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What about Mum?

Sleep training your little one is a demanding experience. I’ve never had a client who said it wasn’t worth it, however it is a lot of work and requires a lot of discipline.

I like to explain to my clients that the few weeks of sleep training we do together is like laying a foundation of a house. We want to spend the time we have together laying a good foundation which will hold them in good stead moving forward.

However, once the commitment has been made and they get their baby on a steady, predictable nap schedule and sleeping consistently through the night, they sometimes find they have a new issue facing them.

They’re hesitant to deviate away from their routine.

It’s totally understandable. After all, they’ve usually gone from a horrible situation where neither they or their little one are getting any sleep, often for months, to a completely opposite scenario where everyone in the household is now well-rested and happy, and it’s usually taken place over a few weeks.

That’s a massive improvement to the whole family’s quality of life. You can understand why parents are hesitant to change the new routine and risk a backslide.

So, if you are a parent of a young baby, that means three naps a day and full nights of sleep every night. So, when are you supposed to ‘live’ exactly?

I don’t mean, “When are you supposed to get out for a fun night with your girlfriends?”

I mean, “When are you supposed to buy food?

After all, if you’re sticking to a rigid nap schedule with a newborn, you’ll get about an hour at a time when you could get out the house to the supermarket. Or go to the dentist, or get your hair done, or do any essential things that, let’s face it, take longer than an hour.

There’s also the risk of baby taking ‘micronaps’ in the car which we all know will sabotage the nap schedule!

So, for those times when life insists on impinging on your schedule, I’ve got some advice for minimising the impact that changing the schedule can have.

First of all, and most importantly, wait until you’ve formed a solid foundation for daytime naps. If baby’s been sleeping well during the day for about two weeks, you can feel confident about switching things up a little bit every once in a while.

How often is once in a while?

Well, I’d say four out of five days is consistent enough not to throw anything out of whack, but flexible enough to let you get some things done. And no, you can’t “bank” those days. No keeping to the schedule for 12 days and then breaking the rules for three in a row.

Secondly, if you need to skip a nap, or have a nap take place in the car or pram, I suggest you priortise the first nap of the day. The first nap of the day is when baby will get the deepest sleep, so keep the car or pram nap for later in the day if you can.

If you are in the situation where you need to let baby nap in the car, do everything you can to make sure she gets a full nap. If she falls asleep five minutes into a 10-minute trip, you might consider driving around for a bit until she’s had a decent nap. If you can easily remove your car seat/capsule, you could leave her in her seat and bring her inside, but we all know how that usually ends up.

What I don’t recommend is moving baby into their cot mid nap. I hardly see any success with this approach, and I am a big believer in baby waking up in the same place she managed to fall asleep.

If, however, baby does wake up before she’s had a decent nap, don’t try to put her back to sleep right away. You’re better off waiting for about an hour before you try again.

Above all, don’t be afraid to ask for some help if you can get it. Ideally, baby should be in their cot for their naps, so if you can pass her over to a parent or a friend for a few hours, you should absolutely take advantage of it. I’m sure that you’ll have plenty of opportunities to pay the favour back to your loved ones in some way.

Contact our sleep consultant today to book your free introductory consultation.


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