As with all parenting issues, there’s lots of contradictory information floating around out there about whether you should wake a sleeping baby. Some people believe in just letting babies sleep whenever they want for as long as they want, and some believe in trying to control their baby’s sleeping patterns by waking them from naps at specific times in order to improve their nighttime sleeping.
To me, it’s pretty simple. My short answer to whether you should wake your baby?
Of course there are some exceptions to the rule, such as if your baby’s nap is creeping closer and closer to bedtime, which would make for some trouble getting to sleep in the evening. It’s also okay to wake your baby if she has jaundice, which makes babies sleepier and more difficult to feed.
But other than that, if your baby is happily snoozing away, just let her be!
1. Sleep begets sleep.
As an adult, you would think that depriving yourself of sleep all day would make you more tired at night, right? If we pass out on the couch after work for an hour, we tend to believe this will make it impossible for us to fall asleep at bedtime. But is that true?
Not necessarily. For babies in particular, who need more sleep than adults do, sleeping well during the day will actually encourage better sleep during the night. It is a myth that depriving a child of sleep during the day will help them sleep through the night. We all know how over-tiredness can wreak havoc on us. Well, the more sleep a baby misses during the day the more “wired” the baby becomes, and the harder it is to get him to settle.
The only exception is, as I said above, if the last nap of the day is running too close to bedtime. If that’s the case, just gently wake your baby by opening a door or making some other small noise. You want it to feel natural for your child; in other words, don’t tickle her awake.
2. When you wake babies up, they tend to be fairly grouchy for the next 10 minutes to hour after.
Does that sound like fun? No. Nobody likes a grouchy baby, and it’s no fun for the child, either. You know that bleary, confused feeling you have when you wake up from your afternoon couch nap? Babies feel that too. If it’s not going to improve their nighttime sleeping to wake them up during the day anyway, there’s no need to put any of you through the misery.
If you are truly concerned that your baby is sleeping way too much, that is another issue, and you might want to run it by your pediatrician. Sometimes excessive fatigue can be caused by low iron or other causes that have easy fixes.
But if there are no underlying causes, just let your baby drift off to dreamland until he’s ready to wake up. You can take the time to give yourself a much-needed break to relax…and maybe even have a nap yourself.
“TV, computers, ipads and iphones give off a blue light that will trick the brain of your little one into thinking it’s day time. This will stop your baby’s body from creating which she needs to fall asleep. I always suggest after dinner to set the stage for a baby’s body to create melatonin. Turn the lights low, close the curtains and play quiet games until bed. NO screens 1.5-2 hours before bedtime.”
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