Do you have a child at home? Are you feeling Sleep Deprived? You are not alone.
How many times have you heard people say, “I want to sleep like a baby”? This is a statement I do not understand. What adult wants to sleep for two hours, wake up for 30 to 45 minutes, and then repeat the same cycle several times over the next 24 hours? No thank you.
Whenever I am out in public and see a new baby with their parents that look exhausted my heart aches! I wonder to myself how are they doing? Are they discouraged? Very few people talk about the fact babies can be exhausting. As a new parent, you receive a great deal of advice. I heard several times that all babies do is sleep. I wanted to scream, “Not mine!”
After a few months had passed, our sleep was improving. Our little man had some medical issues that made sleep difficult but not impossible. He had acid reflux and allergies. Once the medical issues were being treated we taught our little man how to sleep on his own. When he woke up it was to have a diaper change or to be fed. After his needs were met, he went back to sleep.
Once a child is taught how to sleep on their own, a whole new world opens up. The parents are well rested and the baby is able to respond effectively to stimuli.
Dr. Marc Weisbluth, author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child explains the importance of sleep:
“Sleep is the power source that keeps your mind alert and calm. Every night and at every nap, sleep recharges the brain’s battery. Sleeping well increases brainpower just as weight lifting builds stronger muscles, because sleeping well increases your attention span and allows you to be physically relaxed and mentally alert at the same time.”
There are several reasons that infants struggle with sleep. If a medical reason is suspected, I suggest getting that it should be ruled out first.
Here are some of the common things that I see:
- The child is dependent on a sleep prop (See my previous post about sleep props for more information).
- Parents respond too quickly to a child’s noise.
- The room is too hot or cold.
- The room is not dark enough.
Remember you do not have to do this alone. I have spoken to many people that feel that they are not good parents or not “cut out to be a parent” because they struggle with getting their child to sleep effectively. Please know that those statements are not true. Societal pressure sometimes makes it hard to ask for help. If you or someone you know has a child that struggles with sleep please give them the gift of sleep. It is okay to ask for help.