Some babies “sleep like a baby” and others don’t, but how a baby reacts to lack of sleep varies child to child. When you have a “sleep fighter” it can feel like a constant battle and there could be days you feel less than thrilled to fight that battle. After all, who wants to “fight” for an hour for a 30 minute nap or fight for two hours just to get an early bedtime for their baby? It can start to feel “not worth” the effort. You can start to feel like a failure, especially if you’ve “fought” months to get your baby on a sleep and feeding schedule.
Well, if your baby is anything like my son, crankiness is a big motivator. My son did not and does not handle sleep deprivation well AT ALL. He is miserable, which makes us ALL miserable. And, he was that way from day one! He’d be extra fussy as a baby and when he was a toddler, his behavior would go out the window where he was in timeout every 10 minutes (I’m sure I’m exaggerating a bit, but it felt like it!). Although my son doesn’t have one, sleep disorders were found to be linked to behavior problems, so it’s not too surprising to me. I wonder how many kids with behavior problems in school really need more sleep. Thank God our younger son rarely gets cranky due to being tired!
But, what if your child isn’t cranky?
I hear it a lot that a baby is happy as a clam all day even with just two 30-minute naps, but rightfully so, the parent is concerned about their baby’s lack of sleep and her development. Sleep is important for your child’s development and helps her process all of the things she’s learning on a daily basis. Our babies need a lot of sleep!
And, what about you?
If you stay home with your child all day, nap time is your time to do the dishes, make the grocery list, or do any of the millions of things parents need to do to keep the household running smoothly. Or, maybe you just need some “me” time to recharge yourself after giving your baby all your attention the rest of the day? Go ahead, you deserve it! If you are a working parent, it’s downright brutal going to work the next day, if your baby is not sleeping through the night, yet, especially if it’s more frequent than normal night feedings.
As much as my son seemed to despise sleep as a baby (he really just thought he’d miss something) and even though as a five year old he claimed he was “allergic” to sleep :), I do think I have given my son a beautiful gift by giving him healthy sleep habits.
I am actually not the best sleeper, truth be told. I am not sure if it’s anything my parents did or didn’t do (they can’t seem to remember anything, so I must have not been too bad considering our sleep problems will be etched in my mind for many years to come!). I’m just a light sleeper. It’s not always easy for me to fall asleep (especially when *I* am over-tired like some nights answering Helpdesk e-mail until 1 a.m.) and if one of the boys happens to have a nightmare anytime after 4 a.m., it’s very difficult for me to go back to sleep. That 4-6 a.m. time frame, that MANY of our babies struggle with, is the lightest sleep of the whole night for us too (which is why it’s so brutal when our babies wake at that time!). I tend to sleep in a light sleep a lot of times and my brain just can’t stop thinking sometimes:
- How can I make The Baby Sleep Site even better?
- I wonder if X is sleeping well tonight? (where X = client’s baby, for you mathematicians)
- I wonder if the boys like school.
- Maybe we should go to the zoo this weekend.
- What should I get my husband for Christmas?
Not necessarily in that order and the list goes on. If I happen to wake around 4 a.m. I have to actively stop myself from starting to think about ANYthing, so I can fall back to sleep. Imagine a baby who just learned that cool new skill of crawling and decides to practice at 3 a.m.! I don’t blame him. Sometimes it’s just too tempting.
If I have helped my son be a better sleeper than I am, especially in this age of so many sleep
drugs aids, I’ve given him a wonderful gift!
Whether it’s because your baby is miserable without sleep, she needs the sleep for her development, you need down time during the day, or you need that time with your partner or spouse in the evening, sleep can be a sweet gift for you and your family. Even though I have to run a tight ship (don’t worry, I’m not that hard-core) and make sure our sons get the sleep they need, it has to be one of the most important jobs I had to do as a mother. Otherwise, why would I be here helping all of you with your baby’s sleep, too?
The Baby Sleep Site goes one step further in our mission by giving YOU the ability to give the gift of sleep to others. We know that there are grandparents reading this site for their grandchildren, parents with friends struggling with new babies, and spouses who want their non-cranky spouse back, just to name a few. We are happy to offer The Baby Sleep Site Gift Certificate, where you can give someone you love the first step in healthy sleep habits for their family or ask one of your loved ones for sleep yourself. When it comes to things to add to this year’s wish list, why not add “sleep” to it? I know I am. I’m asking for days to sleep in! 😀
How is sleep a gift for your family?
If you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine, please be sure to pick up your FREE copy of 5 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night, our e-Book with tear-free tips to help your baby sleep better. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (babies) or The 5-Step System to Better Toddler Sleep (toddlers). Using a unique approach and practical tools for success, our e-books help you and your baby sleep through the night and nap better. For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan® you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.