No one said having a baby was easy. In fact, most parents probably told you the opposite when you announced your pregnancy. While infants come with a whole slew of responsibilities, from feedings to cleanings and everything in between, one thing you may not have considered was the impact your newborn would have on your sleep schedule. Since babies can’t differentiate between day and night in the first two months of their lives, they’re going to be awake when you want to be asleep.
Everything gets harder when you haven’t had enough sleep. Fortunately, there is hope! Rather than simply waiting for your baby to begin sleeping through the night on their own (which can take more than six months), you can turn to baby sleep training; just make sure to avoid these three common mistakes:
1. Being unprepared for the first night. Sleep training is not a last minute decision. Not only will you need at least 24 hours to set up a schedule and prepare the room, but you’ll need to face the mental commitment you’re about to make; if you have any doubts or concerns, you can always reach out to a sleep trainer for advice.
2. Struggling with committing to sleep training. So, it’s your first night and you’ve made it to 4 am, but it’s your baby’s fifth night waking and you just can’t take it anymore; you give them their favorite sleep prop to salvage a few hours of sleep before the morning. While doing this the first night or two to get through this tough change, remain focused on sticking with the plan as much as possible. Big swings in methods and approaches confuse your baby and create the “slot machine effect.”
3. Starting at the wrong time. If you’ve got a vacation coming up in 10 days, or are a week away from heading back to work, you may suddenly realize that you’re not going to make it with this little sleep. However, routines need to be consistent and the sleep training almost definitely won’t stick if you are beginning before such a change in schedule. Instead, make sure you don’t have anything planned for at least two weeks after you decide to begin.
If you are not sure where to begin, a baby sleep trainer can help you through the process. Also known as baby sleep coaches, sleep trainers are experienced in all manner of baby sleep patterns and will be able to offer the support you need, especially in the beginning, which may be the most difficult.
Updated April 27, 2021