The Basic Facts About Sleep
Everyday, people call us to say, "I can't get my baby to sleep. Can you help?" Some parents are at their wits end. They feel isolated and confused by all the different theories about babies and sleep. We honestly believe that the best way to overcome your baby's sleep issues is to work with one of our sleep consultants because we can help you determine what issues are really at play and what strategies are going to be relevant for your situation.
That said, here are some basic facts about sleep that every parent should know.
You Need Sleep
We believe in being straight forward with parents. You aren't superheroes: you're human. To be the best possible parent to your little one, the elevator has to make it to the top floor. Here's what prolonged lack of sleep does to parents:
- Forgetfulness - you can't find your keys, wallet or diaper bag; you can't remember if you told your partner things, if you ate or what you just read.
- Depressed - you have emotional crying spells, feel overwhelmed, and possibly even feel resentful towards your child.
- Short-tempered - you blow up easily, you might get frustrated that you aren't getting the help you need, or are short on empathy.
- Relationship issues - you feel as though there is a wedge between you and your partner, and that you don't agree on anything anymore.
- Trapped - you feel unable to go out or put your baby down. You have not been out with a friend or on a date with your partner for a long time, or feel like you are isolated and no one understands what you are going through.
- Low confidence - you regularly feel like you don't know what to do; you get confused by things you've read on parenting and sleep issues, and you might feel increased fear and anxiety.
It's hard to be an effective parent if you are exhausted. You'll see a huge difference in your confidence and your outlook once you regulate your child's sleep behaviours and meet your own sleep needs.
Babies and Toddlers Need Sleep
Every parent knows their child needs sleep but you should be aware of the signs that your child is not getting enough sleep:
- Crying and fussing - prolonged crying spells and long fussy periods, usually the fussy behaviour will get worse throughout the day. Older children are more likely to have temper tantrums.
- Rubbing eyes - red-rimmed eyes, dark circles under the eyes.
- Staring - babies sometimes turn their head away when you try to engage in play or start staring off into space.
- Frequently sick - lack of sleep can cause lowered immunity, which creates a cycle where the illness causes poor sleep and poor sleep makes it harder to fight illness.
- Limited learning - little ones may demonstrate difficulty acquiring new skills and retaining knowledge.
- Hyperactivity - paradoxically, a sleep-deprived child may appear very alert and fight sleep.
Baby Sleep Experts Differ
When it comes to infant sleep problems, the pendulum swings between two main schools of thought: Dr Sears' Attachment Parenting and Dr. Richard Ferber's Ferber Method.
For many parents, knowing which sleep training method to follow can be incredibly difficult. Although sleep experts have different opinions on methods, they all agree that sleep is important, and when the overall quality of sleep is poor, it can be reflected in your child's physical, emotional and mental well-being, and your own.
Cheekychops Sleep and Parenting Consultants don't subscribe to one theory.
We look at your baby, your family dynamics, your realities, and develop a step-by-step sleep plan that is personalized to meet your needs.
"I admit to having been skeptical initially when Natalie suggested a sleep consultant, but I am now an absolute convert. Last night, Friday that is, we had two out of three make it through the night. Much obliged."
— Jack, dad to one-year-old triplets, Ottawa
“Within three weeks of our initial consultation, our daughter was sleeping 12 hours each night. We are eternally grateful to Dawnn and recommend her highly.”
— Dr. Jennifer and John Morgan, parents of a six-month-old girl