It’s so common for mothers to worry when their toddlers don’t sleep through the night. After all, everyone knows they’re “supposed to.” Some doctors recommend nighttime weaning and “cry it out” methods if your baby is not sleeping through the night by 6 months or even earlier. There are books all over the bookstores with advice on solving so-called “sleep problems.” First, please ignore what everyone else says about your child’s sleep habits and what is “normal.” Every child is different, and some sleep through the night earlier than others and schedules or food usually have nothing to do with this. So if your baby/toddler is still not sleeping through the night? It’s totally fine and we tell you why.
THEY ARE SUPPOSE TO WAKE UP
It is common for breastfed babies to not sleep through the night for a long period of time. Your baby will begin to comfort herself and to sleep for longer stretches at her own developmental pace. If your baby wants to nurse at night, it is because she does need this, whether it’s because she is hungry or because she wants to be close to mom. Beginning to sleep through the night is similar to a developmental milestone (like walking or toilet training) that your baby will reach when she is ready. Trying to force your child to reach this before her time may result in other problems later on.
THEY CRAVE CLOSE CONTACT
Human babies are born earlier in their development than other animals therefore they need close contact or an “external womb”. Other animals are able to walk around and start eating since birth, but human babies are born 9 to 18 months early compared to other animals and that means human babies naturally need more care. Letting them to “cry it out” doesn’t help at all! Keep that baby calm while the brain systems are finishing because they only have 25% of the adult brain-size developed, and a lot of systems haven’t set their thresholds and parameters yet. They’re expecting good care – like in an external womb or nest.
HOW LONG WILL IT LAST FOR?
Remember that night waking in babies and young children is normal and temporary! Children grow out of night waking, even when we do nothing to discourage it. This period of time will be a very tiny part of your child’s years with you. Your goal is to maximise sleep for everyone in the family, while respecting the needs of your child. If you’re meeting this goal, then ignore anyone who suggests that you do things differently. If your sleep situation is not working (or stops working) then you can always do things differently. All parents find that they change the way they do things as their child grows older and reaches different developmental stages – sleep is just another thing that changes as your child grows.
We know it’s tough enough being a parent on top of everything else but it’s always good for your child to develop essential habits at a young age. Want to know how you can do that? We lay it down all for you here.
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