Sleep Swings And Roundabouts
There'll be times when your Small's sleep is settled (ish!), and times when it's an utter shiz show. Small sleep can be swings and roundabouts!
It's so tough and tiring but it IS totally natural. I promise you aren't doing anything wrong and your Small isn't missing their sleep setting.
Small sleep is not a linear process. It's changing ALL the time because your Small is changing all the time as they learn and develop. Sometimes this can be as frequently as on the daily!
Let's look at some of the things your Small has to learn and process:
- Life outside of the womb
- How to feed and swallow
- Non verbal communication
- How to interact with you
- How their limbs move
- Sitting up
- Crawling and cruising
- Learning leaps
- Life process
- Starting nursery/school
As you can see there's a lot going on for them. We can never get to the end of the day and say yep, got my Small nailed because they like to keep us on our toes!
Keep The Sleep Real
We're led to believe we should sleep train once, and then their sleep is settled forever. Firstly, I don't believe we need to sleep train, ever, and secondly, as your Small changes so will their sleep. It's realistic that they may need your support to settle to sleep or wake at night and this can differ from day to day.
Sleep will be swings and roundabouts. It's natural and you're not doing anything wrong although I know it feels like it!
Check Your Bed Basics
Nap and bedtime timings can change as your Small changes. Their routine constantly needs adapting to meet their ever changing needs!
If sleep suddenly becomes a shiz show check your bed basics:
- Naps: Are they ready to stay awake for longer periods or drop a nap? If they're fighting their naps try a slightly earlier time and if that doesn't work try pushing them a bit later.
- Bedtime: I don't have a fixed bedtime on my approach as it often needs changing as they change. If they're bed begging (crying in the run up to bath and then again when getting dressed for bed) try bringing their bedtime a little earlier. If they seem raring to go and wide awake try pushing it a little later.
- Bedtime routine: Have a bedtime routine where you do the same 3 or 4 things in the same order every night. It maybe bed boring for you but it helps everything feel familiar to your Small so they can settle to sleep.
Consistency is key
Change is strange for your Small, and if they're going through a sleep storm try to be as consistent as possible by:
- Implementing or sticking to your usual bedtime routine
- Settling them to sleep in the same way every night
- Responding to them in the same way every night
When you see change try to stay consistent. It's not the time to be making drastic changes for them!
Your Small may go through times where their sleep is unsettled and may even go back to needing night feeds even if they've previously slept for long stretches. This is perfectly natural and it's never wrong to respond or feed them at night if they need it.
If your sleep is a constant shiz show and unsettled, there's absolutely no sleep shame in asking for help and support. Talk to your friends or family and remember, I'm always here to offer you a shoulder of sleep solidarity.