Ten Things You Need to Know on Baby Sleep

I’m confused over the “slept like a baby” phrase. They must not have babies. I’ve had two. Both completely opposite sleepers. And both with regular and totally different issues.

As I’ve said before, Jack was a horrible sleeping baby. Up all night as a newborn. Needed continious rocking through babyhood. And never slept long periods at a time.

Ella’s the reverse. Slept four to six hours straight consistently since birth. Puts herself to sleep. And back to sleep. Can regulate her needed amount of sleep. And will fall asleep anywhere if she’s overtired. But, she has her share of sleep troubles.

In two rounds of baby sleep, I had discovered a few things all the baby sleep articles/books/advice seemed to skip. Here are ten tidbits I found true of my babies and their sleep.

1. The wakings and hours of straight sleep will continuously change. We rejoiced when newborn Jack slept five hours straight. Four days later he was up every two hours. Repeat until year two. Ella snoozed perfectly for her first four months. Then it was hit or miss. From my notes, it appears babies are not consistent sleepers. Shocker.

2. There is no magical baby sleep technique. Cry it Out, Sears, whatever. You decide. We’ve done several and have seen improvements. But most days are the same. What we - and many seasoned parents - uncovered is all techniques will work with personal modifications. Rewriting portions of your sleep-training plan will only make everyone happy. And sleepy.

3. Babies who sleep great at night can also take good naps. I’ve continuously seen that babies who sleep great at night typically aren’t good nappers. Not Ella. She’ll follow a healthy night with three solidly long naps. Just depends on her day.

4. Cereal isn’t the answer to a full nights sleep. “Once you start solids, he/she will sleep better.” Show of hands for parents who’ve heard this? Little secret: it’s a myth. Neither child of mine showed a difference in sleeping when we started the goods. But, maybe that’s just us.

5. There is an enormous gray area of “sleeping through the night.” Experts say it’s more than five hours. Parents of perfect babies say it’s eleven. Those who say their babies sleep through the night are (a) lying (b) not counting the five times they zombie-walked to stuff in a pacifier or (c) think one night of solid sleep followed by four filled with a couple drowsy wakings is the definition.   

6. A consistent bedtime routine may not help babies sleep better. It helped Jack get to sleep. Not stay asleep. Ella has hit the jackpot when she gets a book, bottle and rocking. Her routine always varies. But her sleeping rarely does.

7.Exhaused babies aren’t always unhappy babies. Baby one couldn’t handle the pressure. Baby two will fall asleep playing she reaches the breaking point. But, the downside is she wakes earlier, which is common of babies who haven’t gotten enough sleep. Weird huh?

8. A baby can sleep too much. Or maybe not. If Ella takes lengthy daytime naps or adds an extra snooze in the car, she usually wakes more during the night. On the flipside, when Jack was a baby he could sleep all day and night. Never made a difference.

9. Setting the slumber scene really does work. Dim the lights. Add some white noise. A baby can’t resist. Ella will fall asleep even if she’s not tired.

10. Give he/she a little time to work it out. Alone. With our first, we jumped crib-side any time he sniffled. Little Ella’s learned it takes a bit more to get our reaction. And most times, she realizes it’s not worth it.

Is there something I missed? Please share in the comments below. It might save us all.

1 comment:

Dr. Momsie! said...

How funny we both wrote about sleep this week! It's been the biggest challenge for us with Jr. It sounds like our boys share similar sleep patterns. I hope our next baby is an easy sleeper! One thing that I read in one of the many sleep books I read when we were totally sleepless that really has been true for us is that sleep begets sleep - if Jr doesn't nap well, he won't sleep well that night. It seems counterintuitive, but true for Jr! Great post!

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