Babies: Just when you think they’re sleeping through the night, they surprise you by crying for a month straight at 1, 3, and 5 AM.
Personally, every time my baby has a sleep setback, my first step towards resolving the situation is a quick consultation with Dr. Google. Have you met Dr. G? His office is conveniently located in your smartphone browser! This experienced physician is always on call, awake, and ready to provide answers to my most pressing parenting questions, unlike my daughters’ pediatrician who’s snoring at 2AM because his practice operates during normal business hours and his kids have been sleeping through the night since 1976.
Generally, my midnight consultations with Dr. Google go something like this: “month sleep regression.” Always with quotes because that’s how exhausted people who are determined to find answers immediately get to the bottom of things. Within seconds Dr. G provides me with a whole host of reasons why my baby isn’t sleeping. Convenient, right?! But recently, I’ve noticed a pattern that’s made me question his credibility. Even though the reasons why my baby isn’t sleeping are always the same, the suggestions for resolving the issues leave something to be desired. Here are ten reasons why your kid isn’t sleeping and some practical solutions straight from Dr. Google:
1. They’ve learned a new skill. Rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing, basket weaving, scuba diving. Your baby has figured it out, they need to practice doing it, and they will be awake for the remainder of their infancy. Purchase wine and earplugs because there is no solution.
2. Teething. Is your baby between two months and two years old? They must be cutting teeth. Dr. Google says this hurts as much as labor (because babies can tell you that they’re gums are having a contraction measuring ’10’ on the smiley face pain scale.) But don’t give them anything except a cold facecloth to help them cope. Medicine, teething tablets, numbing gel, and necklaces made of organic gemstones are all potentially fatal.
3. They’re hungry. Feed your baby because you’re a horrible mother if you let them cry it out. But don’t feed your baby at night because you’re creating negative sleep associations. (See #10 for more on sleep associations.)
4. Babies have a different circadian rhythm than adults.
The tempo may be fast-paced like a Ke$ha song, or slow like a soothing ballad by Michael Buble. Your baby might enter REM sleep every thirty minutes or every four hours. There’s no way to tell and Dr. Google can’t be sure without studying your infant’s individual brain waves.5. It’s too hot in your house.
Turn your thermostat down to 68 degrees and remove all stuffed animals, blankets, and soft surfaces from your baby’s entire bedroom immediately. Only a fitted cotton crib sheet that you’ve duct taped securely to the bottom of the mattress may remain.