La Tela di Carlotta
it en es

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!

Tell me what you think

Did you like it? Do you agree or disagree? I'd love to hear from you.

I think you'll like these

The blog

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

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.
Bean and seed mosaic
I'm not perfect. I'm aware
DIY yoga cards for kids
Children at the restaurant: let's recalibrate expectations
Don't ask your children to share their toys
Those "good job" that erode our children's confidence
Our Montessori birthday
Two alternatives to screens that my kids love
Using fear and threats to control children is never right!
"Stop crying!" doesn't work
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.

Podcast

On my podcast, “Educare con calma”, I talk about various topics, from Montessori to sustainability. Only in Italian!

Oct 16, 2020 • 19m
La nostra routine con i bimbi
Mi chiedete spessissimo quale sia la nostra routine a casa con i bimbi e in questo episodio vi svelo che noi, una routine vera e propria, non ce l'abbiamo. Abbiamo una routine minima e indispensabile, che è un concetto che mi sono totalmente inventata su due piedi mentre parlavo a briglia sciolta in questo episodio, ma che credo funzioni davvero. Almeno per noi. La routine minima e indispensabile, secondo me, risponde anche a un altro "problema": trovo che ci bombardino spesso con l'idea del...
11
Oct 9, 2020 • 24m
Sostenibilità: come sensibilizzare i bambini e i giovani adulti | Con Cristiana Cerri Gambarelli
In questa puntata a due voci di Educare con Calma – divisa a metà perché amo gli episodi corti - parliamo di sostenibilità e per farlo ho invitato mia sorella, Cristiana Cerri Gambarelli, project manager della Federazione dei Giovani Verdi Europei e un esempio per chiunque voglia intraprendere un viaggio nella sostenibilità: negli ultimi ha cambiato tutta la sua vita per ridurre la sua impronta di carbonio e per prendere ogni giorno decisioni più sostenibili per il nostro pianeta e in questa ...
10
Oct 2, 2020 • 24m
Intraprendere un viaggio nella sostenibilità | Con Cristiana Cerri Gambarelli
In questa puntata a due voci di Educare con Calma – divisa a metà perché amo gli episodi corti - parliamo di sostenibilità e per farlo ho invitato mia sorella, Cristiana Cerri Gambarelli, project manager della Federazione dei Giovani Verdi Europei e un esempio per chiunque voglia intraprendere un viaggio nella sostenibilità: negli ultimi ha cambiato tutta la sua vita per ridurre la sua impronta di carbonio e per prendere ogni giorno decisioni più sostenibili per il nostro pianeta e in questa ...
9

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.