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Hey, hey!

I'm Michele DiSpirito

I've been where you are.

Tired. No. Exhausted! Frustrated and confused as to what to do with an adorable little one that just. won't. sleep.

I'm a mom to three boys ages 6 and under, wife to Kyle for 17 years, and all about getting some good sleep for us all! While struggling to make sleep consistent and a reality with my oldest, I scoured the internet for answers and was left more frustrated and confused than when I started. I wanted a clear path; someone I trusted to just tell me what to do, how to do it, and when. What I wanted was what I'm here to be for you today - a Pediatric Sleep Consultant.

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Overcoming Your Baby's Bedtime Battles


Let’s talk about baby bedtime battles.

Whether you’ve been doing a routine for a while or you've just started one, sometimes little ones fight it and sometimes it leaves us questioning why in the world. So today we're going to go over the reasons and then some ways to overcome those battles.

So often when I talk about bedtime battles, toddlers and preschoolers come to mind, but babies are not neglected in the bedtime battles scenario. And typically there are two scenarios I see that are common in these bedtime battles.

Scenario 1: You just started implementing the routine recently.

This often happens when I'm working with families. We've gone over what a great bedtime and naptime routine is and a few days after the family starts implementing it, they notice that as soon as they start drawing the bath or they start putting on their baby’s jammies or the sleepsack that their baby starts crying or getting really upset.

In this case, this is totally understandable and definitely a common occurrence.

And it's actually a good sign!

It's a good sign because it's showing that your baby is learning the routine and knows what is to be expected. Unfortunately, it also shows that they aren't loving going to bed yet. But most children and even some adults are that way.

If you're implementing this new routine alongside a lot of other changes, like how the baby is getting to sleep, then they're going to be a little unsettled about these new things.

So in this case, I say stay consistent with your soon-to-be established routine.

Your baby won't always fight it! They'll start enjoying bath time and books again and the routine will become a sweet time in your day. So stay strong in it and know it's just a short season.

Scenario 2: You've been doing your routine for a while and your baby has recently just started fighting it.

There are a few things that I want you to dig into here to see if maybe these are the root issues:

  1. Have you noticed any recent milestones that your baby is trying to reach or has reached recently? This can definitely interfere with sleep which, in turn, makes them not want to do their routine because they know that sleep is coming… They’d rather be practicing any sort of new milestone ahead of them. This may tie into a sleep regression.

  2. Are they struggling with something with sleep or just the routine? If you're not noticing any issues with actual sleep, and it's just during the routine that they're not happy anymore, then stay consistent with what you're doing or you can definitely reevaluate the routine. If they're also struggling with sleep, are they feeling well or are they around the age where they're ready for…

  3. Is it time for a schedule change potentially? A lot of schedule changes happen in the early days of newborn life through five to six months old, around six to eight months old they’re ready to drop to two naps and the transition to one nap is closer to 15 months old. From then on, they're on that one nap until typically age three or four. So if you're in the early days of baby life, and you're noticing that they're struggling with sleep, not just the routine, it might be time to kind of tweak the schedule. So that's something to consider.

  4. Time to change up the routine? If it's just the routine that they're having a hard time with, remember, routines don't need to be super long, especially in the baby stage. It only needs to be just a few minutes long. If your routine is too long, that could be a little frustrating, and/or they're possibly getting into an overtired state. A naptime routine doesn't need to be more than three-five minutes. The bedtime routine is around 20-45 minutes long.

If you know the routine isn’t too long, check to see if there are certain things in it that they're not a fan of that you don't have to do. Maybe they don't like singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, so it’s ok to pick another song or read a book instead. Keep a routine consistent, but it’s ok to try a new one for a while.

So to recap, the two main times I really see babies struggling with routine is first the routine is new, and typically when a routine is new, there's also some form of sleep training trying to be implemented around sleep times. So if that's the case, then just stick to the routine. Let it become a consistent, established routine and your baby won't always be fighting it or be upset around it.

The second scenario is if the routine has been established, and fighting the routine is a new phenomenon, then it's time to evaluate the scheduled time to see if there is any sleep regression going on, any new milestones that they're trying to hit, and then focus on those things more so than the routine, unless your routine is a bit long or there are parts of it you can tell that your baby just is not a fan of. Then you can switch that up and try new things and then have a newly established routine.


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