La Tela di Carlotta
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When your baby doesn't sleep at night

Jan 12, 2016

We’re not sleeping much at night. Very little, actually. All these long sleepless nights, made me understand why sleep deprivation is a form of torture. It takes away all your energy, all your thinking functions, your liveliness. It puts you into a vegetative mode. It really sucks.

But there’s one thing that sucks even more when your baby doesn’t sleep at night. Not knowing why. Why, why, why isn’t my abby sleeping at night? He had a few good nights, proving that he IS capable of sleeping almost through the night. So why on earth is he not doing it every night?

Good thing that everybody seems to know the answer to that. Teething. It’s always teething. Or it can also be a few other things.

It might be gasses.

It might be because he ate too much.

It might be because he ate too little.

It might be because he slept too much during the day.

It might be because he slept too little during the day.

It might be that he’s cold.

It might be that he’s hot.

It might be separation anxiety (which might happen around one year old or before or after).

It might be sleep regression (which might happen between 8 and 10 months or before or after).

It might be a developmental phase (which might happen every time they learn some big stepping stone, so every day from  when they’re born to 3-4-5-6 years old?).

Although, it’s probably teething.

One thing I know for sure, though. You’ll go through all the possible solutions. Keep your baby up during the day. Let his sleep as much as possible during the day. Feed him more. Feed him less. Turn up the heat. Turn down the heat. Blinds up. Blinds down. Lights on. Lights off. Put him in a sack. Change the mattress, the duvet, the sheets. Give him—not me—drugs for teething pain. Put music on. Anything.

And most likely, nothing will work like magic. Because he’s a baby and the truth is babies usually don’t sleep through the night. And actually, babies who sleep through the night don’t exist. Some while ago I read an interesting (and funny) article “some babies sleep often and easily, establish predictable nap schedules, rarely fuss, and poop unicorns. Most babies are not so easy”.

There are babies, though, who will wake up after every sleep cycle (1/1.5 hours) and then soothe themselves back to sleep, so it’ll feel like they sleep through the night. Mothers who “My baby sleeps through the night” either don’t know this or they should just keep it to themselves.

This chart that I recently found here explains babies’ sleep cycle very well.

From around 6 months onwards, babies remember that when they go to sleep you’re there, and when they wake up you’re not (it’s called object permanence) and their sleep cycle will look more or less like this: the stars represent when they’re awake, the middle line when they’re in a light sleep, but they don’t wake up. Then some babies, the minority, will wake up to then soothe themselves back to sleep (these are the ones who also poop unicorns, by the way ;-).     Credits: Precious Little Sleep

The only thing I know is: it’s a phase. Wondering why doesn’t change anything. Looking for solutions neither, although this can make us feel less powerless—and, who knows, something might actually work. But truth is, it’s useless to fight it. Babies go through phases and when they’re ready to sleep through the night, they will.

The best thing that we as parents can do is to follow the child. Accept the situation and mentally prepare for what it can be a very, very long phase. Rest when you can, sleep when you can, go to bed earlier, and every evening go to sleep thinking “tonight we’ll all sleep well”. Some nights you might just as well be right. Good luck!

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The blog

I write mainly about Montessori, parenthood, and multilingualism. Here are some recent posts.

Mums, dads & kids
We don't know how to be parents, we learn it everyday as we go. This is my way of motherhood, the small victories and the bitter defeats, my inconvenient truths and the endless life lessons. And also all the baby products and toys we love the most.
How to leave the playground without power struggles
This is life
Audiobooks of real-life stories for kids
Let's not project our insecurities onto our kids
Question authorities
Parents need to be constructively selfish
One more step towards self-acceptance
When you think your marriage is over after kids.
Alex
We forgot our 10-year wedding anniversary!
Montessori
One day a few years ago my husband came home and said, "Why don't we put a mattress on the floor in the baby room? It'd be much more natural". "Never" was my reply. That's how our Montessori journey started. Since then we've been living, breathing and applying the philosophy at home day in and day out, starting from ourselves. Because educating children starts from the parents.
Montessori express: change the sentences into positive
Montessori express: everything is NOT fine
My baby cries desperately in the car (15 months)
Take care of the mother behind the woman
Montessori express: ask instead of correcting
Montessori express: describe instead of criticising
An example of how I practice empathy with my kids
How I show empathy to my children
Happy 4th birthday, Emily
Montessori New Year's tradition
Living sustainably
Living sustainably for me doesn’t only mean to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It means to make decisions that are sustainable for our planet, the people on it, but also for our life, our lifestyle, and our happiness. It means to take any daily chance to evolve and be happier, healthier, kinder, more responsible and more caring human beings—the only sustainable way for a meaningful future.
Face yoga is an act of self love
Why you should wear the same outfit twice on Instagram
The power of creating habits (and why you should do it, even if you then break them!)
Responsible eating is the diet of the future (Would you like to teach it to your kids?)
The power of NOT complaining: can you do it for a whole month?
Clean up your planet, please!
Infographic: 8 steps to switch to cloth nappies (a guide for reluctant parents)
A personal note on happiness
A personal note on social media
A change of life always widens your horizons
New to La Tela?
I’ve prepared collections on various topics that I’ve written over the years. Perhaps you’ll find one that interests you.

Travel

We sold everything to travel the world for two years. We're currently in New Zealand.

Books

In 2020 I wrote 4 books for the Italian collection “Gioca and Impara con il metodo Montessori” curated by Grazia Honegger Fresco. The collection is a project by Il Corriere della Sera and La Gazzetta dello Sport.

We also implemented the workshops of the last 15 volumes of the collection with Oliver and Emily.

Instagram

I update Instagram almost every day to be "close" to my family far away.

Why La Tela di Carlotta?
I dreamed of the name La Tela di Carlotta. One morning I woke up and in my dreams I had created a blog named just like the American novel (Charlotte's Web). Many years and endless ups and downs later, this web of thoughts and stories is my work. It took me a long time to understand what kind of online presence I wanted and today I know: I'm transparent, I show real life, I don't advertise, I only recommend sustainable brands (and not only because they pay me) and I believe in the value of my blog and my courses—because if we don't believe in the value of our work, no one will believe in it for us.
Carlotta
Carlotta dreaming of La Tela
I know! I don't want it to be over yet either.