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the crib sheet


Elizabeth Nalle

Maybe this has happened to you?  (If you are reading a blog about sleep, then probably at least one of these scenarios has been on your radar screen.)

  • You baby who is the most impossible napper takes a two hour nap with your mother in law but with you only sleeps 15 minutes.
  • Your two year old will only nap with your nanny, but with you on the weekends?  Forget it.
  • You have (well, now, 'had') a perfect sleeper for months and months, and now that child you have been bragging about is waking up 3 times a night.

Needless to say, I could go on and on with scenarios like these, and I am just drawing from my own experiences with my children.  Why?  What happened?  In honor of April Fool's Day, we thought it would be fun to point out how our children mess with us, and what we can do about it.

  1. It is pretty much a fact that after a certain age, our children behave better and yes sleep better for others.  This is why they go down easier and sleep longer for a care giver.  Don't despair.  Honestly in life you want your children to be their best selves when engaging with the outside world.  What can you do?  If you want your child to nap on the weekends with you, then you have to work hard to be consistent and structured so that she learns that you mean business too.  Allow a busy morning or awake period, offer a calming wind down, and then do your sleep routine and stick with it even when you get push back.  It takes practice and repetition, but it will get there (it just takes longer).
  2. What happened to your perfect sleeper?  Our guess is that he went from perfect to not so perfect for a distinct reason or a combination of reasons -- usually it is due to a developmental leap combined with sickness/teething/travel.  You can get your good sleeper back, but you have to reset a bit and sometimes even retrain.  I know this sounds daunting, but it is critical that your child learns how to sleep again now that he can pull to stand or now that he has finally gotten those three teeth in.  Just craft a plan that will work for you sleeper now that he can stand or roll or talk, and then just like before, start at bedtime and be consistent (confidence helps too?).  We can of course help you with this!
  3. Why are the long naps suddenly short?  Again, like above, something is probably affecting your sleeper when she hits a light sleep cycle.  Just focus on how she goes down to begin with, and give it some time, they should lengthen out.  You can also take a closer look at your schedule, if you feel that the timing is off.  Finally, give her 10-15 minutes to see if she can go back when she wakes after a short nap.

Finally, April Fool's Day holds a special place in my heart and will forever because, on this day, I jumped in cab with my giant hospital bag 100% sure I was in active labor with my son.  They sent me home.  The joke was on me.  I wasn't laughing.  He was born the next day.