Advertorial Feature Blog by Little Sleep Stars
When I was experiencing sleep challenges with my own son, I spent a lot of time thinking, “I’m a competent person, why can’t I get my child to sleep?”. You see once upon a time I was a lawyer and my experience of approaching difficult situations was to research and put my learned knowledge into practice. Yet despite having read approximately 3 million books/blogs/articles on the subject, I still had a child who didn’t sleep well. I felt like I was failing as a mum. I avoided “sleep-training” for a long time because I thought it would mean leaving my child to cry, which I wasn’t prepared to do. It transpired there were other options and with that knowledge, a passion for child sleep was lit. I’ve been helping tired families ever since.
If you are experiencing sleepless nights with your own little one, here are five tips I wish I’d known back then…
1. Sleep Begets Sleep
Possibly the most counterintuitive aspect of child sleep! Children who sleep well during the day tend to sleep well at night. Limiting or eliminating naps or pushing bedtime back will not help a child to sleep longer or better. In fact, it is likely to worsen night-time challenges.
2. Waking in the night isn’t the problem
All humans, adult and child, wake in the night – three or four or even five times; it’s a basic biological function. This is why putting a child down to bed already asleep will not equate to sleep success beyond the early months – a child who is “put” to sleep at bedtime is likely to need the same help each and every time they wake in the night.
3. Trying everything tends to mean nothing works
My skill as a sleep consultant is knowing what will work for a particular client – there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Once you have the right plan it needs to be implemented consistently – that’s what gets results. Often as parents we try something for a night or two then revert to what we were doing before, then try something new and so on – it’s confusing for a child and generally means no method has chance to take effect.
4. Night feeds aren’t always about hunger
Because my 11 month old took two good feeds overnight I assumed he needed them. Once I equipped him to settle to sleep without being on the breast, the feeds disappeared. Of course, any sleep plan must be age-appropriate and take into account nutritional needs but it’s easy to confuse a feed-to-sleep association with actual hunger.
5. All children have the ability to sleep well
There is no such thing as an “bad sleeper”, only a child that is yet to learn how to sleep well. But all children can learn. What’s more, teaching them needn’t be an ordeal for you or your child – gentle methods are just as effective in securing long-term sleep success.
For a free 15 minute chat about your sleep situation just get in touch
Lauren Peacock – Sleep Specialist – UK
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