The only consistency with children is change

One of the chapters in The Baby Whisperer is titled Just When You Think You've Got It. . . Everything Changes!

So true! Right?!

This goes for all of parenting, of course, with sleep being no exception. You finally get waketime figured out and then suddenly
it isn't working anymore. Your child starts to nap well and then all of a sudden he gets sick or starts to crawl or starts to talk. And let's not forget teething! Or maybe you even change things up yourself and go on vacation or move. Things just keep a changing.

This inconsistency issue is where a lot of parents get into trouble. They don't realize their child is constantly changing and they need to change with her (think: waketime!) Or maybe their child is sleeping all nice and peachy and they expect things will be like this forever. Not so. At least not so if you are 99% of parents. So don't get too upset when sleep has ups and downs (or your child's behavior!)

Expect it. Prepare for it. Have a plan in place for when it happens. Try to prevent it if possible (watch those sleep cues!). Try not to stress {too much} about it. IT IS NORMAL. Again, it is normal!

Here are some common times when sleep may experience changes:
  • Growth spurts.
  • Swaddling. Sorry, but you are going to have to drop it eventually. I know you may want to keep swaddling until adulthood, but it just isn't going to happen.
  • Waketime. Getting the perfect waketime requires a lot of close attention to sleep cues and maybe the clock with young babies and with new mothers. It keeps getting longer (usually, at least) and you have to keep extending it appropriately or you'll end up with an overtired or an undertired child and difficult sleep. But it gets easier, I promise. I barely even had to think about this with Jacob. It just happened.
  • Developmental times: wonder weeks, separation anxiety, crawling, teething, talking, walking, sitting
  • Illness
  • Solid introduction
  • Vacations
  • Changing from a crib to a new bed
  • Attitude. That's right, attitude. Just when your child is going to sleep without a peep, she starts to protest (the same goes for diaper changes!)

"The only constant in the job of parenting is change" (TBW). The one thing you can be sure of when it comes to a child's sleep is that it is consistently inconsistent, meaning that you are always going to have off days and once you think you've got it down it is time to change things again.
"Just when you think you have figured out when your baby needs to nap or be put to bed at night, the times change!" (hshhc, 16).
"Baby's biological need for sleep is always changing, so we have to be on our toes in order not to miss shifts in sleeping requirements." (hshhc, 15)


  1. Mackenzie @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

    I love The Baby Whisperer too! She has done "dreams" for our family! :) Thanks for linking up today at Saturday Show & Tell at Cheerios and Lattes! Hope to see you again next week! :)

    1. RachelStella @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

      Nice play on words Mackenzie ;) Thanks for the invite for the link up! The baby whisperer was a life saver for me with my first!

  2. Ruth Rodrigues @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

    Don't forget to mention a new baby as a reason for changes in sleep. As if I didn't already have enough to worry about right now! Patience!

    1. RachelStella @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

      That's so true Ruth, any sort of family change can cause changes in sleep. The addition of a baby, a divorce or a family move (sort of a family change). Sorry Marcus is struggling with sleep right now! At least Camilla is sleeping great for you :)