Sleep will probably be the main talking point in your household for at least the first year of your child’s life. You’ll be figuring out how to cope with a lack of sleep, researching how to get your baby to sleep and perplexed as to why they won’t stay asleep. You’ll be wondering why they wake up so much in the night, debating with your partner about who’s doing the night time feeds and no doubt considering whether and how to introduce some kind of sleep training. To add to this people (mainly the older people in your life who have forgotten what it’s like to have a young baby), may ask you whether your baby is sleeping through the night yet then try and make you feel like a bad parent if they are not!
My own personal experience of sleep through the first year was crazy. Our daughter would wake up regularly throughout the night and still does sometimes (she’s 15 months old). I think there are a variety of reasons as to why this is and some of them are absolutely down to us. We refused to do any sleep training (the soft way of saying ‘controlled crying’) and didn’t move her into her own room at the recommended 6 months. We also ran to her as soon as she woke up rather than taking the expert’s advice and giving her a chance to self settle. With that being said, it’s also important to remember that all babies are very different. Our daughter wasn’t a great sleeper but she started walking (and running) quite early, is confident, can nearly count to 5 and seems to have quite advanced interpersonal skills. It all swings in roundabouts!
You may be blessed with a baby that sleeps well from the beginning. I certainly know people who’s babies slept through the night pretty much from birth (I hate those people lol!). The majority of babies don’t sleep well and it’s not that there’s anything wrong, they are just babies and thats what they do. Sleep associations, teething, seperation anxiety, illnesses and night terrors all contribute to disturbed sleep. Add to that the regular and natural sleep regressions (caused by an over active brain during times of intense development) and there are many reasons why your baby may have a hard time sleeping for long periods of time. To add to this, it’s all a guessing game as they can’t actually comumunicate what’s wrong!
There are loads of great articles on tips to get your baby to sleep so I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel, instead i’ve posted links below to some of the articles that I found really helpful when our daughter was young. I can’t remember the amount of times of I Googled ‘why does my baby keep waking up’ at 3am in the morning lol.
Overall my advice would be to keep calm and stay positive. Babies do learn to sleep better, this is just a phase and it will pass. The irony is that one day they will be teenagers and you’ll be struggling to wake them up rather than getting them to sleep! The most important thing is that you and your partner support each other and do all you can to make sure you are both getting as much sleep and help as you need when you need it.
There are some things you can do to help your baby sleep which involve swaddling, white noise, consistent routines and bedtimes. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the expert in this area so I’ve compiled a list below of some great resources which I’m sure you’ll find useful.
5 clear tips for helping baby sleep through the night:
10 reasons why your baby isn’t sleeping and what you can do about it:
4 sleep strategies that (might) work!