This is a question I often asked my first daughter when she was an infant.
I asked it in a
But no matter how many times I asked, she never gave me the answer.
I can remember the night— and some of you will know exactly what I’m talking about— when I felt like I could not take it anymore. My daughter just would not stay asleep and I had hit rock bottom, exhausted from waking up multiple times every night and having to soothe her back to sleep.
My husband finding me crying in the kitchen at 5am (preparing 3rd milk feed for the night!) as he got ready to leave for work and asking me the same question he would ask me over and over again ” Why does our daughter keep waking and crying” to us at the time it felt like she never slept! Back then I felt I should know all the answers as that’s what a mum was expected to know!
When our babies don’t sleep well, we tend to look for an explanation. We think it might be teething or gas. We worry that she’s too small and she needs to eat in the night, or she’s too big and she needs to eat more or she won’t feel full. The list goes on and on.
Are any of these explanations the real truth?
Sometimes. But barring those times when your child has a burning temperature or a new tooth coming in, the real reason most babies won’t sleep or stay asleep is that they just haven’t learned how.
We all have routines that help us make the journey into sleep each night. We have bedtime routines that we tend to do without really thinking about it, and we do these things because they help us transition from a busy day to a restful sleep.
Little rituals we have
In order for us get sleep to come, we as adults have little rituals, like:
- Work on your laptop or desk top computer
- Enjoy games on your mobile phone or computer games
- Watch TV or play music
- Open the window the let in the Kenyan breeze
- Drink a cup of warm milk
Whatever the differences might be, these are all sleep routines, and without them we’d have trouble drifting off.
Soooo that’s why
The same goes for babies. Many parents who haven’t developed a sleeping routine for their babies will complain that their child can only fall asleep with the bottle, or while breastfeeding, or while being rocked or patted.
While this might be true, the trouble is, by offering these props, parents are creating a situation where their babies are dependent on something external to help them sleep. And that’s why they don’t sleep well.
Night waking is very common in babies who have not learned to sleep properly and are relying on a prop. When they wake up and the prop isn’t there to put them back to sleep, they have to wake up fully and cry in order to be soothed back to sleep. It’s not personal, Mum and Dad… they haven’t made it their personal mission to wake you up ten times a night. They just have no idea how to go to sleep without your help.
There is a way forward
Luckily there is hope. There are lots of ways to give your child the tools she needs to be able to sleep independently, even from a very young age. Babies are capable of sleeping through the night, and learning the skills of sleep young will help make bedtimes and night times relatively hassle-free.
A well-rested child is a happier, healthier child. And a well-rested parent is healthier and happier too!
If you want “The Five Steps To Getting Your Baby To Sleep Through The Night!” download the Get Started guide on Judy Clark’s website