Before children you probably stayed up really late at the weekends and lay in bed in the morning. We probably took for granted how luxurious that feeling was!! Post children, you may find yourself still having late nights but not through choice. You can never fully prepare yourself for lack of sleep or how you might cope with it. There are many more exciting things to think about during pregnancy and lack of sleep is not one of them.
As with anything parenting related you will find you get bombarded with information about the right to parent. Truth is I don’t think there is a right way. We all find our own paths from the experiences we have had ourselves. We may make decisions from what we liked about our childhood or avoid the things we didn’t like. Our partners will also have their own views on parenting. We will read things, be told things by friends, families and professionals and they will all influence the way we are as parents. I always say to my clients that it doesn’t matter whether you breast feed, bottle feed, co sleep, sling carry, whatever your choices…. If you reach the end of the day and everyone is ok, and in clean pjs. Then I think that’s been a pretty awesome day!!
When babies are first born they sleep a lot and we can go out and the timings are not very significant. There will come a point for everyone when you feel like you might need more structure with naps and bedtimes. The frequent waking or the dreaded cat naps are becoming increasingly harder to manage. When you reach this point my advice is to spend some time at home to develop some new sleep rules. “Sleep rules” at home basically means that when at home you have set sleep expectations for your child and yourself.
Here are things to consider.
Where might they sleep at every nap?
How am I going to settle them at home?
What happens if they don’t settle for the nap?
What’s their sleep environment like for naps and is it the same at bedtime?
The key is consistency.
When we develop routines it helps our babies to feel safe and secure. The most important things to remember when making a change is allow 26 nights before ruling things out. We often give up on night 4 if not before and say it doesn’t work but realistically we need to allow time for our little humans to adjust to the changes.
One of my biggest tips to parents is this, when things go off track, and trust me they will whether its due to a holiday, illness, teething, returning to work, starting childcare… Don’t panic and change everything to “fix” it, by stepping back and looking at the situation you may notice small tweaks to the routines will make the best improvements.
We carry huge amounts of guilt in regard to our children, are we making the right choices, did I handle that situation in the best way? The list goes on… it is important to look after ourselves, if sleep deprivation is making things hard for you then ask for help don’t wait for it to be offered, it doesn’t mean you aren’t a good parent, it means you are trying to be the best parent you can be, and for that to happen… you need sleep!!!
The Little Cherry Tree Company’s aim is to empower parents to believe in their choices, to guide them with they are stuck with sleep issues and to be there when they need me, without judgement.
Chris who runs The Little Cherry Tree Company is hugely experienced and has worked with children and their families for over 20 years. With some fantastic testimonials, Chris will be able to offer you support and guidance if you are looking for help improving the sleep patterns of your little one.