Babies really are tricky little things. Just when you think you know what they're up to they go and change it all. Small babies and routines can really seem elusive at times, and yet all the experts tell you a routine is the only way to stay sane...
Here at SnoozeShade HQ we are huge advocates of non-judgemental parenting. If it works for you, it works for you and never mind anyone else. But that's not to say we can't all benefit from some tips and advice now and then. So, want to hear more about the top three baby sleep problems you need to know more about? Read on...
What 'baby sleep problem'?
Put bluntly, a sleep issue is only a problem if it affects you adversely. If your baby is up until 11pm each night and you're perfectly happy with that, then it's really not a problem. So take no notice of Great Aunty when she tells you you're 'making a rod for your own back' each time you choose to rock your baby to sleep. If it isn't a problem for you, it shouldn't be a problem for her.
BUT, if your baby's sleep is causing you and your family some kind of upset, then perhaps it could be classed as a problem. If you're exhausted and want to make some changes, then again- it's a problem.
So what are the top three baby sleep problems?
Baby won't fall asleep independently
If feeding/ rocking/ bouncing/ patting your baby is the only way that your baby is able to fall asleep, and you'd really like her to be able to, then don't fret. There are ways to make positive changes.
Babies are creatures of habit, and let's face it - who wouldn't want to be held as they fall asleep? You are only doing what comes naturally as a parent after all, and comforting our babies is the first thing we want to do when they're upset or cranky through tiredness. Also, parenting is exhausting! If you know that your baby is more likely to fall asleep if you rock her in her pram for 10 minutes first, then why would you not do that? You need down time too, right?
The problem occurs when your baby wakes in the night. If she sleeps through, then move along. But if she doesn't then this is for you. When your baby wakes in the night (and we all wake at some point, it's just that some of us need some help to get back to sleep again) she is going to need you to help her nod off once more. So the theory goes that if you teach your baby to fall asleep independently then she will eventually be able to do this herself through the night, when she no longer needs a feed.
The jury has long since been out when it comes to sleep training, and there are firm camps of parents who do and parents who don't. We don't judge, and if you decide that sleep training is the right course of action for you then it could help. If you're not keen, then rest assured your baby's reliance on you will fade as she grows older.
Baby wants to drop a nap
When babies decide to drop one of their daytime naps, it is always much harder for the parents to deal with! Nap time was invented for parents, after all. But it happens to us all, and it can be tricky. At first many babies decide they want to dop their naps before they are truly ready. And this can result in an overtired and cranky baby, plus an over tired and cranky parent too. Signs that your baby is not ready to drop a nap:
- Falls asleep on short car journeys
- Shows signs of being over tired
- Finds it difficult to fall asleep at bedtime (due to being overtired)
- Wakes through the night (again, due to being overtired)
This is where a good routine will help you. But do bear in mind that from around the age of 12 months it is usual to drop one nap. So prepare! Next step, baby wants to drop naps altogether... this usually happens any time from around 18 months but you may well find that your baby will need at least one nap a day until the age of 3, or even 4. Getting them to agree may not be so easy though!
Baby is ready to move from a cot to a bed
It's a big transition, and one that tends to be a big problem for many. Whatever your situation (if you bed share, room share or baby is in her own room), moving to a big bed can be fraught with problems if you're not careful. Read this post for more info, and some tips on how to handle the transition.
For more guidance on which sleep training tools are available we have compiled a short guide to the top experts techniques so you don't have to wade through the whole book before making an informed choice.