Sleep quality vs quantity
Your baby is coming up on a huge milestone — they’re about to be three months old! This is a time when a lot of parents hear about sleep training and are constantly asked “are they a good sleeper?” or “are they sleeping through the night yet?” But these two questions mean different things to different people, and it’s important to remember that your baby will learn to sleep through the night when they’re developmentally ready. It’s very common for babies to wake up at least once a night, even up to one year old. The more important question people should ask parents is “how is your quality of sleep?” Studies show that quality of sleep is much more important than quantity of sleep, and supporting your baby during the night to get them back to sleep as quickly as possible also helps you get back to sleep much quicker, too.
Go ahead and pick Baby up
Advice from well meaning friends telling you to wait to respond to your baby, or to let Baby settle themselves, can sometimes make your baby get very upset. During periods of stress your baby’s cortisol levels will spike. When you listen to your baby cry it can also cause your cortisol levels to spike and then no one gets the sleep they need. After a period of prolonged crying it can take quite a while to soothe your baby back to sleep, and then you may be left in bed feeling frustrated with sleep evading you.
Respond calmly to Baby
Instead of waiting until Baby becomes more upset,, calmly pick up your baby or pat them as you respond to their cues. If they’re hungry, feed them immediately. Change their diaper if needed and lay them back down. Your baby may settle faster and more calmly if you are very responsive because they’re learning their social cues from you. If you lay them down quietly and comfortably, and then get back in your bed, you and baby could be back to sleep within 15 minutes of waking. Your response keeps your baby calm and able to reestablish sleep much faster. Adults naturally wake through the night with or without a baby, and often still report good sleep. Now that your night wakings now involve assisting a little one, it doesn’t mean you can’t go back to bed and fall asleep quickly.