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Are You Making This Mistake When Your Baby Wakes At Night?

As mothers, we are hardwired to respond when we hear our babies crying. We all know that terrible feeling of guilt when we have to leave our screaming, wailing child at daycare or the helplessness we feel when she cries for hours with teething pain. Every cell in our body wants to make that pain or sadness go away, and we feel like horrible parents when we can’t.

But here’s the thing that really sucks. If you want to be a really GOOD parent you’re going to have to be prepared to feel like a horrible parent. A lot.

One of the most brutal aspects of raising kids successfully is that sometimes we have to go against our every instinct to swoop in and make everything better. Because if we cater to every whimper or tear, our child is going to learn nothing about how to get by in the world.

This applies to so, so many things: intervening in every altercation between your child and his sibling, “helping” your child complete homework instead of letting him do it himself, or, say, letting your child eat as much junk food as he wants because it makes him happy.

Making a commitment to our kid’s well being, even if it means we have to be the bad guy once in a while, has to start young. Very young. It starts with sleep. If your child doesn’t learn to soothe herself back to sleep when she wakes in the night, she will become dependent on you every time she wakes up. Which will be a lot.

I know it’s hard to ignore your child’s crying. It can feel like it’s almost impossible. But I’m not telling you to ignore it for an hour and let your child scream until she’s blue in the face. I’m saying just don’t rush in at the first sniffle or whine. Don’t drop everything and rush down to her room and pick her up and rock her back to sleep.

It’s important to know that just because your child has woken up, this doesn’t actually mean there’s necessarily anything wrong. Sure, she could have a wet diaper or she could have a tummy ache or she could be too cold or too hot. But in many cases, she just woke up because it’s a normal thing to do in the night. We all do it, whether it’s because we heard a noise or we had a bad dream or we were lying in an uncomfortable position.

A lot of times we won’t even remember waking at all, and will just drift back to sleep. But if a baby is used to needing you when he wakes up, he will get more and more upset until you come in and help him. Giving him a chance to get back to sleep on his own is not harming him. It’s helping him get a better sleep.

A note about monitors

Baby monitors are a common sight in any nursery, and honestly I am not a big fan. While they can offer some security to the parents leaving their baby alone in a room, they can also make it far more likely for Mom or Dad to go running if they hear the baby wake up. Monitors can create a sense of anxiety in the parents, and they end up listening for every little sound.

Of course, like everything parenting-related, you need to use common sense. Don’t let your baby cry unattended for hours, but do give him a fighting chance to learn to sleep on his own. It will only benefit him in the long run, and make your life easier as well. It’s not easy, this parenting stuff, and sometimes we have to do the thing that’s harder on us in order to give our kids the tools they need.

Also, if you’re looking for a complete, step-by-step guide that will help you get your baby or toddler sleeping 11+ hours straight through the night check out The Sleep Sense Program.

Learn more here.

Certified Sleep Sense Consultant Tip:

“Having had my own set of twins 5 years ago, I know all too well how important getting your babies on a good eat/sleep schedule is to keeping your sanity!

Have realistic sleeping expectations. Because most multiples are usually born prematurely (average for twins is 36 weeks vs 40 weeks for a full-term singleton), you can expect that your babies may take a little longer before they are ready for those longer stretches of consolidated, nighttime sleep.

Realize that every child’s sleep needs are different, even identical twins! While it’s important in the beginning to try and keep them on the same bedtime and nap time sleep schedules as much as you can, you can’t expect that you will always be able to do this. As they grow you will notice that one baby will most likely sleep better or longer than their sibling, which is perfectly normal!”

Ronee Welch
Sleeptastic Solutions
(484) 951-0902

Interested in learning more about becoming a Certified Sleep Sense Consultant and earning a great income on a flexible schedule that fits with your family?

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The Sleep Sense Philosophy

Cry-it-out? Coddle? Co-sleep? Attachment parenting? Ferberizing?
If you’re going to let me help you with something as precious as your child’s sleep, you probably want to know a little bit about who I am and exactly how I think...

Dana’s Sleep Blog

Straight talk about sleep, parenting,
babies, toddlers, relationships… and
just about anything else!
My blog is a great place to find opinions, advice, the occasional rant, and some great videos about sleep.

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