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Top 9 sleep mistakes parents make

Top 9 sleep mistakes parents make

Ensuring your baby gets quality sleep is crucial for their overall well-being and your sanity as a parent. However, certain common mistakes can unknowingly disrupt your little one's sleep routine.


These are the top nine mistakes I've found parents often make with their baby's sleep, and some practical tips on how to avoid them!


1. Having an inconsistent sleep schedule:

Issue: An irregular sleep schedule disrupts your baby's internal clock, making it harder for them to establish a consistent sleep routine.

Prevention: Set regular nap times and bedtime and stick to them. Establish a calming bedtime routine to signal to your baby that it's time for sleep.


2. Ignoring sleep cues:

Issue: Missing your baby's cues can lead to overtiredness, making it challenging for them to settle into sleep peacefully.

Prevention: Pay close attention to signs like red eyebrows, eye rubbing and fussiness. Respond promptly to these signals to ensure your baby is well-rested. 


3. Overstimulation before bed:

Issue: Engaging in stimulating activities before bedtime can hinder the winding-down process, making it difficult for your baby to transition into sleep.

Prevention: Prioritise calm activities before bedtime. Dim the lights and reduce noise levels to create a serene atmosphere conducive to rest. If your wee one has been having a lot of fun before a nap, give them a good 10-15 minutes to wind down away from the excitement before putting them into bed!


4. Moving from a cot to a big bed too early:

Issue: Transitioning too soon can disrupt your child's sense of security and lead to difficulty adjusting to the new sleep environment. Impulse control is needed to ensure a smooth transition.

Prevention: Wait until your child is as close to (or over) 3 years old.  Impulse control is now starting to develop, and comprehension of rules/expectations is greater.


5. Relying on parent-led sleep associations:

Issue: Depending solely on parent-led associations such as a dummy (under 6 months), feeding, rocking, holding etc can create dependence, making it challenging for your baby to self-settle.  Remember, this is only an issue if it's causing YOU an issue with your baby waking frequently overnight needing those same associations to get back to sleep!

Prevention: Encourage self-settling - being put to bed calm but still awake and giving them an opportunity to go to sleep independently. Introduce comfort objects for reassurance once they are old and coordinated enough.


6. Neglecting daytime sleep:

Issue: Insufficient daytime sleep can lead to excessive nighttime waking. Establishing a consistent nap schedule is incredibly helpful for overall sleep quality.

Prevention: Prioritise daytime naps and create a conducive environment for daytime sleep to ensure your baby is well-rested.


7. Skipping the bedtime routine:

Issue: Skipping the bedtime routine can signal to your baby that sleep is not imminent, making it challenging for them to transition into bedtime.

Prevention: Develop a calming bedtime routine to prepare your baby for a restful night. Consistency is key. Research shows that within 3 days of introducing a predictable bedtime routine, sleep improves and stress levels are lowered!


8. Inconsistent parenting approaches:

Issue: Differing parenting approaches can confuse your baby, impacting their ability to settle into a predictable sleep routine.

Prevention: Ensure consistency in parenting approaches, especially if there are multiple caregivers involved.  Not everyone has to do the exact same thing as babies develop different associations with different people and places, but if one parent is aiming for self settling and the other continues to cuddle to sleep, it's going to be a wee bit confusing for the baby!


9. Giving up too soon:

Issue: Patience is key in establishing healthy sleep habits. Giving up too soon on sleep training can hinder progress.

Prevention: Stay consistent with sleep training methods. Be patient and reassess strategies after a few nights if needed, but avoid giving up prematurely. Not only does this lead to more crying overall, but it's super confusing for the baby! 


By avoiding these common mistakes and implementing healthy sleep practices, you can help your baby develop good sleep habits from an early age. Remember, every baby is unique, so be patient and observant, adjusting your approach as needed. Quality sleep is a gift you give not only to your baby but to yourself as well. Sweet dreams!


xx Cara

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