How To Have A Good Sleeper In Spite of Personality
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For anyone new to my blog, I have two children. My eldest is 3 and my youngest is almost 18-months old. Both are good sleepers.
One was easier to get into a routine, but neither were born ‘good sleepers’. I truly believe that your child’s personality plays a significant part in their ability to sleep. However, that doesn’t mean that having a challenging sleeper, to begin with, means years of bad sleep await you and them.
I will say that barring medical issues, all children can be taught to have healthy sleep habits. It takes trial, error, and work, but it can be done. For instance, that’s why I feel as though Babywise can be helpful for so many families –> 5 Powerful Reasons Babywise is Effective for All Kinds of Babies
Whether you’re a Babywise-mama or not, it doesn’t matter. There are all sorts of ways to help improve your child’s sleep. Today I’m focusing on the 3 of the most important.
1) Take Note of Your Baby’s Personality
My first-born has been interested in everything around him from the moment he was born. I distinctly remember his eyes were wide open and staring at the lights in the delivery room as I held him for the first time. He was so awake!
His ‘sleepy newborn phase’ lasted all of 3 weeks, and then he was alert. It took months for him to take a nap longer than 45 minutes, but he was happy. He has always had low sleep needs. (Read more about sleep needs –> HERE)
My daughter, on the other hand, was a real sleepy head until she was about 3 months old. Even after that, she NEEDED her nice long naps during the day. She was miserable without them.
Now, at almost 18-months, she still naps for 2-3 hours during the day and sleeps 11-12 hours overnight. She likes being around people, but like her mama, she also likes her own space. I would call her an extroverted introvert.
Take note of your baby’s personality, because it can make establishing healthy sleep habits quite easy, or somewhat challenging. By acknowledging your baby’s personality and level of sleep need, it’ll help you better determine their needs overall.
Also realise that as their mama, you know them best. Don’t let the opinions of others sway you away from your instincts. Focus on your baby and getting to know them.
2) Choose A Method
Good sleepers don’t just happen. Some start out sleeping great but then several months, or years later, they revert to waking throughout the night.
Healthy sleep habits are not born out of luck or chance. They are the result of good parenting and old-fashioned hard work.
We’ve used several resources for helping our children learn healthy sleep habits. The top two would be Babywise and Moms on Call. (You can read about both methods in more depth HERE and HERE) However, The Baby Whisperer, Happiest Baby on the Block, and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child are also fantastic to refer to.
Do some research and then decide what you’re comfortable with. 🙂
I would class all of the above methods as a form of sleep training. You may think of sleep training as leaving your child to cry-it-out, but the reality is quite different. Read this post to get a better understanding of sleep training –> A Simple Explanation of What Sleep Training Actually Is.
I think it needs to be noted here how important it is to adapt methods to suit your child. As I mentioned in the above point, you need to take note of your baby’s personality. As a first-time mom, this can take a bit of practice. It doesn’t necessarily come naturally.
In fact, for any parent, it will take a little while to get to know your new baby and who they are. Of course, we love them immediately, but that doesn’t mean you’ll know every detail about them.
Because of this, you’ll need to adapt methods and techniques to suit them as individuals. Often times, methods get a bad reputation because parents are guilty of treating them as a rule book instead of a helpful guide.
Don’t fall into the trap of being too stringent.
3) Stay Consistent
There is the temptation to think that a method isn’t working because you’re not getting immediate results. I completely understand this, especially when you’re in the sleep-deprived newborn stage. However, there is so much more to it than just getting your baby to sleep.
Remember, you’re striving for the big picture here.
The first year of a child’s life is filled with growth spurts and developmental milestones. This means that there are often disruptions to the routine.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to remain consistent. Yes, evaluate what you’re doing, but don’t give up. It will only confuse your baby and lead to more frustration.
There were many times throughout the first year of my son’s life that I thought he would never nap for more than 45 minutes. Flash forward to age 3, and he still goes down for a nap every day and sleeps for 1.5-2 hours. He is in bed from 7-7 overnight and is so happy and well-rested.
This is the result of consistency.
With two kids just 18-months apart (Read about what that age gap is really like –> HERE), you would think we’d be sleep deprived and have kids in and out of our bed all night long.
Barring sickness or nightmares, we have our bed to ourselves. Both children sleep well in their own beds and we all get a decent night’s sleep.
It can be done, I promise.