Thursday, September 28, 2017

Sleep Disruptions You Will Face as a Babywise Mom (and how to deal with them)

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As Babywise moms, we work so hard on sleep. We really believe in the benefits and importance of healthy sleep and put a lot of effort into making sure our babies and children are set up in life to sleep well. When a sleep disruption comes along, it can be very stressful and frustrating! All of that work! Was it for nothing? Will the baby ever sleep well again? How can we fix it!



Sleep Disruptions You Will Face as a Babywise Mom (and how to deal with them)

Notice I said when the sleep disruption happens and not if. Sleep disruptions are a when. They will come. Spoiler alert that yes, your baby can sleep well again and yes, you can fix it. No, it won't last forever and no, it wasn't all a waste of your time and efforts. Here are some common sleep disruptions you likely will face and how to work around each of them.

1-Growth Spurts
No matter how you choose to parent, growth spurts are a part of life for babies. Growth spurts happen every 3-4 weeks, so sleep disruptions from growth spurts are super common! It is wise to check to see if hunger is the reason for your sleep disruption very first thing. An easy way to do this is to simply feed baby when baby wakes early and see what happens. If she eats, and then wants to eat again in another 2-3 hours, then it is likely a growth spurt. If not, move on to another idea. See Growth Spurts for more help on identifying if your baby is hungry or just waking early.

2-Sickness
Another disruption to sleep you will face as a parent is sickness. When a cold or any other sickness hits your child, he won't sleep as well. When your child isn't sleeping well because of sickness, then you want to just provide the comfort and relief she needs. Do not stress out about the "rules" or the "schedule." Do your best to still let him h ave sleep because sleeping helps people get better faster (when you're sick, rest is best). Do not hesitate to give comfort for your sick one. He might backtrack some once he is better, but you can work through that (and he might not backtrack!). See Comforting a Sick Toddler/Baby for more. 

3-Teething
Not all babies stop sleeping well when teething and not every tooth will cause your baby to have disruptions to her sleep. It does happen, though. With my own children, I found the first tooth that ever came in caused sleep issues as well as certain molars. For Brinley, my fourth child, most teeth really bothered her. The dentist said it is because she has more collagen in her gums than the average person, so it was harder for the tooth to break through. Because of that, she had the pain and pressure longer than most do while teething.

When I suspect teeth, I always give some Ibuprofen right as I put the baby down for a nap. If it is teething, the medicine will usually get her through the sleep transition so she sleeps through her nap. If she doesn't sleep through, I check other possible reasons for the short naps. See Surviving Teething for help comforting a teething baby or child. 

4-Wonder Weeks
The Wonder Weeks are predictable times when babies get fussier than usual. These times are often accompanied by disrupted sleep. A very common age for sleep issues from the Wonder Weeks is right around four months old. Another one is around ten months old. See Wonder Weeks Information for more. 

5-Schedule Needs Changing
One of the harder transitions to deal with is when your baby needs a change in his schedule. Babies will stop sleeping well if they need waketime length to be different--either shorter or longer. See The Cornerstone for Good Naps for help there. Babies can stop sleeping well if they need to eat at longer intervals, like when your baby is ready to move to a four hour schedule. Babies can stop sleeping well if they need the dreamfeed dropped. See Dropping the "Dream Feed" for more on that. 

6-New Skills
As your baby gets older, she will start to develop new skills. She will learn to roll over. She will learn to sit up, clap her hands, crawl, and stand. She will learn to make noises with her mouth and to clap her hands. When these new skills are new to her, she might very well start either fighting sleep when falling asleep or fighting it when transitioning mid-nap so she can practice these new and amazing skills.  See New Skills and Sleep Disruptions {Rolling, Crawling, Standing, etc.} for more on this topic.

7-Activities
As tempting as it might be, you can't live your entire life confined to your house in order to avoid disruptions. Activities will disrupt sleep. Church inevitably disrupts sleep. Extended family parties and activities disrupt sleep. There are many different things that will come up that will negatively impact your baby's sleep schedule.

I had a few ground rules to help minimze the impact of these disruptions. One is that I wouldn't do too many in a row. Since Church was on Sunday, we stayed home on Monday so that sleep could be back to normal. If we had a family party Saturday, I made sure Thursday and Friday was super consistent so the baby wouldn't be too thrown off by having Saturday and Sunday disrupted. 

I was consistent when we were home. I didn't let activities rule. I went for balance and didn't let baby's sleep nor activities be the trump card. See these posts for more:

8-Environmental Factors
As if you don't have enough working against you without adding in environmental considerations. The sun might disrupt your child's sleep--if so, get blackout curtains or blinds. It might be too hot or too cold for your baby to sleep. If so, adjust the thermostat and what he is wearing for sleep. See 

9-Traveling
10 common sleep disruptions and how to deal with themVacations are fun and create great memories! But if YOU get disrupted with your sleep on a vacation, imagine what it does to your baby. I don't say that to discourage you from traveling, just to make sure you face the reality that yes, traveling does disrupt sleep patterns. See Traveling Sleep Hierarchy for Babies and How To Travel Without "Un-doing" Babywise.

10-Time Change
Of all of the sleep disruptions that come my way in life, the time change the one obnoxious one for me. It often takes a few weeks to get back on track after a time change. That isn't just with babies; adults take a long time, too. See Shifting Your Schedule {Time Change, Time Zones}  and How To Manage The Time Change Your Way for helps on this disruption. 

Conclusion
Sleep disruptions are not exciting. They cause stress and throw you off. I promise, however, that they don't last forever and that there are things you can do to help your baby through the disruptions, minimize the negative impact of the disruption, and get back on track. 

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The ladies of the BFBN are all talking about disruptions today. Check out these posts:

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