Help! My kids don’t sleep! Laura-Kalma Baby Washington

If you have children of any age, I’m pretty sure you’ve uttered the words ‘My baby won’t sleep!’ while propping your eyelids open with matchsticks, and clutching onto your cup of coffee for dear life. Sleep is a very popular topic with the mums in my baby yoga classes, we just want to know that other people are struggling just as much as us. 3am Amazon shopping is a real thing, and when that package arrives and you have no recollection of purchasing, know that you are not alone.

When my first born, my daughter, was a baby, she was a brilliant sleeper once she got to 6 weeks. I was one of those smug mums whose baby slept all night. We did have colic and what I now suspect to have been reflux to contend with every day, but I couldn’t believe how lucky we were. Through the toddler years she was still pretty consistent with sleep, apart from a rough patch of night terrors. That’s a story for another day, wow!

Then along came my son.

While I was pregnant with him, people would always tell me ‘You never get two the same.’, and I took all their advice on board, preparing myself for a newborn who wouldn’t sleep, but hoping that they were wrong and he would be just like his big sister. Well, it turns out they were right. You expect to have long nights when your baby is a newborn, so I was prepared for this stage. Knowing that he was my last baby I enjoyed those days of just us up in the middle of the night, and soaking up the cuddles and that gorgeous baby smell. However, he got to 6 weeks old and he was still up multiple times in the night. I reminded myself, he’s still so tiny, Isabella was a one off and you never get two the same. On we went with the night feeds and cuddles, and got to 12 weeks, still up multiple times. We got to 16 weeks, slight improvement, 5 months, then 6 months and eventually he would have an occasional night of sleeping through. By this point I was sure that we were tricked by mother nature! We were given our first baby who was such a good sleeper and then the truth was handed to us with our second. I had started taking Oliver to baby yoga classes with Vicki at Kalma Baby Durham when he was around 4 months old, and I definitely noticed an improvement in his sleep on the days we went to classes. The classes provided much needed stimulation for him, and he’d often have a long nap afterwards. I could actually eat some lunch without balancing a baby on my knee. Revelation!

I’ve had lots of mums who have been to my baby yoga classes say how they too have noticed their little one will nap soundly after they’ve been to class, especially when we do inversions.

Back to the future

Fast forward 2 and a half years, and we’re still up most nights. We’ve had some brilliant stretches of sleep, but I’m quickly brought back down to earth with a bump, when Oliver decides to wake upwards of 5 times a night. And the nights my husband is at work and the kids decide it’s a good time to tag team each other waking up. Fear not though, after 3 years of having a child that just doesn’t like sleep, I have some hints and tips to help you get through the day.

Fresh air – whether you have a baby in a pram and use this as a way to get them to nap, or you have an overactive toddler and go to the park, get outside every day. It will make you both feel so much better.
Routine – even if your baby doesn’t sleep very well, setting a routine early will massively help them to recognise when to wind down ready for bed. It’s beneficial to you as well. Especially with my first I found the lack of structure and routine in my day quite difficult compared to that of my normal working day. For more information on how to set a routine baby centre has some great tips here
Baby groups go to a baby group! Whether it’s a playgroup or one of our baby yoga classes both you and baby will benefit. Particularly in our classes, baby will get lots of stimulation from bonding with you, physical stimulation from yoga inspired stretches, and social interaction with other babies and parents. We also include exercises for parents and baby specially designed to aid little one’s development, and help with deeper sleeping.  You get the chance to meet other parents, and you can discuss how little your baby sleeps!
Time out – My husband and I try to let each other lie in when we can. It’s important to make sure you take care of yourself too.
Mad half hour This is what we call the 30 minutes to hour before bed. They usually go a bit crazy, but instead of trying to get them to calm down, I’ve learned to just go with it. I’ve found that they get rid of all that energy, then we can calm down and wind down for bed with a story.

If you’re currently in the depths of sleep deprivation, know that it does get better, and there are things you can do to help. If baby yoga is something you’d like to try, you can find out more information and book a class here If you’re a mum with a baby who sleeps soundly, know you are one of the lucky ones. And if you are a mum to be, prepare yourself for lack of sleep, find your nearest Kalma baby yoga class here and pray you are one of the lucky ones.