Craving healthy sleep for your baby doesn’t have to come with a side of guilt. Sleepless nights are synonymous with the early weeks of parenting. Almost a rite of passage. An expected, but completely unprepared for how bone-numbing tiring it can actually be, rite of passage
Sleep, or lack thereof, is quite commonly one of our greatest areas of focus as a new parent and yet typically speaking, we feel guilty for craving it. More often than not, there comes a point when we silently wish that our babies would just “get” sleep. That the chronic phase of overtiredness would just dissipate. But we battle on, wearing our sleeplessness like some sort of badge of honour. And so for some families (but not all) the quest for “healthy sleep” for their baby; sleep that is of the ideal amount, at the ideal time and for the ideal consolidated length, begins.
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For those families who have reached their edge of sleeplessness and who have decided that the way things are (the fragmented nights, the bedtime battles, and/or the unbelievably short naps) can’t persist, the following list of reasons not to feel guilty for feeling this way is for you.
Healthy Sleep For Your Baby – Working With Their Biological Needs
Pardon? Let me explain. At around the four month mark, babies reach a point in their development when their internal driving force for sleep, their circadian rhythms, matures in such a way that it is ready for a predictable pattern of sleep. As a result, our babies are naturally primed for sleep at certain points of the day via the production of the “good” sleepy hormone melatonin and the suppression of stimulating hormones that work against sleep. So. if our babies are ready for it from a biological perspective, it makes intuitive sense to start to consider how we might work with our baby’s natural drive for predictable sleep patterns, rather than against it.
Healthy Sleep For Your Baby – Predictability Is A Good Thing
Once you have made the decision to make some changes to support your little one in capturing more restorative, quality sleep – whether it be via an earlier bedtime, a sleep schedule or a consistent bedtime routine, predictability will become your new best friend. From a very early age it has been shown that our little ones learn via repetition, via patterns; they respond to “cues” and positive associations that allow them to become familiar with events and activities. Therefore, a predictable sleep schedule and routine will support your little one’s natural capacity for learning and acceptance of consolidated sleep.
Healthy Sleep For Your Baby – The Pursuit of Happiness
Have you ever heard of the term “happy wife, happy life”? It’s one of those phrases that my husband knows I despise, and because I showed this moment of weakness (totally should have known better), he now uses it more than is reasonably called for. But bother me as it may, it does ring true. Well, mostly true. My point is, a well-rested baby, one who is on target for age-appropriate, restorative sleep is typically quite happy. But an overtired baby, not so much. The residual impact of this, in the case of the well-rested baby, is a family unit who is also better rested and happier. So in this case, “happy baby, happy family”.
Give Yourself a Break
Parenting is tough. None of us are experts, and yet we put pressure on ourselves to somehow navigate this road to healthy sleep flawlessly. Don’t ever feel as though it’s too late to smooth the road to healthy sleep for your little one. It’s okay to ask for help and to consult with resources when you feel like the road has become a little too bumpy.
Written by Good Night Sleep Site Consultant.
Good Night Sleep Site provides free child and family sleep support through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We invite you to join our sleep community as we work towards Good Night Sleep Site’s mission of a healthier rested family unit. For more sleep tips, subscribe to our newsletter and visit Good Night Sleep Site.