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Hey there, you’re listening to the My Sleeping Baby podcast, which is all about baby and child sleep. I’m so excited to teach you how you can get your little ones sleeping so that you can sleep too and enjoy parenthood to its fullest. I’m Eva Klein, your resident’s sleep expert, mom of three, founder of the Sleep Bible online coaching program, and lover of all things sleep and motherhood. If you’re looking for tangible solutions for your little one sleep woes or you simply want to learn more, this podcast is for you. For more information, check out mysleepingbaby.com and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @mysleepingbaby, and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook at My Sleeping Baby.
Hi everyone. Welcome back to the show. So today I wanna address why settling for decent or mediocre sleep with your little one might backfire. Now, I know that this is a really common belief that a lot of really tired parents that I speak to have, which basically says, they basically tell me, Eva, my baby is not a great sleeper, but I know it could be so much worse. You know, I, I have friends whose little ones are sleeping so much worse than mine. So I guess I don’t have it that bad. I guess I shouldn’t really complain, should I? So I wanna explain why that mindset could very easily backfire in the form of sleep deprivation anyways and ending up with worse off sleep than you thought you would ever end up with. So let me first and foremost address, I would say probably the most obvious response or most predictable response that, um, you figure is gonna come out of my mouth.
And that is that good quality sleep is not something that we need to settle on. We don’t have to settle for second best, third best, fourth best. Also known as good enough, decent. Alright, mediocre, I guess I can’t complain all of the above because we now know how to get our little ones sleeping like champs, we know what to do, how to get your little one sleeping through the night, or mostly sleeping through the night with a feed if they still need it and keep it that way. And the reality is that even if your little one is only waking you up once a night or twice a night or three times a night, and you have friends whose little ones in a similar age range are waking their parents up more than that, it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to be objectively tired getting woken up multiple times at night.
It, it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to be tired getting woken up even once a night by your one-year-old that you know can be sleeping straight through. Because what this likely means is that you haven’t slept through the night in almost a year in this hypothetical scenario. That’s chronic sleep deprivation that is going to creep up on you over time because sleep deprivation accrue it, it accumulates and it builds up and every single day it’s going to feel worse and worse and worse, having to get up every morning without having a proper night’s sleep the night before. So considering how important we know the benefits of good quality sleep are, this is not something that I would be settling for. I would not be settling for second best or third best when it comes to sleep because it’s just too important for both you and your little one even getting woken up.
That one extra time means that the next morning you are going to feel crabbier, you’re going to struggle with regulating your emotions, you’re gonna be crankier, you’re going to be less patience, you are going to struggle remembering things. It’s, it’s easier to forget things. It’s easier to just feel so much more frazzled throughout the day. And on top of that, that interrupted sleep is going to impact your little one as well for the exact same reason. They’re likely going to be more tired during the day. Crankier more irritable, more crabby. Nobody is able to function optimally when you are getting sleep that is subpar at best. So this brings me to my second point because some of you might be listening to this and going, yeah, but Eva, I’m actually really okay. I really don’t need much sleep. I’ve always needed less sleep than average, so I’m really not bothered by these night wakings.
And listen, I believe you, I mean, the average adult needs approximately eight hours of sleep at night, right? So that means that you’re gonna have some adults that need more and some adults that need less. And so if you need less, that’s amazing. But here’s something that I want you to keep in mind, your little one. Not being a champion sleeper doesn’t just impact the night. It means that you might be spending longer getting your little ones to sleep at bedtime. You might be giving up your entire evening, getting your little ones asleep, rocking them, staying in their room until they’re asleep. You know, taking up any free time that you might have in the evenings to recharge. Um, I also can’t imagine that you’d enjoy having only 30 minutes to yourself during the day when your little one naps. That’s gonna be a drain on you as well.
So maybe your little ones night wakings don’t bother you so much, but they’re 30 minute cat naps that they’re taking, that’s gonna be a really big drain on you when you don’t have ample time during the day to recharge your batteries. So you have my full permission to fix your little one’s sleep challenges in the name of getting your evenings back, as well as getting more than 30 minutes of free time during the day, which is barely enough time to even drink your hot cup of coffee. Now, here’s the third, and I would say most important point that I want to make about your little ones. Decent, mediocre sometimes okay, sometimes not so great sleep. And it is that your little one’s decent sleep could very easily and very quickly become crappy sleep at the drop of a hat. And I wanna explain how and why.
So when we talk about your little one’s ability to self-sooth or fall asleep by themselves, a lot of people think that the question to be asking is a yes or no question. Can your baby self-sooth? Can your baby sleep independently? Yes or no? That’s not the most accurate question to be asking. It’s not the best way to get a good answer. Rather, the question to be asking is on a scale of one to 10, 10 being sleep champion of the universe, and uh, one is like needs to be rocked and held and fed and balanced for three hours while you stand on your head. <laugh>, how would you rate your little one’s sleep skills, right? A 10, outta 10 being he’s doing all of the work, falling asleep on his own and falling back to sleep on his own. The one is doing none of it.
So here’s how that spectrum looks. And then of course you’ve got the fives in the middle that are sometimes doing some of the work and other times they’re not doing as much. So these decent sleepers are usually somewhere in the middle in that spectrum in terms of, you know, a four, a five, a six. So let me sort of spell this out for you and give you some imagery. So a lot of people think that when I explain this scale, that all the numbers are sort of lined up evenly one after another. Whereas what I, how I want you to picture this scale is that numbers one through nine are very, very close next to one another, all bunched up together. And then number 10 is a whole mile away from number nine. Why am I giving you that imagery? Because your little one can go from a nine to a one at the drop of a hat because being a nine as opposed to a 10 implies that your little one is doing most of the work sleeping independently, but he’s not doing all of it.
And so when your little one is a five, it means that he is doing some of the work and other times he’s not. And so when you’re a five, there’s this, you know, unavoidable amount of inconsistency that you can get. I find that the fives tend to drive their parents crazy the most because those are the babies that make their parents go, oh my gosh, maybe he’s trending a corner. He gave us like two, not so bad nights, he only woke up twice. And in the past he’s been waking up five times, maybe he’s getting over a phase of some kind. And then by that third or fourth night it’s like meh, back to five night wakings, right? And, and that pattern of inconsistency is likely to continue indefinitely just because your little one is a five. And so remember that if your little one’s sleep is decent, but it’s not great and your little one is getting some help falling asleep, there is nothing stopping him from going, Hey, I’m getting some help sleeping here.
Why don’t I ask for more? Why don’t I insist on getting all the help that I need to fall asleep? If I’m waking up twice a night and getting nurtured all the way back to sleep, well then why don’t I wake up three times, four times, five times? Y your baby is not going to understand inconsistency why he only gets fed or rocked back to sleep sometimes, but not others. And so as long as that figurative door of possibilities is open, there is nothing stopping your little one from going from two night wakings to five night wakings just cuz. And so if your little one’s decent sleep is tolerable for you right now, I get that, but, and it’s perfectly acceptable to say, you know what? I really don’t feel the need to change anything at the moment because it really truly is okay, and that is fine.
But I do want to warn you though, that if you begin to see your little one’s mediocre sleep become not great to really, really not great to, okay, this is really bad. That’s why. And that is probably the message that that you need that’s telling you, all right, now it is time for me to make some changes. But some of you might be listening to this and going, you know what, I don’t wanna wait until I hit rock bottom. This situation, it’s tolerable and that I’m keeping my head above water. But I don’t want that to be my goal. I don’t want to just barely keep my he my head above water. Just because I’m not drowning, it doesn’t mean I’m thriving and I want to thrive and I wanna be able to get those eight hour stretches, or 12 hour stretches and 90 minute daytime naps.
And so I’m going to fix things now so that I not only avoid a catastrophe, but I make things even better because I don’t wanna settle for second best. And I wanna assure you that either one of those approaches is perfectly acceptable. I’m sure you know <laugh> what kind of approach I have always taken with my kids. And that is the second, because the better I sleep at night, the better I feel during the day, the better I am at being a mom to my kids, a wife to my husband, a daughter to my parents, a friend to my friends, and a sleep consultant to my amazing clients and customers. So for me, it’s always been a no-brainer in that sleep is not something that we want to be sacrificing. But even, even if that’s something that you don’t wanna be prioritizing right now, that’s fine. Just remember that you might be looking at a not so fun regression not so far down the road. So I hope that that explains why settling for decent sleep might end up backfiring. I hope you all enjoyed this and that you all have a great day.
Thank you everyone for listening, and I hope you all have a wonderful day. Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave a review and share this episode with a friend who can benefit from it. I also love hearing from my listener, so feel free to DM me on Instagram at my sleeping baby or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time, have a wonderful restful nights.