The power of relaxing and accepting baby's sleep needs: Shane (2,5 years) and Amélie (3 months)

Accepting that baby's sleep cannot be forced and remaining calm about it proves to be a very powerful way for Shane and Amélie's mom to guide them towards solid sleep habits.

About my children Shane is a busy, affectionate little boy who has developed his motor skills very quickly. Amélie is an affectionate, slightly jumpy girl. She’s had a bit of a difficult start after birth, but she is well now.

I do not want to let my kids cry to go to sleep.

My golden tip: Shane used to come into our bed every night. That was not so successful in the long run.

Now we have his toddler bed beside my bed and he sleeps quietly when he sees me lying beside him.

A book tip My own ideas were confirmed by the book: The Continuum concept - In search of Happiness Lost by Jean Liedloff (ISBN 9780201050714). The way I deal with sleep is largely affected by it.

Our baby sleep experiences

Baby sleeping through the night in my experience is something that cannot be forced. When Shane was 1,5 years old, he was not awake for a night feeding. Shortly afterwards he would no longer breastfeed. We have never let him cry.

Shane settles for sleep by himself since the birth of his sister. He goes to bed when he's tired. We do the same for daytime sleep.

Amélie is very different. I just put her in her crib – next to our bed – after her last feeding and she falls asleep. She does not have the same need for contact as Shane.

The tip I can give anyone is: follow the behaviour of your children. Even if it can be very exhausting: the time that they are so dependent on you is relatively short.

I’ve been through quite difficult times when Shane was really little. But when I decided to relax about it, everything became easier. If you do not worry but remain calm, the children pick that up and everything is automatically better.

This may sound a bit easy but I really mean it: it all passes in the end.

Comments for The power of relaxing and accepting baby's sleep needs: Shane (2,5 years) and Amélie (3 months)

Click here to add your own comments

Follow her lead but guide her
by: Heidi

Hi Paula,

While it's absolutely a good idea as in the story above to accept her needs and follow her leads according to those needs, you still want to be her 'guide'.

Especially with choosing night time bedtime: she may not be absolutely ready to go at 7pm but ... if you let her she'll probably stay up longer than is actually good for her.

I mean, she will easily go past the 'readily tired' moment and move into being overtired. When babies and toddlers become overtired, they are actually past a stage of sleep-readiness.

And rather than getting ready to sleep they become (over)active: bouncing up and down, singing, dancing, wanting to play game after game, ...

So it looks as if they're not tired, but they actually are, very much. And once at this stage, it just gets very difficult to settle. This all makes it look as if she's not tired, while she really is.

All of this just to say that she may very well need your determined guidance to decide about bedtime. You may have to fiddle with the 7pm a bit as it may not suit her well anymore. But don't make it much later, and do keep a very close eye on her to avoid getting to the stage of overtiredness.

And indeed, she'll sense any indecisiveness on your part. But don't worry, as soon as you've made up your mind and show that to her by acting confidently: she will sense that too. And you'll be amazed by how easily she'll accept things then.

Good luck and enjoy your little girl!
Heidi -

about bedtime
by: Paula

thanks so much for this information. I have been struggling with my little girl, now 16 months old. I never let her cry and she sleeps with us since she was 5 months old. I used to put her to bed everyday around 7pm, but it has become a struggle now. I do have a question regarding this though so if you can help me i would very much appreciate it. Shall i just follow her lead and if she doesn't want to go to bed until late just let her? I am struggling with this and i don't know what to do, which for sure she senses :-(
thanks for your help.

Relaxing is key!
by: Heidi (

Thank you very much for contributing your story, it is very instructive.

I share your experience of how relaxing can really help the children sleep much better, even with 'getting' a baby sleep through the night.

And it also allows to cherish these beautiful baby and toddler times, in spite of the difficulties, enjoy!

Click here to add your own comments

Return to YOUR Sleepy Baby Story.