The biggest myth shared with new moms is that you have no control over your baby’s sleep habits.
“You must have an easy baby.”
That’s the phrase I heard over and over after I told people that my baby slept through the night. Not only does this statement discount the power of sleep training, but it also insinuates that sleep is based on the luck of an excellent temperament.
Babywise and Temperament: Why Your Terrible Sleeper Can Sleep Through the Night Too
If you’re starting to think that your 'terrible sleeper' will never sleep through the night, let me reassure you that he can. Your baby’s temperament and Babywise can coexist and even thrive. Here’s how:
What You Need to Know About Temperament
Every baby is born with a unique temperament. Eventually, this natural temperament will evolve into a personality. Your baby’s personality is molded by experiences, living environment, and your parenting methods.
Your baby’s sleep is no different. While his temperament won’t dictate whether or not he will sleep through the night, it can be a guideline for your routine and the methods you choose to implement.
Temperament Shapes Your Routine
First, let me reassure you: science has proven that most babies are able to sleep through the night by 3 months, if not two. Furthermore, a study in 2011 determined that the majority of a baby’s sleep habits is determined by parenting and environmental influences.
Having said that, there is a hereditary factor that you shouldn’t ignore. According to this study, your baby’s temperament should determine how you approach his sleep training, including the routines you implement. It'll affect the duration of your baby’s nap, how long you allow him to play, etc.
I think this is especially true for playtime activities and sleep windows. Some babies are more susceptible to over-stimulation and sleep issues while others are much more lenient.
Temperament Determines the Most Effective Babywise Strategies
His temperament can also affect the strategies you use to implement the Babywise method. For instance, many Babywise moms swear by a technique known as the dream feed.
Some babies love the dream feed and it becomes an effective sleep training tool. For other babies, the dream feed actually disrupts sleep. Don’t feel bad if your baby isn’t responding to a sleep tool like you think he should. Just move on to a different strategy that works for both of you!
Temperament Should Not Affect the Eat-Wake-Sleep Routine
The Babywise method focuses on creating a predictable routine that your baby can thrive in. While your baby’s temperament can affect how efficiently he sleeps, it shouldn’t change your standard eat-wake-sleep routine. Keep that in mind if your baby fights naps or wakes through the night unexpectedly.
You’re already doing him a huge favor by creating a simple daily routine. Eventually, the sleep aspect will fall in line as well. Your baby’s temperament is as much a part of him as his skin and eye color. Like discipline, sleep is a skill that can be taught with patience and consistency.
Don’t get discouraged if it takes a little longer than you’d like. You will find a balance between your baby’s temperament and Babywise. When that moment comes, all of that extra effort will be worth it!
Read more of Erin's articles.
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