3 Reasons Why Babies Cannot Sleep
Our baby won’t sleep!
“Our 9 months old baby has never napped more than 30 mins each nap and he has never slept through the night since he was born!”
“My baby can only fall asleep if I rock her or nurse her to sleep! She doesn’t seem to nap for very long either – only 45 minutes and then she would wake up!”
“Our 18 months old toddler still wakes up 3 times a night and it takes ages for her to fall back to sleep!”
“Our 3 years old need me to lie in bed with him and he can take an hour or so to fall asleep!”
These are what I hear from tired parents everyday in my line of work as a baby and child sleep consultant.
These parents usually share with me these common sleep scenarios that create all these sleep issues for their children in the first place.
Common Sleep Scenarios That May Potentially Create A Sleep Problem
1. Nursing Baby To Sleep
The most common problem I come across as a sleep consultant is babies who have never learned to fall asleep without a breast in their mouths.
This is a popular method that most moms I know swear by and whether it was by choice or by accident, they end up using their breasts to settle their baby to sleep. This method certainly provides an easy way to settle your baby but the question is, does it help your baby learn healthy independent sleeping skills?
2. Rocking And Cuddling Your Baby To Sleep
If you always rock your baby to sleep, he will never get a chance to learn how to sleep alone and self-settle. Just like if you always carry him, he will never get a chance to learn how to crawl and therefore he will not walk. When rocking your baby becomes a regular night time routine, to help him get to sleep, it becomes a problem. Your child will get used to the idea of being rocked to sleep all the time.
Using the rocking chair, putting a baby in the stroller and going for a car ride are all sleep props that we as parents introduce to our child to get them to sleep. These are all temporary solutions and are definitely not ideal in the long run.
Are you still going to be rocking your child to sleep when they are two?
3. Co-Sleeping With Your Baby
This is another form of attachment parenting that introduced the idea of a family bed or co-sleeping. A friend of mine who is pro-attachment parenting swears by this method. Her toddler girls sleep with her and have done so since they were babies. I have nothing against parents who co-sleep with their children. Each to their own, as I always say.
Some experts believe that co-sleeping creates a peaceful and seemingly secured sleep environment with the mothers breathing pattern lulling her baby into a deep and relaxing sleep. I always advise my clients if you are going to co-sleep with your baby then please discuss this plan with your husband as well. Every 3 months, reassess the situation and see if the sleeping arrangement is still working out for all parties. If yes, then, by all means, keep the arrangement.
The Ideal Scenario For Your Baby
Instead of creating the scenarios above, think about the long-term repercussions of this. It may help you in the short run, but it will create unnecessary stress for you in the long run.
Train your child the right way from the start and it will save you having to retrain your child later on when they have developed their personality and have become more set in their ways. Implementing a new routine for a three-year-old is a lot more difficult than implementing a routine for a baby, and it will create unnecessary stress for your child even more.
Try putting your baby into her cot awake after you have done your bedtime routine. She falls asleep on her own without your help. She might cry a little. This is perfectly normal. It’s her way of unwinding before she sleeps. It’s just her releasing the stress built up over the day. When she has some partial arousal between sleep cycles, just like us adults tossing and turning and then resettling again, she will find herself in the same cot just as when she fell asleep. She would feel safe and secure and connect to the next sleep cycle on her own. She may whine, fuss and cry in between but this is very normal. Don’t rush to pick her up to soothe her right away. If you can, please wait for the magical 10 minutes.
Care for your baby, love her and cuddle her when she is awake, but when it is time to sleep, put her down in her own cot and let her fall asleep on her own just like we do. You are giving her the best gift ever, the gift of self-settling because that is the key to good sleep.
Baby and Child Sleep Expert