Please watch my video on blaming the mother-in-law for baby/child sleep problems.
To ask a question about your child’s sleep, just leave it in the ‘Comments’ section below! I’ll choose one and create a new video answer each week!View the Video Transcript
Hi! I’m Dana Obleman, creator of The Sleep Sense Program. If you’d rather read than watch, the transcript is below.
This week’s question is from Elizabeth. She writes:
“My three-month-old is going to Grandma’s three days a week. At home, he falls asleep on his own at naptime and at bedtime but at Grandma’s she says that he just will not fall asleep in the crib on his own. She has been rocking him and holding him through his nap. Will this ruin all our hard work?”
Some children are very good at keeping day and night separate, meaning that if one thing happens at daycare that does not happen at home, they are okay with that; they can separate the two. If Grandma is rocking him during the day for his naps and he knows at night that that is not going to happen, he may be able to see that as separate. If that is the case, then it is alright. As long as Grandma knows that by rocking him, she may be signing up for rocking him to sleep and holding him through naps, indefinitely. If that is okay with her then that might be alright, but other babies can find this very confusing.
In this case, it might mean that he is going to start crying for longer periods of time before naps or for night wakings. It can just cause all kinds of confusion so if you do notice that on the days you have him at home, it is getting hard or it is a struggle when it has not previously been one, then it is a problem.
I know it is tough to ask someone else to follow your instructions and do what you want them to do. It might mean just sitting down with her and explaining that you all worked really hard to get him sleeping well. Explain that even if it meant he was going to cry a bit before he actually fell asleep, it is okay with you because you know that it was not always going to be that way; that eventually, he will sleep well there too. Most children get used to it and will start sleeping well at daycare or at Grandma’s house or wherever they go, but it does take a bit of work. It is not home. It is different and so he may not know that the rules are the same wherever he is. It does tend to take a week or two to get used to a new environment and to know that the rules are the same.
If you expect him to sleep in his crib at home, you should expect him to sleep in a crib wherever you go. I had a client call the other day and say that at daycare they were just rocking her son to sleep or “I picked him up today and he had only slept for 20 minutes all day.” In my opinion, that is just not acceptable. That would be like picking up your child at the end of the day and having the daycare tell you that they did not feed him all day. You would never stand for that. I really feel that sleep is just as important and that if you have got a daycare provider that is not honoring that or is not giving your child the opportunity to nap well, then it might be time to keep looking for care.
At the very least, have a conversation that expresses your concern and really let that person know how strongly you feel that sleep is important and that they need to respect that. Often it just takes a conversation and for the parent to say, “I am okay with the fact that he might cry a little bit before he gets used to this and learns to sleep well here too.”, and most people are okay with that as long as they know that you are okay with it.
Often a baby will not sleep as long in care as they do at home. It has to do with noise; it has to do with other children in the room perhaps, and that just has to be lived with. It is not home so it is not going to be the same and even if the naps are a little shorter than they are at home, it is okay as long as there are still naps happening. So, there is a bit of flexibility in it. Even if the morning nap was in a stroller out for the morning walk and in the afternoon it was at the facility in the crib, that is livable as long as they are giving your child the opportunity to take a great nap. Consider having a conversation with your mom and hopefully, she will get on board. It will make her life a lot easier in the long run if that child is sleeping well at her house. Then she gets a break and she does not have to hold him through the entire nap. This might seem fun right now when he is only three months but by six or nine months, that might not be a fun! I would encourage you to ask her to do it with you.
Thanks a lot for your question Elizabeth, and sleep well!
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