Q: I'm so tired and at my wits end. I just had my second child and she is a significantly worse sleeper than my older one. My son was an angel baby, sleeping through the night from two months of age. My daughter, now ten weeks old, is difficult to console. She fights sleep all the time, and wakes frequently at night. Am I doing something wrong?

-Tired Emily, England

Dear Emily,

There are definitely some babies who are naturally better sleepers than others. Some may easily fall into routine and start sleeping better at nights immediately while others will fight sleep and refuse to settle in the wee hours of the night. Factors that affect your baby's sleep can be environment, family dynamics, or just plain genetics. When you have a baby that isn't sleeping, however, things can be very frustrating. First realize that your baby's sleep habits are in no way a reflection of you as a mother. It is a physical circumstance that just need a bit of tweaking.

Babies also have different temperaments to take into account. Just like adults, some may be more relaxed and easy going while others are spirited or anxious. Before determining what to do about your baby's sleep, you need to first realize who your baby is and what her personality is. You can't change who she is, but you can work with her existing temperament and help her learn the correct sleep habits.

You also love your baby and do your utmost to make sure that she gets everything she needs, both physically and emotionally. You take her to the doctor when needed, make sure she isn't too cold/hot, always make sure that her little tummy is satisfied with enough food, and make sure to give her those needed kisses and cuddles. Just like all of these things, sleep is also plays a crucial role in her well-being.

I would first suggest that you evaluate your baby's current habits. When does she generally nap? How often do you feed her? Ask yourself a small list of general questions so that you can have an outline of what a typical day looks like. Once you are able to gauge what her general needs are and when she needs them, you will be able to predict her needs and you can then create a routine that fits her general patterns.

Q: I'm feeling very confused. I've heard many people are against co-sleeping, while others say that putting babies in a crib takes away from mother-baby bonding. I love my baby and want him to always feel secure and cozy. At the same time, however, I'm not sure I want him sleeping in my bed until I marry him off!

-Rachel Feeling Confused, Florida

Hi Rachel,

Co-sleeping vs. a crib is one of the most controversial issues with babies and sleep. Because you are your baby's mother, you know what's best for your relationship. You are the only one who can determine what is wrong and what is right when it comes to parenting styles. Be aware, however, that there are general rules of safety in regards to co-sleeping or putting your baby into a crib.

Some mothers love nothing more than snuggling up with their newborn in a cozy bed. One definite advantage is that as your newborn needs to eat in the night, you can simply remain put as opposed to having to get up for a feeding. Most babies that are co-slept do feed more in the night than babies who aren't for the mere fact that they take what is available! Also, while co-sleeping with a newborn, it is crucial to make sure that your baby has enough space to breathe and move around. It is essential that you give your baby his own space so you would never roll onto him, stifle his breathing, or even allow him to roll off the bed, G‑d Forbid. For mothers who choose co-sleeping I recommend purchasing a snuggle nest to put in your bed beside you (a small mattress made specifically for co-sleeping with newborns) to prevent safety hazards. If you do choose this method, you can always move your baby into a crib at an older age or whenever you choose to do so.

Other mothers, however, prefer to put their baby into a crib or bassinette from day one. The advantage of doing this is that both mother and baby have their own personal space and that the baby gets used to sleeping in his own bed from an early age. Be cautious, though, to never leave any safety hazards in the crib with your baby and make sure that your baby's crib is completely safe in all aspects. Many mothers claim that putting their baby in a crib from an early age helps ensure healthy sleep habits and they both sleep sounder having their own personal sleep space. Many mothers even prefer to put the baby in a crib next to their beds to get the best of both worlds.

When push comes to shove, whether you choose co-sleeping or a crib, it is an extremely personal decision to be made between you and your baby. You can do no wrong by choosing either and rest assured…if you choose to co-sleep he won't be sleeping in your bed until you marry him off!

Q: I really don't enjoy rocking my newborn (five weeks old) in the stroller for hours to calm her down. I also don't want to have to nurse her every time before she sleeps in order for her to relax and become sleep induced. Are there any other ways I can teach my newborn how to wind down for sleep?

-Curious Jane, Toronto

Dear Jane,

First and foremost I'd like to congratulate you for noticing your newborn's sleep habits this early on. Many mothers don't recognize what their baby does until habits are more entrenched and more difficult to alter. In regards to helping your newborn wind down for sleep, there are some important pieces of information I'd first like to share with you.

Babies are very smart and form habits very quickly. Once you do a specific thing once to help aid your newborn to fall asleep, she will most likely expect that same thing to be done every time she is supposed to wind down for sleep. The key to forming a healthy habit is to create the right environment first for your baby to wind down. There are two factors to this. First you need to figure out which methods calm her and help her fall asleep and you must figure out which of those methods are habits that you'd like to remain as she grows older. Babies' brains learn through consistency and patterns. Therefore, when you use any given method to induce sleep she will begin to develop an association between that certain sleep cue and becoming tired. Over time it will become a comfort for her and she'll know that when you create any specific environment for her, it is time for her nap. She will appreciate the predictability!

Additionally, when trying to establish healthy sleep habits I can't stress enough the importance of remaining consistent. Around two months of age babies' brains have certain chemical productions that aid them in falling asleep. Aside from the actual method you use to wind her down for sleep, try to have an overall set nap/bedtime ritual so that your baby will learn certain cues and associate them with falling asleep. For example; singing a certain lullaby, sitting in a specific chair, etc. By consistently doing the same thing before putting your baby to sleep, you will help her learn what to expect and give her the comfort of knowing you are consistent in attempting to get her to sleep.