As a parent, your baby’s sleep issues can be hard to deal with. You’re tired, they’re tired and everyone around you seems to have an opinion on what you need to do to sort it out. Often, sleep issues resolve themselves without any fuss, but sometimes you need a little extra help. There are two main issues that my clients often seek me out for, and these can be two of the hardest sleep issues you have to deal with as a parent. Read on to find out what they are and how you can deal with them.
ching the naps
When your baby is in a routine of two good naps a day, and sleeping fairly well at night too, there is no way you want to do anything that might rock that boat. So you’ve honed your routine and you’re doing well… then baby decides to make some changes. This is totally normal, and even your own sleeping habits change over time too- so we can’t expect babies to be any different. Babies are going through massive changes comparatively, both emotionally and physically, so it’s little wonder that the changes in their sleeping habits can be massive too. And there can be no bigger change than when the naps come to an end.
It starts with dropping just the one nap. Your baby starts to need less sleep during the day and tells you this by resisting the morning nap. Transitioning to just the one nap a day can often take parents by surprise but you can expect that any time from around the age of twelve months is the time. You can spot the signs:
- Baby plays or starts to fuss when you put her down for her usual nap
- Baby is able to stay awake in the car/ pram if you go out early in the day
- Baby is happy and alert after missing a nap, and remains this way up until it’s time for the next nap
All babies are different, and some will need two naps a day well past their first birthday. Don’t waste time comparing your baby to others; instead look for signs that your baby still needs two naps:
- Baby initially resists the nap, but ends up falling asleep for more than an hour
- Baby always, or almost always, falls asleep in the car
- Baby is cranky when a nap is missed
- Baby naps well twice a day usually
For more information on transitioning from two naps to one, see this post.
So what to do when the naps disappear altogether? This can be tough! My advice is always to transition slowly, by gradually reducing the time your child spends napping and make sure you have lots of quiet time instead. For more information, see this post.
Moving from crib to bed
This one is always so daunting for parents! And sometimes more so than it is for the child involved. Moving from a crib to a bed is a huge deal, and some children deal with it better than others. My advice? Plan it well. There are lots of tips on how to make the move in this post, but to summarise it’s important to:
- Make sure your timing is right- is your child emotionally and physically ready to make the move?
- Make your child the centre of attention- let them pick out the bedding, let them choose new pyjamas, make sure they’re aware of how grown up they are.
And how do you deal with a child who wants to get out of bed now that she can? Just like before, you use your gentle sleep training techniques. Patiences. Consistency. Let your child know that now is the time for sleep, and that they must stay in their bed to do it. Walk your child back to bed, tuck them in and tell them it’s time to sleep. The excitement of being able to get out of bed themselves will soon start to wane!
What’s the hardest sleep issue you’ve had to deal with as a parent?