Before we have any 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 about what is the right and wrong way 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 things that we don’t want to do with our children. 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 new born, they sleep so much that we can go out and they generally sleep where ever and they go with the flow. There will come a point for everyone when you feel like you might need more structure with naps and bedtimes, because 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. Now “sleep rules” at home basically means that when at home you have set sleep expectations for your child and yourself. Here are a few things you might want 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 to this is consistency, when we develop routines it helps our babies to feel safe, secure and not only this but it also helps your baby’s biological clock!! The most important thing to remember when you make any changes to your routines; you need to allow 26 nights to see if they work. 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. Instead, take a step back and look 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 is all about empowering parents to believe in their choices, to guide them when they are stuck with sleep issues and to be there when they need me, without judgement. If you want to find out more you can find us on Facebook and via our Website
The Little Cherry Tree Company