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Hey there! I’m so excited to have Dana Stone, a certified sleep consultant and owner of Rest Assured Consulting, join us today to talk all about the biggest mistakes that we parents make when it comes to our child’s sleep. In fact, these five mistakes can potentially lead us down to road of co-sleeping.
When we talk about co-sleeping, we are not talking about the baby/child sleeping in our room. We are really talking about the baby/child sleeping in our bed.
This co-sleeping can be problematic for a number of reasons: it’s not a safe sleeping environment for the child, the parent is not getting the restful sleep that he or she needs, and we are encouraging habits that may not be the best for the child or the parent.
But what sometimes leads us down the road of co-sleeping or bed sharing is desperation. We simply just don’t know what else to do.
Let jump into the five biggest mistakes that we parents make when it comes to our child’s or baby’s sleep, and that sometimes leads us to co-sleeping.
The baby sleep industry is booming right now; there are tons of products that we can buy. However, the more and more baby sleep products there are out there, the more and more it seems that parents are complaining that their children aren’t sleeping.
Any item that your baby uses during his or her journey to sleep is called a sleep prop, but sleep props aren’t necessarily bad. The sleep prop becomes a problem when the prop is dependent on another person, like when you rock your baby to sleep, pat your baby, sing to your baby, feed the baby, or use a paci).
The sleep prop is how they’ve learned how to fall asleep; that’s why you have to use those sleep props all time.
But using a sleep prop is not always bad. It can be bad and affect sleep when the child is dependent on that prop.
Realize that it takes time, weeks, to change sleep patterns. Also realize that the body is controlled by the circadian rhythm. The body’s hormones, like melatonin, tells the body that it’s time to get sleepy.
Sometimes certain things can interrupt the body’s hormones from doing their job the right way, like seeing light. When the baby sees light when he or she should be winding down, the body may not release that needed melatonin.
Following a bedtime routine is a great way for us to be consistent with the message we are sending from the brain to the body. The body is relying on the bedtime routine to know when to produce melatonin.
A baby can handle 45 minutes of awake time when he or she is brought home from the hospital. That window grows by about 15 minutes every month for the first year of the baby’s life. By one year old, the baby can handle about 5 hours of awake time.
When we think about naps, it’s not that naps should be at a set time every day like 9:30 and 1:30. What’s important is that we look to see how long they have been awake in between those naps to determine when they should go down for a nap.
You can see problems if you put the baby to bed too early. If the baby can handle only 1 hour of awake time and you put the baby to bed before that, the baby will cry and push back. If you push it in the other direction and keep the baby up too long, the baby will cry and scream because he or she can’t find sleep because the baby is over stimulated.
We really need to ask ourselves this question: Are we giving them the proper chance to sleep in the proper time in the proper environment?
An early bedtime is really critical for the health of our children. This can be difficult if both parents are working because they may have to wake up the baby in the morning.
Since a baby needs 11-12 hours of sleep per night, what time the baby wakes up in the morning affects what time the baby needs to go to bed in order to get the needed amount of sleep.
We have a history of shushing our babies in our society. When our baby cries in grocery store, we feel anxious.
Here’s the deal. Babies cry. That’s their form of communication and that’s how they process their emotions.
What we need to ask ourselves is, “What’s this crying about?” Are her needs met? Is she hungry, cold, or wet? Sometimes the baby could be tired.
Instead of worrying, we should sit back and evaluate the situation.
We need to change our mentality and mindset around crying and take some anxiety off of ourselves. This will only help the situation. If we are calm, the baby feeds off of our calmness. If we are anxious, it’s going to be difficult for the baby to calm down.
As parents we get so busy and caught up that we forget how important these things really are. Parenting is a unique journey. Everyone is going to do it differently. No matter what’s going on, you’re probably killing it.
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If you want more support in your parenting journey, check out The Parenting Clubhouse!
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