and pride over something so simple but in reality, their sleep schedule is now out of their routine. Crawling isn’t even part of the problem either as in no time, your child will begin to walk, talk and do all kinds of things that we find fascinating in a little human.
Unfortunately, with the “occasional” staying up late, this throws them off out of their sleep schedule so while it’s tempting to stay excited and ask your little one to repeat a crawl or say the word ‘mum’, it’s important to try and resist temptation and put them in bed at a reasonable time.
- If you’re excited to see your child adapt a new skill, take time to practise during the day instead. This will keep their sleeping schedule on track and you won’t have to struggle putting them to bed.
- Let them move around if need be (walk, crawl, talk, tumble, turn). This will help them feel like they’ve worked out, using up all their energy levels and hopefully resulting in them feeling tired and going to sleep at a reasonable hour.
Problem 2: They Wake Up On Their Own Clock
It’s always a mystery when it comes to your baby waking up on their own terms. They may be feeling a temperature change – hot or cold, or they seem to suffer from a tummy ache or just want a sip of milk to help them get back to sleep. Either way, it’s frustrating for parents when it comes to meeting the demands of the baby, especially if it seems to be happening at the crack of dawn.
Otherwise, they could be going through a rough patch and just want to sleep next to you. Babies can be unpredictable creatures and their demands do change but waking up on their own terms can create chaos around the household!
- Show comfort to your child by rocking them back to sleep or carrying them and walking around too. While it is tough to do this when feeling sleep deprived, remember it can take a few minutes to get them to sleep again.
- Just remember that no matter how frustrating it is to wake up at odd hours of the morning, just remember that it is just a phase and eventually, your baby will be able to soothe themselves to sleep.
Problem 3: The Timing of Naps Are Terrible
Sleeping late can cause a lot of problems for your baby if they don’t go to bed at reasonable hour. This means that if they’re in bed at around midnight and wake up at around 10am the next day, their routine is out of order again.
Not only that, but they will be taking naps either too close to dinner or actual bedtime. It’s important to get your kids in a good routine so you can schedule their naps properly. If not, they will be sleeping later during the day and will persist to stay awake further into the night.
- Keep a sleep journal and monitor your baby’s sleep schedule. This can keep you in check on what their ideal bedtime should be and work towards that.
- If you know your child hasn’t been sleeping well, monitor their energy levels between 4pm to 5pm. If they are happy, assume that their sleeping pattern is all good to go. If they lose their temper or are just cranky throughout the period, you probably need to get them to adapt better sleeping habits!
Problem 4: They Are Out of Routine
If you’ve come back from a family trip or a weekend getaway with your baby, this could mean coming back to a completely different structure to what they were used to before.
It’s a struggle having to adapt a new routine again because your baby may struggle to soothe themselves to sleep. The things that used to work may not so be prepared to find new ways to soothe your child back into a sweet routine again.
- Even if you are overseas with your baby and find it tempting to stay up late each time, it’s important to keep a healthy routine in place for them. This will help the transition be a lot easier once you come back home.
- Give yourself a couple of days to undertake a “sleep refresher”. Starting from square one isn’t ideal but once you’ve fed and bathed your child, it only makes sense to put them to bed. Repeat if necessary and remain positive and patient during this period.
All babies will have sleeping problems at some point so don’t point out that you know someone that has a less-than-problematic little one on their hands. It’s natural to feel like you aren’t doing the right thing so trust your gut where necessary.
Along the way, you will find effective methods and solutions to help your baby snooze rightfully again. In the end, they will be able to sound asleep at a reasonable hour in no time.