Every parent will tell you that a newborn baby is a blessing. And every new parent will tell you that a newborn baby that goes to bed every night peacefully is a true miracle. That’s because you’ve got either one of two different babies: one that will sleep through the night right away while the other cries uncontrollably, keeping you up and ultimately testing your patience as a new parent.
And as much as we rely on every tried and tested method to get our children to sleep efficiently and without too much difficulty, it doesn’t always work out that way. As a matter of fact, many parents are the reason why their children aren’t sleeping at night.
New moms and dads might not realize it, but usually make some very obvious mistakes when it comes to putting their babies to sleep. And because of their mistakes, they end up spending the entire night trying to find a way to put their babies to bed so they can get a little shuteye themselves.
As we all know, getting the entire family to sleep on the same schedule is by far the biggest challenge many moms and dads face during their first introduction to parenthood. With that being said, here are 15 mistakes that every parent makes when they are trying to put their babies to bed.
16The Room Has To Be Quiet
Don’t think that the room has to be absolutely quiet for your baby to fall asleep. This is a huge misconception that a lot of parents tend to believe in. There’s nothing wrong with a little background noise during nap time, especially if it comes in the form of television, a vacuum cleaner or even a traffic jam for that matter. Babies should be able to sleep whenever and wherever.
Plus, you can’t expect that your home will be absolutely quiet for the entire time your baby plans on napping. And you surely don’t want to be that kind of parent that is always on her toes around her baby, too. Don’t be afraid to let your baby fall asleep to the sound of banging pots and pans. The more noise, the better.
15Failing To Establish A Routine
It’s no secret that children thrive on routines and babies are no different. You need to establish a good sleep routine early on and stick to it. Sure, it’s not easy to find that routine, especially if you are a working parent who comes home during different times of the day or is forced to travel for work. But one way or another, a routine must be established and if you can’t be there during the same time everyday, someone else should be willing and ready to accept the role.
Children thrive on routine and babies are no different. As mundane as it may sound at first, make sure your baby knows that you expect three things out of them: sleep, eat, poop and repeat. And again: sleep, eat, poop and repeat until everyone is on the same page.
14Letting Baby Decide When To Go To Sleep
When it comes to parenthood, mom and dad make the rules. While every parent raises their children differently, there are some cases in which the kids like to rule the roost at home. But when you are trying to develop a healthy sleep pattern, it’s best if you set the rules early and make sure that your child abides by them, whether he or she likes it or not.
Simply put, you don’t want to let your baby go to bed on their own schedule. After all, you are the one who is working a daily shift, paying the bills and trying to make ends meet. And it’s you who needs to determine what time is the best time to wake up every morning, not your newborn baby or your 2-year-old toddler.
13Putting Baby To Bed With A Bottle
The number one mistake that parents make when they put their baby to sleep is allowing them to suck on a bottle. It’s not only harmful for their health, but incredibly dangerous too, especially once you walk away.
Plus, it’s not like adults can fall asleep with a drink in their hands. It’s nearly impossible! Also, there’s the issue of tooth decay. If you put your baby to bed with a bottle, the tot can choke, especially if they are lying on their back. Other studies have suggested that putting your baby to bed with a bottle might also cause ear infections. This is because the milk might flow down the baby’s throat to the middle ear, causing an infection. Only administer feedings when a parent or adult is present.
12Putting Baby To Bed With A Pacifier
Another huge mistake you are making is allowing your child to go to bed with a pacifier. Just imagine what will happen if your child accidentally loses their favorite blinky when you need it the most: all hell will break loose. The pacifier will end up being more important than your car keys, because without it, you are stuck. Your baby won’t fall asleep and you sure won’t be going anywhere.
By all means, don’t let your baby fall asleep with a bottle, a pacifier or any other foreign object in their mouths. Sure, it might seem easy at first, but you’re only giving yourself more work in the long run. And that’s something you don’t want to do. Plus, these habits will be incredibly hard to break the older your baby gets.
11Not Letting Baby Fall Asleep On Their Own
As easy as it is to try and assist your baby by holding, rocking or simply laying next to him or her while they try to fall asleep, your best bet is to keep away. That’s right – let your baby fall asleep on their own. If you continually do it for them, they’ll never learn how to self-soothe.
Now, hearing your baby scream bloody murder has to be hard on just about everyone. But if the crying eventually leads to a few whimpers and then some moments of silence, you are on the right path. If your baby continues to cry for hours with no end, there’s another problem you might need to check out. It might seem like an eternity, but trust us, your baby will eventually fall asleep.
10Relying On Motion
There’s no better feeling than the feeling of holding your baby in your arms. Any parent will tell you that. But if you are relying on your child to fall asleep while in the comfort of your arms, than you are doing it all wrong. Just trying to transfer the baby to his or her crib will automatically disrupt their slumber. And the last thing you want to do is wake a baby up after you’ve successfully managed to put him or her to sleep.
Also, it’s not a good idea to allow your child to fall asleep on a rocker or swing as well. As convenient as it may be (I’m sure most of us have done it in the past), there’s a strong possibility that something might go wrong the moment you turn the other way. Or worse, imagine what would happen the moment the batteries die or worse, your dog unexpectedly hits the swing while it’s in motion. Yikes!
9Letting Baby Fall Asleep On The Chest
It’s without a doubt that there are millions of mothers out there who love breastfeeding. There’s no better way to bond with your baby or get that kind of skin-to-skin contact than when you are nursing your child. But if you are allowing your baby to fall asleep while on your breast, you’ve got a huge problem on your hands.
If you do choose to allow your baby to fall asleep on your breast, there’s a good chance that the feeding will become a sleep association for your baby. In other words, he or she will fall asleep each and every time you are breastfeeding. And you certainly don’t want that, especially if you are unavailable or not around. Yet the longer you feed your baby to sleep, the more of a chance this will happen.
8Falling Asleep On A Bed Instead Of The Crib
When it comes to co-sleeping, half of parents love it while the other half absolutely hates it. And that’s absolutely ok as co-sleeping isn’t for everyone. But if you want to train your baby to sleep throughout the night, you are better off putting him or her in their designated crib rather than in the bed that you share with your partner.
Plus, things can get very crowded when there’s a party of three or more in one bed. Even if you enjoy co-sleeping, that doesn’t mean that your baby or your partner for that matter are both on board with the idea. Plus, everyone needs their space, and that goes for babies, too! If you find that your baby just isn’t sleeping enough in your bed, definitely put him or her back in their crib for the remainder of the night.
7Falling Asleep In A Car Seat
There are dozens of reasons why you shouldn’t allow your child to fall asleep in his or her car seat. First off, it’s uncomfortable and it might cause your child to suffer from back problems. Second, it’s not recommended by medical professionals.
Now, if you find that your baby falls asleep better in his or her car seat, gently take your tot out and place him or her in a crib for the remainder of their nap. You don’t want to allow your child to sleep in a car seat for more than two hours in the same position. No full-grown adult would want to sleep like that, either. In order for a baby to have a full-time, successful nap, you need to give your tot enough room to wiggle around in a safe place like their crib.
6Driving A Baby To Sleep
A lot of parents swear that the only way they could get their baby to fall asleep is to strap them in their car seat and drive several blocks around their neighborhood until their child snoozes off in the back seat. And while it’s a tried and tested method that has worked in the past, it might not be the most practical, either. Not every parent has the luxury (or the patience and the energy for that matter) to drive their baby in a car several times a day to make them fall asleep.
Not only can this get tiring and repetitive, but it can take a toll on your mental well-being, too. Can you imagine having to jump in a car each time you need to put your baby to bed? Just think of all the gas you are burning while driving around the neighborhood with no real cause. This is a huge no!
5Ignoring Sleep Cues
If you are ignoring your child’s sleep cues, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. If you see that your child is fussy, agitated or constantly scratching their eyes, it’s without a doubt that they are tired. And if you are ignoring these obvious signs, it will be even harder to make your child fall asleep during their normal sleep routine.
Think of it this way: when you are cranky and tired the last thing you want to do is be kept up in the middle of the day. You might be an entirely different person after a much-needed nap and believe it or not, children are the same way. Even if it’s not part of your daily routine, if you see that your baby is tired, let him or her sleep. And better yet, if time allows, take a nap with your child, too.
4Letting Baby Avoid Naps
When it comes to raising children, parents often find themselves struggling for power. They go back and forth with their children, trying to find a compromise that will satisfy all parties involved. But this doesn’t work all the time. If you let your baby avoid naps, you’re just setting yourself up for disaster.
Plus, have you seen what a cranky baby or toddler is capable of doing? Your little tyke needs to recharge his or her batteries and as their parent, it’s up to you to make sure that it happens at least once or twice a day. Naps are just as important as learning their ABC’s, saying please and thank you and calling grandma and grandpa on their birthdays. These are just a few things you just don’t want to skip!
3Scheduling Naps Too Late
If you are scheduling your baby’s last nap after dinner and then expect him or her to fall asleep again at around 9pm, you’re making a huge mistake. There’s no way that a baby will fall back asleep after they feel refreshed and energized after a long and much needed-nap. If you are scheduling your child’s naps too late, expect them to fall asleep even later in the evening.
At first it might seem like a good idea to let you child go to bed at 11pm at night because it will allow you and your partner to sleep in the next morning. But the party is over once you realize that it’s almost 2am in the morning and your baby has no interest in hitting his crib sheets or counting sheep for that matter. Your better off scheduling naps during the late mornings than afternoons.
2Mom And Dad Aren’t On The Same Page
If you want to be a successful parent, both mom and dad have to be on the same page. Communication is key, especially when it comes to raising your baby right. You can’t have two different sets of rules and expect your child to abide by both of them.
If mom is putting the baby to bed at 8pm, that means dad has to do the same thing the next day. If mom insists on keeping the baby in his or her crib throughout the night, she needs to let her partner know. And if dad wants to rock the baby before putting him or her to sleep, then by all means, mom needs to do the same. As parents, you have to be partners, teammates and co-workers, especially when it comes to raising kids.
1Giving Up Too Soon
The last thing you want to do is give in or give up too soon. It might be hard and it might feel like you are pulling your own hair out trying to make your baby fall asleep but at the end of the day, you are only doing your job as a parent. Every child needs at least two or three naps a day, especially during their first six to nine months of life. The last thing you want to do is give up on naps when you know that they are in the stage that they need it the most.
If you give up too soon, you are just setting yourself up for years of failure. You can’t let your baby walk all over you now the same way you wouldn’t let your toddler rule your house or your teenager talk back to you. Like most things, getting your baby to sleep throughout the night is a joint effort. You’ve got this, mama!
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