This is a question I get asked a lot when I’m meeting with my families. It's not always obvious when a child is getting tired, and frankly, sometimes our babies’ emotions seem like a huge mystery! Here's how to recognize "sleep signs" so you can get your child to bed BEFORE they become overtired!
Do you recognize yourself in the question below?
"Help! Why can’t I recognize my four-month-old’s sleep signs? No yawning, no eye rubbing. He seems to go from quite happy to very upset in a split second and then it takes forever to settle him down and get him to sleep."
I don’t know about you, but in my house, we have exactly two weeks before my littles start their school year. In their district, school starts a few days before Labor Day weekend, and while the early start might seem a bit unfair, I think it’s a sweet blessing for their teachers to have a long weekend right away! Not that they "need" it, since ALL of the children are docile, mild, calm beings in the classroom. (Mine are not always included in that group, especially my oldest, ha.)
With that being said, I’m pretty confident that I’m not the only mom that has some work to do in order to get my kids ready for their first day of school, and mom to mom, there’s zero judgement coming from my end.
I know... I work as a sleep coach for babies, children, and adults, and it’s easy to think that I’m going to judge you for the late bedtimes, unenforced rules, inconsistent schedules, or any of the many "bad habits" that may have taken place over your summer vacation.
This week’s question comes from a call I had with a family this past week.
“My 11-month-old goes to bed with a bottle and wakes for a bottle in the night. How do I break her of this habit?”
Good question! When you put your baby in bed at night, it’s fine to include the bottle in her routine. You could start with a bath, and then pajamas and then her bottle and a story or two. Having something in between the bottle and going into their bed is REALLY important, as you want your baby to stay awake during their bedtime routine.
Today, I have a question from a mom who downloaded my free 5 tips from my website. She writes, "I've been working on implementing your tips for about a week now, but I'm having a really hard time keeping my baby awake through her bottle at the bedtime routine. What can I do?"
Well, that's a great question. Really, when you're working on helping your child sleep well, the number one rule is to make sure that you keep your baby wide awake through any feeds. That's the breast or the bottle.
This week I wanted to talk a bit about the bedtime routine, and the number one mistake parents make when they are creating a bedtime routine. Nowadays, if you go to any baby site on the Web, search “my baby won’t sleep,” or whatever you’re looking to resolve in regards to sleep, almost every single site will tell you about the importance of a bedtime routine. I absolutely agree!
I think a bedtime routine is a crucial first step in creating predictability to your baby and teaching your baby that it’s time to make that transition from day into night. Even adults have routines. We all do things in the same order before bed every night. Without them, we would feel a little anxious or out of sorts, and it would be harder to sleep. So it definitely is important, but there is one mistake that parents make.
I am a Pediatric Sleep Consultant who works with families to help them resolve their littles' sleep issues. As a mom of two littles herself, Katie has walked in the shoes of her clients and is passionate about helping them re-discover peaceful sleeps in their own homes.