Let’s Talk About BLACKOUT BLINDS!

Blackout blinds are simply awesome.

We, as human beings, are programmed to sleep best in a dark, quiet room.  This is because light suppresses the production of melatonin, which is the hormone that makes us sleepy.  As a result, someone can fall asleep more easily in a darker room than when there’s light beaming in.  And babies are no different.

In fact, it’s especially crucial for babies to have blackout blinds in their room because babies have daytime sleep requirements that adult don’t have (unless, of course, you’re up with a baby all night long!).  Babies also need to go to bed much earlier than adults do.  It’s MUCH more challenging for a baby to fall asleep easily and stay asleep in a room with too much sunlight.

Blackout blinds are especially helpful during the spring and summer months.  The following is a scenario that I see all the time: spring time comes around (specifically the Spring Forward time change), there’s TONS more sunlight beaming into the baby’s room, and the baby suddenly fights sleep and refuses to go to bed.  When I advise the parent to install blackout blinds, the problem suddenly goes away!

This is why blackout blinds are so great!

“But Eva- I want my baby to learn to sleep anywhere!  I don’t want her to rely on blackout blinds to sleep”.

Here’s my response:

1) It’s a bit of a myth that you can teach a baby to sleep anywhere.  Some babies can do it, while others can’t.   No different than how some adults can sleep 8 hours straight on an international flight (like my sister!), while others will never sleep for longer than 5 minutes on a plane without the help of a general anesthetic (such as myself).  Some babies might be able to sleep nicely in the stroller when you’re out running errands.  Yet, there are just as many children who will be too distracted by their environment to sleep nicely while out.

Whether or not your baby can sleep well with lots of outside distraction comes down to his temperament.  If your baby is unable to sleep in an environment that isn’t optimal, there isn’t much that can be done here.  Simply respect your baby’s need to sleep in a dark, quiet room.

2) If you are an avid traveler, you might be worried about how your baby or toddler will sleep when you are away.  Here’s the thing: even if you are away for 2 months out of the year in total, it’s a minority of the year.  Your child is still spending 10 months of the year sleeping in her crib or bed at home.  Prioritize your child’s sleep when he’s home- and worry about vacations as they come.  The last thing you want to be doing is sacrificing your baby’s sleep during those 10 months of the year, with the hope that your baby will learn how to sleep anywhere you go during your 2 months of vacation time.  Either your baby will be adaptable to sleep well without blackout blinds, or she won’t.

On a side note, my older daughter never slept with blackout blinds because she never needed them!  My younger daughter, on the other hand, couldn’t fall asleep unless she was in a dark, quiet room.

Blackout blinds are fantastic.  They will help your child fall asleep quicker and STAY asleep.  What’s not to love?!


 

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