My son is a year old, and he still has difficulty sleeping through the night. Right now he sleeps in his play yard that I chosen for him to sleep in, instead of a crib. So I equipped the play yard with a mattress ( made for play yards so that your baby doesn’t sleep on a hard board ) and its quite cozy and safe for him to tumble around in. But its also right next to my bed so sometimes he will stand up, look at me while I am sitting in my bed and pull the sad puppy dog eye thing on me and I will give in and pull him into bed with me. The problem is, my bed is only twin sized because my bedroom is not large enough for a full sized bed AND a play yard AND other furniture. I sacrifice having my own space in a bed made for just me sometimes because I want my son to sleep well. It seems like he sleeps a lot better when he is next to me.
I don’t know about you moms but if I had a bigger house with more bedrooms I couldn’t be able to let my son sleep in his own bed far away from me. If anything I would get myself a California King bed and let my son sleep next to me for as long as he wanted. But that is not the case here. Sometimes after nights and nights of me teetering off the edge of my twin sized bed while my son kicks me off, I get fed up and I end up bringing his sleepy little body back into his play yard and then collapsing back into my bed, half relieved / half guilty. I know when he wakes up and finds out he isn’t in the same bed he fell asleep in, he’s going to be pissed.
Sometimes my son seems too hyper to go to sleep. I used to let him stay up until I felt he was tired, cranky and willing to go to sleep. But what ended up happening was that he was so tired it was harder for him to settle down, which led to him falling asleep MUCH later than anticipated. Trial and error found me here. Fortunately, I have found some tips and remedies that have helped me quite a bit with this issue. If you have a baby that won’t sleep through the night as well, these tips hopefully will help you as well. Let’s go over them here:
The fact of the matter is that all kids need to be on a set routine. That means they have to be given lunch and dinner at the same time each day. They must be given a bath at the same time each night, and finally, the bedtime ritual must happen at the same time each night. When children have a routine they know what to expect.
Before you decide anything involving your baby’s sleep, you need to know exactly how you want to approach the situation and make sure you are on the same page as your partner ( or any other caretaker ) so that both parents are involved. Both parents need to discuss their goals and make sure they both agree. For example, if Mom wants baby to co-sleep in the family bed but Dad wants the baby to sleep in the bassinet, then its not going to work. You should discuss things like, just how much crying you each can handle and what your parenting styles are in regards to setting limits and consistency.
Think about your baby’s temperament and ability to self-regulate. What calms him? How does he soothe himself? How can you incorporate that into his bedtime routine? If you make a plan as parents but you can’t or won’t follow through together, then it is just not going to work. It is also unfair to the baby.
I am well aware of the fact that family events can happen, or other kinds of stuff can come up which can disrupt the nightly routine. However, those situations are rare. For the most part, it is absolutely crucial that your baby or toddler is kept on a set routine, which means bedtime has to be the same time each and every night. This way, they will be used to going to bed say for instance, at 8 pm each night and not fight you on it.
Just like I said it is crucial to keep your baby on a set routine in order to help him or her fall asleep quickly, and sleep through the night- it is also incredibly important to have a bedtime ritual that your baby or toddler loves, and to stick to it each night. Kids, like adults, regardless of their age need to wind down before going to bed.
Imagine going to bed right after a busy day without having a chance to relax. You simply cannot do that. Your mind will be racing, and you will be tossing and turning. In the end, you will have gotten a poor quality sleep. The same goes for your baby or toddler.
Before going to bed, you need to watch a little television, listen to music or read a book right? Because that helps you wind down and relax enough to get to bed. Therefore, the same idea applies to your little one. That means if you bathe your child before you put him or her to bed, that is fine. However, if you sing a few songs with your child, or read a bedtime story- which most kids absolutely love, then that will help your little one wind down enough to go to bed willingly.
If you are sending your child to bed without a nightlight or a stuffed animal, or a toy that he or she loves- then it is no wonder that the baby is not sleeping through the night. Your child absolutely needs to feel secure in order to get a proper sleep. A nightlight and a beloved toy will help that happen.
My son has about 7 “blankies” that I picked out for him from when was born up until recently when I bought him a new one. But out of those 7, there are only two that he truly likes. These two blankies are old, tattered, yucky and brown – I wash them ALL the time and he just loves them to bits. The other blankies he could care less about even though I try to distract him with them while hiding the old yucky ones. It never works. He is in love with his two blankies and its always going to be like that. He always needs his blankies with him when he goes to bed.
My son is only a year old so he still needs naps during the day, because if he doesn’t get any, he will be too wired which will cause him to not sleep through the night. Therefore, he will be incredibly out of sorts the day after and that is not good for him, or for me! Your baby and toddler still need to nap, but the older he or she gets, it is advisable to start cutting naps down. Right now my son takes two naps in the day but pretty soon in the next few months I will have to taper that morning nap off and combine them to one long afternoon nap. This will be a slow transition but its necessary or else my son will not sleep well at night.
If your child naps too much during the day, he or she will not be tired enough to fall asleep quickly. If you are unsure about how many naps your child should take in a day, and for how long based on his or her age- it is best to talk to your child’s pediatrician to get the best advice on how to manage your child’s napping schedule.
What is your child eating? If your baby doesn’t sleep through the night consistently and you have been trying to stick to a set routine, by putting your child to bed at the same time each night- then your child’s diet may be to blame for the inability to sleep. A diet that is high in sugar and includes too many refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white pasta, pastries, white rice, and potatoes can have a negative impact on your child’s ability to sleep well. The same goes for a high amount of trans fat in the foods that your child might be eating, which includes pastries as well as fast food.
If you have been feeding your child that isn’t sleeping well foods that are high in refined carbs, sugar, and trans fats, it is time to make some huge changes. Foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals such as vegetables, fruits, protein from meats, eggs, and cheese are much better options for your child. It is also best to feed him or her complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, beans, and lentils.
In fact, it is highly recommended that if you are concerned about your child’s diet and you are unsure of how much to feed him or her, then you need to have a consultation with a pediatric nutritionist to help you. In fact, the nutritionist will know exactly what you must feed your child in order to help him or her sleep better in the night.
If you have been using the tips mentioned above, and your baby is still not sleeping through the night, then there could be an underlying problem that needs to be properly addressed. Only your child’s pediatrician can make that determination through a thorough examination and some bloodwork. That being said, if you have been doing everything you can to help your child sleep through the night, and nothing is working- it is time to take him or her to the doctor.
To sum up, I understand the frustration of having a child that won’t sleep through the night. I hope these tips will help resolve the sleeping issue that your little one is having, as well as the stress you are facing as a result. Having a good night sleep is crucial, for your baby and yourself!