By Emily Henry
Getting your bundle of joy to develop good sleeping habits is one of parenthood’s biggest challenges. This is why sleep deprivation is so common among new parents. While bedtime struggles and sleepless nights are to be expected, it’s possible you may be unintentionally making bedtime trickier for yourself and for your baby. Here are some of the biggest baby sleep mistakes that new parents make and how you can avoid them.
Failing To Adhere To A Consistent Sleep Schedule
Babies need consistency in their naptimes and bedtimes. An inconsistent sleep schedule may be confusing their internal clock and result in sleepless nights for both you and the baby. On the other hand, sticking to regularly scheduled sleep times can help a child’s body learn when to fall sleep. Although it may not be possible to adhere to your baby’s sleep schedule every single time, try your best to regulate their sleep times as much as possible.
Rushing Baby To Sleep
Skipping a bedtime routine might actually make it harder for your baby’s body to fall asleep. Instead of rushing the baby to sleep, follow the same steps before bedtime every night. This creates a relaxing and familiar experience for your baby which signals to their body that it’s time to sleep. A bedtime routine is one of the best strategies to help your baby get sleepy. You know what kind of bedtime routine will work for your baby more than anyone, but a good tip is to start an hour or so before you want the baby to sleep.
Keeping Baby Up Late So They’ll Sleep Later
Although your baby’s bedtime should be ideal for your schedule, it’s important not to keep them up too late. Many new parents make this mistake hoping that doing so will encourage the baby to sleep later. Unfortunately, babies who sleep too late tend to be overtired and bad-tempered. This can make bedtime a lot more difficult than it should be for new parents. Instead of putting the baby to bed late, learn to identify their sleep cues and listen to them. This ensures the baby goes to sleep at a time that works for both you and their body.
Not Sleeping When Baby Sleeps
New parents are some of the most sleep-deprived people on the planet. A common mistake among them is not taking advantage of the hours of potentially undisturbed sleep while the baby is sleeping. It’s tempting to use this time to catch up on chores or work, but if you’re exhausted, it’s probably a good idea to sleep instead.
Relying On Sleep Crutches
Rocking your baby to sleep feels intuitive as a new parent. However, habits such as rocking or nursing your baby can teach them to become reliant on you to fall asleep. Sleep crutches offer a quick fix, but they may make bedtime harder for you and your baby later on. A good solution is to rock your baby until they’re drowsy, not fast asleep.
Picking Up Baby As Soon As They Cry Out
As a new parent, it can feel impossible to resist your baby’s cries. However, this deprives them of the chance to learn how to self-soothe and fall back asleep without you. It may be painful at first for new parents, but don’t rush to pick up your baby when they cry out. Wait a few minutes to give them the opportunity to settle themselves back to sleep.
Lack Of Coordination Between Parents
If you have a partner, ensure you’re both on the same page when it comes to your baby’s sleeping habits. Not only should you take turns putting the baby to bed, you should also be using the same approaches. This creates consistency in your baby’s sleep experience.
Expecting Baby To Sleep All Night
While some parents do get extremely lucky, most parents can expect their newborn babies to wake up several times throughout the night. It’s completely normal for a baby to fuss in the middle of the night up until they’re 3-6 months old.
The good news for new parents is that any of these baby sleep mistakes can be easily amended with time and patience. Now that you’re aware of these top baby sleep mistakes, you’re better equipped to help your baby develop better long-term sleep habits.