By far the worst part of babyhood is the utter exhaustion. It’s the nightly ritual of dragging yourself from sweet happy slumber into “mom and dad” mode.Walking, feeding, shushing, singing…all to comfort our helpless brood into snoozes.
We cross our fingers and hope for a good night, where we lull them into sleep and they stay that way until morning. Here’s the (extremely) good news: It doesn’t have to be that way forever.
How to Tackle the “Baby Not Sleeping” Nightmare
If you went to a rock concert, would you be able to fall asleep right away afterwards? Well, that’s what life is for your baby: a constant rock concert. Our job, as parents, is to figure out how to make adjustments that allow his brain to slow down and sleep! Adjustments like these.
Is Your Baby Not Sleeping?
Sleep Shaping Can Help
Yes, there are going to be sleep disruptions at the beginning of your child’s life. He’s got a tiny tummy! But that doesn’t mean you just have to cross your fingers and hope things “work out” eventually.
Basically, in Sleep Shaping you’re doing all kinds of things to indirectly influence your child’s sleeping habits. You are not asking your child to do anything. Instead you’re messing with the external factors to help him find his sleeping rhythms naturally.
It’s the ideal first step when trying to influence your child’s sleeping habits. Even better, you can do these things the same week he comes home from the hospital!
Baby Not Sleeping Step #1: Take a Peek at Your Schedule
Babies have something called a Waketime Window that determines how overtired they are. (This free download will tell you when that is.)
It’s vital that you get your child down for a nap before that window closes, or his brain will get overstimulated! That means it’s a LOT harder to get your child to settle down for a nap or at bedtime. It also means your child may start waking up more at night!
Yes, you read that correctly! An overtired baby will wake up MORE at night, because his brain is swimming in cortisol, not the sleepytime hormone, melatonin!
There are several different articles here on MightyMoms.club that talk about scheduling for different ages. Click here to find the one that matches your child’s current age.
Baby Not Sleeping Step #2: Take a Hard Look at the Nursery
I know you worked really hard on creating the most beautiful nursery in the history of nurseries, but if it’s bright and full of exciting things to look at, your baby is not going to sleep!
- Use blackout curtains. (These Gro Anywhere Blinds travel well!)
- Remove the crib mobile, once your child is old enough to fixate on it.
- Consider adding crib bumpers. (But only the safe ones!)
- Always have a noisemaker to drown out interesting noises (dogs, the hum of the TV, postal workers…). Just make sure you choose a quality noisemaker like this one that won’t turn off until you turn it off. Otherwise the sudden silence will make your baby wake up!
One of my clients from several years ago had a baby who really struggled to nap. There was a high window in the nursery, which made it really hard to get the nursery pitch black. After some experimenting, we uncovered the solution!
We switched the crib sheets to a solid color. Now, instead of fixating on the little elephants printed on the sheets, he had nothing “fun” to look at. With that one tiny change, he suddenly started extending his naps by another 45 minutes!
It’s amazing how interesting our little ones find the world! Our job is to bore them back to sleep!
Baby Not Sleeping Step #3: Reach Out to an Expert
Schedule adjustments and nursery tweaks are helpful, but sometimes they aren’t the whole picture. Sometimes there is co-sleeping to wean off of, or a swaddle to stop, or numerous other little hiccups that happen.
If you find yourself with a newborn (0-22 weeks) in a tough sleeping spot, we would love to help you! Amy and I are both Certified Gentle Sleep Coaches (which means a lot of money was invested in a solid education taught by medical professionals and academics) and regularly meet one-on-one with families to create custom Sleep Shaping Plans.
Click here to learn more about our Sleep Shaping Newborn Sessions. We’d love to sit and help you create a plan!
Is Your Baby Still Not Sleeping?
Sleep Coaching Can Make a Huge Difference
So what if you’ve been doing the Sleep Shaping techniques, but your baby is still not sleeping? What if the phrase “sleep coaching” has crept into your mind, but you’re terrified that means Cry-It-Out?
Good news, friend. There are actually several gentle sleep coaching techniques that don’t require burying your head into the couch cushions, sobbing, while your tiny tot wails his guts out upstairs.
As a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, I don’t recommend trying to sleep coach babies who are younger than 22 weeks. Instead, concentrate on those environmental factors and getting your daily rhythm down. Starting to coach too early is going to lead to a LOT of crying for a LONG time. You might as well wait a few weeks, until he’s older and ready to get started!
The trick is matching the technique to your parenting style and your child’s personality. (Yep. Personality is actually a big factor in effective sleep coaching. It’s why some kids are easy, and some kids…aren’t.)
You can absolutely try to go it alone. Keep in mind, though that the #1 reason parents are either successful or they aren’t in their sleep coaching is consistency.
Consistency is Key…So Why Not Use a Sleep Guarantee?
Parents who have the confidence to stay consistent are ALWAYS successful. It’s one of the reasons Amy and I offer the only 110% Money Back Sleeping Guarantee in the business.
We know that if we can give you the confidence you need, and walk with you every night and day long the way, you’re going to reach your sleeping goals.
I’ve got 4 years of sleep coaching experience to back that up. The guarantee is there to show you that we are just as committed to your success as you are. After all, we don’t want to put all this time and work in, only to have to give it back (plus 10%!).
We’ve got a lot of tricks and strategies to show you, so why not get your sleep appointment on the calendar? Jenny will send over a health assessment and your Sleep Coaching Workbook, and we will dive right in!
Finally. A sleep plan that will give everyone the rest you need. (Just check out our growing wall of glowing testimonials…)
Have You Read These Other “Baby Not Sleeping” Articles Yet?
- 4 Ways to Overcome the Sleep Regression Ruining Your Life
- For the Sake of Your Sleep: Why Your Baby Needs a Lovey
- Should You Use a Baby Sleep Consultant?
- Everything a New Mama Warrior Needs to Know About Baby Care
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Heather is the Chief Encouragement Officer here at MightyMoms.club and has been writing and encouraging parents online since 2007. She’s a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, has been a featured parenting expert writer on blogs like DaveRamsey.com, SimpleKids.net, Cafe Mom, and others. If it’s 2am and you’re desperate to read SOMETHING, check out her deepest darkest secrets, including why she really shouldn’t be allowed to blog.