When babies are little, they want to sleep... A LOT. Starting a newborn on a schedule is EASY. Starting an older baby...well, it takes more work. And, depending on your baby's personality, it could take even longer than you want it to. BUT, will it be worth it in the end? ABSOLUTELY.
When babies are learning to sleep enough, and at the right times (ya know, at night versus day), there may be many challenges. They may even end up with some bad habits no matter how hard you're working at making sure no bad habits develop.
So when is enough actually enough? I don't think I can honestly tell you there is a time to call it quits. Because I believe in you! And I definitely believe that babies need a certain amount of sleep to grow and be happy, healthy babies!
Consistency is key. If you've tried everything under the sun because your baby didn't learn to sleep perfectly in one day, stop it. Again, consistency is key. For instance, if you are trying to help baby learn to connect sleep cycles, and you've tried binkies, transferring baby to a swing for the rest of his nap, or holding him when he was overtired so he'd take one good nap, you've gotta stop and pick ONE thing that works really well for your baby. And then do just that ONE thing for a month. AND. DON'T. GIVE. UP.
Cubby reader Ashley is the prime example of a mom that didn't give up. Her baby was being completely stubborn. But then, she started sleeping through the night. YES! Goal one down! But, a problem still existed: she was still waking up a little bit after going to sleep for a nap, and wouldn't go back to sleep on her own without mama interference. Every trick Ashley tried stopped working very soon after she tried it, and it seemed like the end would never come. My advice was to be consistent in whatever she thought would work the best, and do only that for a solid month.
Thankfully, Ashley found something that worked for her, and she's been able to be extremely consistent. And so far, her baby is FINALLY figuring out that she can take a full nap and not wake up. HURRAY!
But did this come easily? No. Not at all. Ashley was doing ALL of the right things. Sometimes I would find some things to tweak, but she was putting in SO much work without seeing immediate rewards. And mama, that can be hard! But she NEVER gave up. And even though it took a few weeks longer than expected, she's on the home stretch. And I'm so proud of her! She did so well sticking it out, and getting her baby the sleep she needs, and the rest Ashley definitely deserves.
So, yes, it can be hard, and no, it is not always easy. So what do you do?
- Try to solve the problem as best as you know how. And when you can't figure it out, come comment here!
- Consistency is key. You can't exercise for one day and expect to drop a ton of weight. Just like you can't expect your baby to turn from a horrible sleeper into a wonderful sleeper overnight (unless your baby is seriously a dream baby, or a newborn). Thankfully, most of the time, babies do catch on quickly. :) Depending on the circumstances, usually it takes about a week for your baby to go from horrible sleeper to a much better sleeper, but I would say your more stubborn children will take a month (hopefully not longer than that!!).
- Be happy about the small milestones. For instance, if your baby needed a lot of help taking morning naps, and then they start taking them, but still aren't sleeping through the night, rejoice! You've completed one milestone. Remember to praise your baby, and be proud of your hard work. If you can focus on all of the things that are getting better, the solution for the problem you are trying to fix won't seem too far off.
You've got this mama! Keep up all of your hard work and know it really does pay off in the end!
*Sleep is essential. We need sleep to function, to take care of our children, to keep up on every single task life throws at us, to keep our sanity. Are you getting your eight hours or do you have a baby who is keeping you up? Let’s remedy that! In the “Rested Mamas are Happy Mamas” series of our blog, sleep expert Jackie calms all of your sleep woes. Have a question or problem that needs fixing? Comment on the series, and a blog will be published just for you!*