A common question from parents is does my child have a sleep problem? It’s not difficult to understand their confusion. Hey, don’t all babies have trouble sleeping?! As parents of brand new babies, we can find it challenging to adjust to the new baby’s sleep schedule. When baby starts sleeping longer hours, we are thrilled just to get that extra hour or two in bed! Then when sleep starts deteriorating, we can blame it on a multitude of developmental factors like crawling, teething, learning to stand and walk… the list goes on!
However, it’s important to remember that poor sleep is pretty terrible for both you AND your child. It negatively affects a child’s daytime mood, behavior and learning. The odd late bedtime due to a fun day out won’t make that much difference in the long run, but lost minutes every single day can build to hours over a longer period of time. Those hours can accumulate to a point where baby’s sleep can take a rapid turn for the worse, without you actually having done anything differently at all.
Having enough sleep every day gives them their best chance to play, learn and socially interact to their fullest.
So how do we know if baby is getting enough sleep, what are we looking for? There are some signs to help identify poor sleep among babies and infants. If your little one finds it difficult to fall asleep, or is waking at night and needing your help in getting back to sleep, y’all will be feeling a little sleepy in the daytime! These are signs that are fairly easy to spot: yawning, crankiness, not engaging fully in activities. And, there are also some more subtle signs that are easy to miss, such as waking too early or too late in the morning, falling asleep too early or too late in the evening and having difficulties getting up every day. Although my dream as a new parent was to have that elusive sleep-in once in a while, that extra hour in bed for the little one may be symptomatic of not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. Those fussy hours in the evening (beyond the newborn phase) may a sign that baby may be missing the perfect bedtime, which may exacerbate the difficulties with falling asleep and increase the chances of wakings at night.
Getting your child on to an age-appropriate schedule from the early months is an important step towards getting them the sleep they need to bounce happily and eagerly through every day. They should sleep well at night, wake easily in the morning and take their regular naps. With a good schedule, you can say goodbye to fussiness and say hello to cheerful morning smiles and bedtime hugs!
To save you the time in finding the perfect sleep schedule for your child, contact me directly (and go grab yourself a coffee instead!)