Babies: Just when you think they’re sleeping through the night, they surprise you by crying for a month straight at 1, 3, and 5AM.
Personally, every time my baby has a sleep setback, my first step towards resolving the situation is a quick consultation with Dr. Google. Have you met Dr. G? His office is conveniently located in your smartphone browser! This experienced physician is always on call, awake, and ready to provide answers to my most pressing parenting questions, unlike my daughters’ pediatrician who’s snoring at 2AM because his practice operates during normal business hours and his kids have been sleeping through the night since 1976.
Generally, my midnight consultations with Dr. Google go something like this: “month sleep regression.” Always with quotes because that’s how exhausted people who are determined to find answers immediately get to the bottom of things. Within seconds Dr. G provides me with a whole host of reasons why my baby isn’t sleeping. Convenient, right?! But recently, I’ve noticed a pattern that’s made me question his credibility. Even though the reasons why my baby isn’t sleeping are always the same, the suggestions for resolving the issues leave something to be desired. Here are ten reasons why your kid isn’t sleeping and some practical solutions straight from Dr. Google:
1. They’ve learned a new skill. Rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing, basket weaving, scuba diving. Your baby has figured it out, they need to practice doing it, and they will be awake for the remainder of their infancy. Purchase wine and earplugs because there is no solution.
2. Teething. Is your baby between two months and two years old? They must be cutting teeth. Dr. Google says this hurts as much as labor (because babies can tell you that their gums are having a contraction measuring ’10’ on the smiley face pain scale.) But don’t give them anything except a cold facecloth to help them cope. Medicine, teething tablets, numbing gel, and necklaces made of organic gemstones are all potentially fatal.
3. They’re hungry. Feed your baby because you’re a horrible mother if you let them cry it out. But don’t feed your baby at night because you’re creating negative sleep associations. (See #10 for more on sleep associations.)
4. Babies have a different circadian rhythm than adults. The tempo may be fast-paced like a Ke$ha song, or slow like a soothing ballad by Michael Buble. Your baby might enter REM sleep every thirty minutes or every four hours. There’s no way to tell and Dr. Google can’t be sure without studying your infant’s individual brain waves.
5. It’s too hot in your house. Turn your thermostat down to 68 degrees and remove all stuffed animals, blankets, and soft surfaces from your baby’s entire bedroom immediately. Only a fitted cotton crib sheet that you’ve duct taped securely to the bottom of the mattress may remain.
6. It’s too cold in your house. What do you mean the thermostat is only set to 68? Your baby’s room needs to be 72.43 degrees for optimal sleep. They should also be wearing two cotton layers and a wearable blanket approved by the American Association of Pediatrics at all times.
7. Reflux. When your one or ten month old lies down, yesterday afternoon’s meal burns the shit out of their esophageal lining. Let them sleep on their tummy but only if you watch them on the video monitor all night to ensure they’re still breathing.
8. Growth spurt. Your baby is one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven months old? They’re growing and they want to eat. Just make sure they don’t doze off while eating because otherwise they’ll never be able to self-soothe and you’ll be nursing them to sleep when they’re fifteen.
9. Night terrors. Your baby is screaming bloody murder because they’re having night terrors. Again, Dr. Google cannot confirm this without studying their brain waves. Schedule an appointment immediately.
10. There’s a hair wrapped tightly around their toe. It’s cutting off the circulation right now and if you don’t immediately strip down your baby and find it, their toe will fall off and you’ll spend the next seventy years wallowing in guilt while your poor child hobbles around with a missing index toe.
11. Sleep associations. You let your baby sleep beside you on the couch so now they can only fall asleep to the sound of Grey’s Anatomy reruns. It’s your fault (and Izzie’s) your kid isn’t sleeping at 2AM. Sleep train now. But just make sure they don’t cry during the process. Crying will result in permanent psychological damage and thousands of dollars in future therapy bills.
Dr. Google, if you’re reading this, I’m on to you! Your crazy-ass baby advice is the root cause of confusion, worry, and fear among modern-day parents everywhere. Time to switch professions. Maybe you’d be better at selling diapers or providing useful information about lawn ornaments. Your baby advice blows.
Related post: 10 Things I Actually Do When the Baby Sleeps