Sleep is a funny thing when it comes to littles. Parents agonize over how to help their child be a good sleeper, making sure that they are instilling healthy sleep habits by creating good routines and a consistent schedule, and trying their best to not create “bad habits”. But the fact is, even if you do all of that, your child can still experience some challenges with their sleep, with some of these challenges seeming to be a bit uncommon in the world of sleep.
However, short of a medical diagnosis of sleep apnea or the rarely diagnosed insufficient melatonin production, many of these more uncommon sleep challenges can still have simple explanations and be more easily resolved without having to go to the doctor and invest in medical intervention.
When I was expecting my first child, I probably did more reading than I did throughout my entire academic career. I was determined to know everything there was to know about having a baby, raising a child, and everything that had anything at all to do with parenting.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the limitless amount of information out there, and how conflicted the various experts were with each other’s points of view. Even among well-renowned medical professionals, the differences in opinions that I read about were so conflicting: one person would say that one thing was absolutely essential, but then the next person would absolutely denounced it as objectively wrong or harmful by another. I ran into this everywhere.
As most parents do, I took that information, analyzed it, filtered everything through a combination of scientific research and common sense, and came up with a plan that I was comfortable with. But one thing I was never completely sure about, mainly because nobody seemed to have a clear answer, was whether I could sleep train while I was breastfeeding.
Does this sound familiar to you?
Picture yourself finally getting your grumpy baby down for her afternoon nap and you sit down for a much needed moment to yourself only to hear a loud vehicle (of course it is!) roaring down the street. Just like that, your Sleeping Little is wide awake and mad and your precious "me-time" is gone… NOT a good combination.
Or perhaps you live in the country and you’re finding yourself being woken up at dawn by a wailing infant who has adorable (but ridiculously loud) squirrels chitter-chattering in the tree next to their window.
Environmental noises are a fact of life that you can’t do much about… but there IS something you can do about your baby’s ability to sleep through the noise. In my experience, white noise machines can be a lifesaver when it comes to helping babies fall asleep — and stay asleep.
I'm hoping that I might be able to change some minds here today.
It won’t be easy, obviously, because when is it ever? But on parenting issues, there are so many emotional ties and hardened beliefs that enter into the equation that make swaying someone’s personal beliefs nearly impossible.
As parents, we bear an enormous responsibility. Far beyond the basic tenets of parenting, which includes feeding, clothing, and raising your child. We also take our job seriously - teaching our children how to become strong, independent, viable members of our society, no matter their age or where they go.
No surprise than that we take these decisions very, very seriously.
The other day, I was browsing through Facebook and I came across this brilliant video of a author giving an analogy for parenting teenagers, and how it's like a roller coaster. While my two littles are many years away from entering their teenage years (thank goodness!), I couldn't help but watch the 90 second video. I'm so glad I did, because in this video, I heard a message that I find myself telling parents when we're embarking on their child's sleep journey -
Watch the video to see what I mean.
Do you want to know something that really gets me fired up?
It’s when Moms (either online or in real life) are talking about sleep, and I hear comments like this:
“You should just enjoy getting up to nurse all night – someday he’ll be all grown up and you’ll miss it.”
“It's all part of having children. Going without sleep is par for the course!”
Or my all-time favorite…
“Well, you’ll just have to figure out how to deal with it!”
As the parent of a new baby, the number of questions you’re going to find yourself asking are, to put it mildly, astronomical.
The old saying about babies not coming with instructions has cemented itself in parental lore for a good reason. Even after spending nine months doing endless research on what to expect when baby arrives, as soon as we’re sent home from the hospital with our little ones, there’s an unavoidable feeling of unpreparedness.
Every baby is different, after all, so no manual, no set of instructions, no amount of coaching from friends and family, is going to prepare you for your child in particular. And since this is just about the biggest responsibility that a human being can have, to raise another living person, we feel an incredible obligation to get it right.
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.