So, you’ve done the hard work of sleep training your baby, spent many days (maybe even weeks) getting your baby on a sleep schedule, and finally figured out the best way for your baby to sleep through the night. This is terrific news for you and your family!
Now, does this mean you can go back to your old ways (pre-sleep training) and not think about your child’s sleeping habits at all?
The short answer is no. Teaching your baby how to fall asleep independently is an essential first step, but this doesn’t mean the work is done. To maintain this schedule, you need to be mindful of scheduled bedtimes and naps. Yes, this may even be harder than the initial phase of sleep training your baby, but it will be worth it.
The truth is that you may have to re-schedule play dates, family activities, and other generally fun stuff to accommodate your baby’s sleep schedule. This doesn’t mean you’re stuck at home or need to cut activities short and rush home every time naptime is approaching. However, it does mean being more flexible, planning ahead, and changing your perspective.
For example, you and a friend are arranging a playdate for this coming weekend. The only free time they have available is right smack in the middle of naptime. You will probably be tempted to reason with yourself that you can just push back your baby’s naptime, just this once.
However, what do you think that playdate will look like?
Your baby will miss naptime, become overtired, and probably start fussing. An overtired baby will definitely shed some (or a lot of) tears. Instead of putting your baby and yourself through this stressful event, re-schedule the playdate for another day that works with your baby’s nap. A well-rested and alert baby will enjoy the playdate more. You’ll avoid an unwelcome meltdown that you could have prevented.
Apply this thinking to other social and family events as well. Yes, it will seem like a hassle at first, but this is the tradeoff for having a well-rested baby. Start thinking quality over quantity. There may be fewer playdates and less social events you can attend, but the ones you do attend will be with a happy baby.
Here’s another reason to stick to your baby’s sleep schedule.
Babies who can fall asleep independently are easier to leave with other people. A babysitter, grandma, or aunt will happily look after your baby during that much-needed date night with your partner or simply when you need some alone time. All grownups involved will be much more comfortable knowing that baby will fall asleep independently and peacefully during naptime and bedtime.
Don’t think you need to be stuck at home, but you need to plan ahead and weigh your options more carefully. While there will be some fun activities you’ll have to decline to stick to your child’s sleep schedule, the positives will still greatly outweigh the negatives. Being a little more mindful of your baby’s sleep schedule will allow you to enjoy select social events while having a happy, healthy and well-rested baby.
If your baby is struggling with sleep and you’re wanting to explore options to improve it, please use the link below to book a Free 15 minute discovery call with one of our team members. Louise and Hannah have helped over 1500 families in Singapore and beyond achieve improved sleep for their baby’s. And we’d love the opportunity to help you too!