When should I start focusing on my child's sleep?
"Oh, honey! You can expect to have months and years of sleepless nights."
Don't let anyone tell you this unless it is a sleep specialist or pediatrician or some other doctor who has determined that your child has a medical issue preventing him from sleeping well or gives you specific instructions to wake your child for things such as feedings or medication or some other valid reason.
Even though they have good intentions, especially do not believe this if it comes from a parent of a child who is not sleeping well or your mother-in-law.
So when is it a good time to focus on your child's sleep?
Now! The answer is now. You can start with day one of your baby's life to help develop healthy sleep habits. You do NOT have to go several months or years.
Now, yes, with a newborn, your little one will be up every few hours for feedings. The first few weeks of a baby's life can be exhausting. However, this is just a phase!
As your newborn develops and grows, he will be able to sleep for longer stretches at night with fewer feedings and can eventually learn to fall asleep in his crib/basinet without you holding him, rocking him, or feeding him to sleep.
Helping your child to form healthy sleep habits early on can prevent months and years of sleepless nights with a fussy child. Knowing how to go about this now, can help you to prevent the necessity of sleep training in the future. Not to mention, forming healthy sleep habits comes with several short term and long term benefits for your child, but we shall focus on that in a later post.
If your child is no longer a newborn, that is ok! The older a child is, sometimes, the harder the struggle. However, you have not missed your opportunity to help your child sleep well.
No matter the age, sleep shaping and sleep training will be extremely beneficial in the long run to your little one and the entire family. Because, seriously, how many people do you know that function well without good sleep?