In some ways, a solid night's sleep is basically the holy grail of parenting. In other ways, it can also feel as elusive and nonexistent as the Abominable Snowman or Bigfoot. Still, that doesn't seem to deter parents from ceaselessly trying to achieve the near impossible goal of putting their child to bed successfully. Regardless of how much effort you are putting into making sure your little one's environment is slumber-friendly, there are actually plenty of things you do every day that are keeping your baby from getting sleep — and you may not even realize it.
Before you beat yourself up for unintentionally sabotaging your baby's bedtime habits, you can rest assured that every parent out there has gone through the same thing. The same way I was utterly convinced that I was the only mother to ever accidentally nick her baby's finger with nail clippers, I've learned that struggling to establish a healthy sleep routine is anything but rare. Thankfully, the first step to getting your little one's slumber schedule back on track is by learning about what you should and shouldn't do. Once you know, you'll be prepared moving forward. So in case you're wondering if any of your habits make the list, check out these everyday things you do that are keeping your baby from getting sleep.
1. You Don't Prepare
After a long day, it's tempting to just put your little one to bed straight away. But, as author and founder of Infant Sensory Integration Training program Megan Faure told Parents, it's important for your infant to have a routine for getting ready for bedtime. This kind of consistency — whether it's taking a bath, reading a book, or something else — will help your baby become accustomed to this restful rhythm.
2. You Push The Timetable
Whether it's because you've had a day that just won't seem to end or you're hoping this will prevent an early morning, getting in the habit of staying up too long isn't beneficial for you or your baby. According to Baby Center, "late bedtimes lead to an overtired kid who's cranky and refuses to go to sleep." If you find yourself pushing your little one's sleep schedule past what it normally is, try to rein it back in so your baby can get some solid slumber.
3. You Multitask At Night
In general, being able to do multiple things at once is a great thing. But, according to Sleep Lady, the official site of counselor Kim West, feeding, walking, and rocking your baby until they fall asleep can create a level of dependency. If you are doing this every day, then your infant will associate those activities with sleep and may not be able to go to bed without doing them.
4. You Try To Meet Markers
You probably know that comparing your baby's development to others isn't a good idea since everyone grows at their own pace, but it can be tempting to try and make certain achievements happen. According to Precious Little Sleep, forcing your baby to meet sleep milestones is counterintuitive and can even make it harder for them to sleep. If you're concerned that something might truly be off, consult your child's physician.
5. You Overcommit Your Baby
I'm the first to admit that I wanted to give my son a headstart by getting him involved in all the things. Yet, as certified sleep consultant Ingrid Y. Prueher told Babble, involving your baby in too many activities on a daily basis is detrimental to their bedtime schedule. Instead of signing them up for ballet, baby yoga, and multiple play dates in the park, stick to just one or two things a week to ensure they aren't getting overtired.
6. You Give In
Whether you're trying the Cry It Out method or you're just tired of being tired, it's not a good idea to make giving in a regular thing. As pediatrician Dr. Lisa Meltzer told Parents, habitually breaking your baby's routine at the first sign of a challenge will just prolong the sleep training experience. It may be hard, but sometimes consistency is the best answer.
7. You Ignore Your Instinct
Friends and family tend to be quick with offering up unsolicited advice and it can be overwhelming when you're getting input from every angle on a daily basis. That's why Belly Belly recommended you trust your gut about your baby's sleep needs. After all, you know your baby better than anyone else does.