Believe it or not, last year, I received more emails, messages, and posts to my Facebook Page than ever before! Throughout all of these correspondences, I noticed some trends, which tells me that many of you are struggling with the same sleep questions. This means that your baby, toddler, or preschooler isn’t the only one not napping, waking during the night, or experiencing a sleep regression.
I know that you hear “you’re not alone in this” all the time. But really, truly, you are not alone. Not even a little bit. There are thousands (tens of thousands!) of families who struggle with their child’s sleep. Yes, your specific sleep issues are unique, and yes, I have yet to meet two families with completely identical sleep problems, but the general themes seem to be the same.
Like most parents of small children, your time is limited. You don’t have hours in your day to scroll through hundreds of articles searching for a solution. Not to worry! I’ve taken the liberty of compiling the most-asked questions of 2014 in one place.
“My baby is 4 weeks. Can I sleep coach yet?”
In a word, no. Not yet. Your baby isn’t quite ready developmentally for sleep coaching. Most babies won’t be able to self-soothe until closer to 6 months, a few babies will be developmentally ready at 4.5 months, but that is certainly not the norm. While you wait to sleep coach, you can however encourage your child to have positive sleep associations and good nighttime sleep habits. Here are a few articles to help you through the first 6 months:
“My baby used to sleep so well, now at 4, 8, 12, 18, or 24 months, everything changed!”
Ah, the dreaded sleep regressions. These always throw families for a loop. If you’ve already sleep coached, then you know that you just have to revisit The Shuffle to help get your child’s sleep back on track. But if you haven’t yet started to sleep coach, you’ll need to get a handle on what is happening with your child’s sleep before you can get started. Read more about all of the different sleep regressions:
“My baby is suddenly waking up at 4:00 a.m. every single morning! HELP!”
Early rising is very, very common, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating when you’re the parent being awoken before the sun comes up. There really are only a few common causes of early rising, and once you figure out what is causing this with your child, it’s fairly easy to remedy. Learn more about the causes of early rising here:
“Naps are a nightmare!”
Often, I hear from parents who are worried about their child’s naps, or more commonly, lack thereof. Naps are one of the hardest things for our children to master. When you consider how frequently your child’s nap schedule changes (6 months, 15-18 months, 3-4 years), it’s no wonder that the majority of children, and parents, struggle with naps. For some naptime help, check out these articles:
“I need help with my child’s sleep schedule!”
I talk a lot about flexible routines and the importance of keeping consistent nap and bedtimes for small children. Many parents that I talk to are astounded by their child’s natural bedtime and wake times. Find out more about your flexible schedules for your child’s age:
“Is 9, 10, 11:00 p.m. an okay bedtime?”
For an adult, sure, sometime between 9 and 11:00 p.m. is a fine bedtime. But for our children, no, it’s too late. Our children need far more sleep than we do as adults. And as the parent, it’s our job to protect their growth and development by protecting their sleep. Learn more about early bedtimes:
“What is ‘The Shuffle’?”
I call my sleep coaching method The Sleep Lady Shuffle. Did you know that there are only 4 types of sleep coaching? Did you know that you don’t have to cry-it-out to have a successful sleep training experience? Learn more about my thoughts on the different sleep coaching methods, and why I advocate for picking the method you can follow thru with consistently. If you are not sure which one that is, then I recommend that you start with The Shuffle:
“Should I co-sleep?”
There are different schools of thought about co-sleeping. Let me just say that I am not against co-sleeping, as long as it is done safely and is not reactive (meaning you bring baby into bed out of desperation), and both partners agree. Read more of my thoughts about co-sleeping here:
“My partner wants to let our baby “cry it out”. I just can’t do that- its heart breaking!”
It’s understandable that as adults, we have different opinions about a lot of things. When you’re trying to teach your child to sleep, though, it’s incredibly important that you maintain a level of consistency that may not be necessary in other areas of your life.
It is essential to be a united front as parents, especially when you’re talking about your child’s sleep. Sit down and choose a sleep coaching method you can follow thru with consistently. More about sleep coaching and consistency:
Did I miss anything? Do you have a question that I didn’t cover here? Please be sure to visit my Facebook Page and let me know!
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