Night-Waking: Does Your Baby or Toddler Have a Problem?

Posted by in No-Cry Sleep

During the first year of life, a baby wakes up frequently during the night. Amongst toddlers, about 47% of them wake at least once per night and need an adult’s help to return to sleep. Night waking is not a problem. It is a biological fact. The problem lies in our perceptions of how a baby or young child should sleep and in our own needs for an uninterrupted night’s sleep.

Regarding naps, it is very common for babies and toddlers to nap on an erratic schedule, and to require a parent’s help to fall asleep. This is biologically normal, but situationally challenging.

Sleep problems arise because we parents want and need our long stretches of sleep to function at our best in our busy lives. We need our children to nap for their own health and for our sanity, as well.

The idea, then, is to accept normal biological processes and to slowly, respectfully, and carefully nudge our child’s natural sleep maturity so that their sleep patterns stabilize into a configuration that works for everyone in the family.

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We do this by learning what’s normal, and then tuning in to our child’s sleep needs, reading our child’s tired signals, setting up a perfect sleep environment, and creating comfortable routines, so that your child joyfully welcomes sleep, and doesn’t need your help to fall asleep or for every single awakening during naps and nighttime sleep.

What is often forgotten is that all families are unique, and each parent/child pair has their own comfort level and goals.

Before going a step further, I suggest that you examine your situation to make sure that you are seeing things, including night waking, clearly.

I’ve found that during the early years of a child’s life, everyone has opinions about how you should be raising your child – particularly when it comes to sleep and night waking – and other people’s opinions may sometimes cloud your own perceptions of reality. So, take a deep breath, clear out all the cobwebs that other people have placed in your path, take an honest and practical look at your child’s sleep, and make a realistic sleep plan.

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