The 5 Biggest Baby Sleep Mistakes Parents Make

By Misty on in Baby Sleep Help Baby Sleep Needs with 2 Comments

The 5 Biggest Baby Sleep Mistakes Parents Make
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Having a baby sleeping through the night is the ultimate goal for many parents. Getting babies to sleep and to stay asleep is one of the biggest and daunting challenges of early parenthood. It can also be one of the most confusing time for parents as well. You may be asking yourself “Is my baby getting enough sleep?”, “Is my baby sleeping too much?” or “Why won’t my baby stop crying and fussing and go to sleep?”. Don’t worry you aren’t alone in wondering these things and if you avoid making the mistakes below, you will be well on your way to making sure your baby sleeps better.

Mistake #1 – Not Taking Advantag of a Regular Bedtime Routine

Most adults have a bedtime routine they use to help them wind down before getting to bed: taking a shower, drinking a cup of tea, brushing your teeth, reading a book, etc. Babies aren’t any different. A bedtime routine will not only help your baby get into a relaxing state of mind when it’s bedtime but a routine with close interaction between you and your baby can be a wonderful bonding experience. A basic bedtime routine could include winding down with a calming warm bath followed up with a bedtime bottle while you read your baby his or her favorite story and finishing up with a close snuggle while you rock your little one until they are ready to be put in the crib.

Mistake #2 – Not Paying Attention to Baby Sleep Cues

Babies are great at giving cues that they are ready for sleep. The problem is that many parents aren’t in tune with watching for them. Missing or disregarding your baby’s cues of sleepiness can result in difficulty in falling asleep. Yawns are an obvious sign but you can also watch for lots of blinking, turning their head from side to side, rubbing their ears or eyes or looking very docile in their demeanor. Keeping a watch for sleep cues from your baby will ensure your baby doesn’t become overtired, over stimulated and miss out on important sleep.

Mistake #3 – Letting Baby Stay Up Late with the Hope They’ll Sleep In

Many times parents think that if their baby is really tired because they’ve been awake for a long time that they will sleep better and longer. This is a common misconception and one that will keep you up all night and awake much earlier if you don’t correct. Babies who are overtired won’t sleep soundly at night, in fact they typically cry often and will sleep so poorly that they may wake up several times at night. The best thing you can do for your baby is manage their sleep schedule and help him or her sleep frequently and for longer periods of times throughout the day. When nighttime comes, be sure they follow their regular bedtime routine and try to keep the same bedtime consistently. Of course, you can’t force anything on a baby, especially sleep, but it’s our job as parents to do our best to guide them in the direction they should go.

Mistake #4 – Not Letting Baby Get “Good” Sleep

No one fancies becoming a slave to their baby’s sleep schedule. But the truth of the matter is naps in the car seat, stroller, or in the high chair don’t provide your baby with adequate sleep. Sleeping in motion keeps the baby’s brain in a light sleep making it impossible for the baby to fall into a deep, restful sleep that is the best kind of sleep for a baby. When your baby is allowed to fall into a deep sleep, bloody supply to muscles is increases, energy is restored, tissue growth and repair occur and important hormones are released that are vital to the growth and development of your baby. To help your baby get a deeper, more restful sleep and to form better sleeping habits, you should try to put your baby to sleep in the same place for all sleep. Their “sleep zone” is a place they have learned is for them to rest, it’s also one that you have made sure is dark and quiet for them and can allow for uninterrupted sleep.

Mistake #5 – Switching from a Crib to Toddler Bed too Early

Many parents assume that after their babies are no longer babies (after a year or even 18 months) they should ditch the crib and move their little sleeper into a toddler bed. While it may sound like a good idea at first to help them feel like a “big kid” this is not a good idea. Young children even as early as two years old still do not have self control and cognitive development to help them to stay safely within the boundaries of a toddler bed. The other advantage to keeping your baby in his or her crib as long as possible is the ability to keep them in their bed and able to fall back asleep should they wake up. If they are in a toddler bed that they can easily get out of, when your baby wakes, she will most likely make her way into your room to wake you up only to put her back to bed. The best thing you can do to maintain a regular sleep pattern for your baby is to keep her in her crib for as long as possible.

*If your baby can climb out of the crib, it is definitely time to switch to a toddler bed due to the danger of falling out and getting hurt.

I hope some of these tips have helped you in deciding what not to do when it comes to your baby’s sleep. Sleep is important for the growth and development of your baby. Make sure your baby is getting enough sleep by forming good sleep habits and if you are already making any of the above mistakes, it’s never too late, you can form better habits to help your baby sleep better today!

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  1. Bonnie Gean

    November 4, 2013 at 7:16 am · Reply

    I waited until the last possible moment to switch my daughter from crib to a toddler bed. If I had my way, she would have remained in the crib longer! :)

    1. Misty

      November 4, 2013 at 12:47 pm · Reply

      With my first child, I was still learning to be a good parent and I moved my son from his crib to a toddler bed at around 20 months. It was an absolute nightmare. There were nights I would wake up hearing him out in the living room playing with his toys. We had to start putting a gate up at his door to keep him in there.

      With my other kids, they were all around 2 1/2, almost 3 before they made it into a toddler bed. I would imagine with my daughter who is now 11 months old, we will do the same thing. I agree with you, the longer the better!

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