This week’s question is from Tammy. She writes: Is it possible for a baby to be a light sleeper? “My in-laws are coming to visit for a week and are under the impression that babies will sleep through anything and that they just need to “get used to” the noise. What are your thoughts on this issue?
On some level, we can get used to certain environmental noises when we sleep. If you live in a noisy neighbourhood, you’re going to get used to a bit of baseline noise. However, were not in comas when were asleep, and neither are babies so whatever can potentially wake you up is probably going to wake your baby as well.
Read more: When your Baby Hates to Cuddle
So, I always tell parents to be respectful that someone is sleeping and to keep in mind what kinds of things you would or would not do if your spouse were taking a nap. For example, youre not going to vacuum right beside them. Just be mindful that theres someone in the house thats sleeping and everyone needs to be respectful of that.
If you’re too quiet and tiptoeing around the house during naps, then any kind of little disturbance from dead quiet is probably going to wake up your baby, such as the telephone ringing or the dog barking. Therefore, you dont want to be too, too quiet.
Best interest of your family
It can be difficult sometimes to convince in-laws or friends and family members that the things youre doing for your baby is whats in the best interest of your family. A lot of people write in and say they get tons of flack from their friends because they say they have to be home for nap time or cant go out past seven because they’ve got to get their baby to bed. I understand where those people are coming from; they probably want you to stay out and have a good time. Once they see that your child is well rested and happy when they are awake, most friends and family members come around.
I remember the first time my in-laws babysat for a weekend, while we went away. When we got home they told us that our daughter was an excellent baby... as long as they followed the schedule and stuck to her routines! That told us that they might have tried to mess with her schedule a little bit and then realised that its wasn’t a good idea. They then saw the longer term rewards of keeping the routine because when she was awake, she was happy, engaged and playful. When she was ready to sleep, he went to sleep.
Since then they have always jumped right on board with our childrens schedules. Now, anytime they babysit they’re very supportive of our routines. I even find them bragging to their other grandparent friends about how well their grandchildren go to bed and sleep and what good children they are. I think eventually your friends and family will too see that you’ve made a good decision for your child.
Light Sleepers…sort off!
Another thing I hear a lot about is the issue of light sleepers. A lot of new clients or new parents to the program worry that their child is such a light sleeper and with the tiniest noise, theyll wake up. That is common when a child is, what I consider tricked into sleep. (For example, if you rock a baby to sleep and then try to carefully transfer him to his crib.)
What will happen then is that if there is a bit of environmental noise, theyll probably wake up with a start and realise they are not in your arms anymore. Often they wake up crying right off the bat because theyre no longer where they were when they fell asleep. For anyone, that would be fairly alarming, so those types of situations sort of create this hair trigger; with the tiniest noise and your babys going to fly awake and probably start crying.
Once a child learns their own skills for getting to sleep, they’ll become fairly deep and successful sleepers. If, for example an ambulance goes by in the night, I might wake up and and acknowledge that its an ambulance but I’ll go right back to sleep. I wouldn’t need anyone to come to me or do anything for me. I’ll know that it woke me up but I will have the skills to get myself back to sleep. When a baby has those same skills, and your loud friend is laughing or telling a story that wakes them, they’ll acknowledge that they heard a noise and they’ll go back to sleep. You will probably find that your once super light sleeper becomes a fairly deep sleeper, within reason, and capable of getting themselves back to sleep should they be awoken by something.
Tammy, I agree that you do need to ask your in-laws to be mindful that someones sleeping and that they help keep the noise level to a minimum.