Sleep tips

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These tips are simply what I did with my kids and should not be taken as medical advice.

 

Feeling tired?  Another mom kindly pointed out, that if I’m not willing to share sleep tips, I should not be bragging about having 4 awesome sleepers.

First off, I wasn’t always getting 12 hours of sleep from my kids, with good naps.  With my first, he had terrible colic, and I honestly had moments wondering what the heck I had gotten myself into.  I was exhausted, my baby was up screaming all night, and I could not seem to console him.

I surveyed all my friends who had good sleepers, and read every book on the market that came recommended.

Babies can be watched for signs of sleepiness right from the early days.  When they are getting sleepy, I try to put them down awake.  I also try not to rush in if they are fussing.  To clarify, that doesn’t mean I leave my baby unattended.  It means, if baby is looking sleepy, I may put them in the playpen nearby and start working on the dishes.  If they start crying, I may finish doing one or two more dishes before I go pick them up because they may fall asleep on their own.  However, under 4 months old, I pretty much cater to any whim a little one desires.  And if having them sleep in a carrier is the only way to get them to sleep at their regular naps, I am (mostly) game.

Between 3 and 4 months, although I am usually hoping that the baby will settle nicely into a sleep pattern, they tend to become increasingly erratic sleepers.  They require more frequent nursing to sleep, rocking or holding, and seem to wake even sooner.  The erratic sleep patterns need to be addressed ideally at this stage, because of the huge developmental milestones taking place.

Around 4 months of age, healthy  babies are able to sleep through the night.  Some may still require one feed at my bedtime, but otherwise, I count on baby sleeping from 7pm to 7am. The most important point that works for us is,  I place my babies in their crib, completely awake, in a very dark, quiet room.  We also start an age appropriate nap schedule at the same time so that my babies can grow and develop well. I use a variety of methods to teach the baby to sleep through the night, depending on each baby’s personality.  But they have all learned to sleep through the night within a few days and napped well within 2 weeks.

At our house, all 4 kids sleeping well is a high priority.  It is necessary for them to recover from their activity, be pleasant little people and grow.  It also gives my husband and I quality time together in the evening, ie binge watch something on Netflix.

Feel free to e mail me or comment if you have specific questions though.  I will do my best to help.

PS. I do consult families on getting their little ones to sleep.  I have a couple spots available in April.  E-mail or comment if you want more information.

(SleepEasy Solution, Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child, Happiest Baby on the Block)

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Sleeping through the night?

I doubt we are the only parents who wondered, are we ever going to sleep through the night again?

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I have no idea how hubby mustered up this smile.  This was taken about 3 months after Caleb arrived.  Those 3 months were mainly filled with screaming and crying (sometimes the baby too).  This is the point in life when I started drinking coffee, lots and lots and lots of it.  Poor guy was colicky, and had some issues nursing.

I felt bad for the little one, but I also had no idea how to continue life with less than 2 hours of sleep a day.  After discussing with (whining to) some of my mom friends, a good friend suggested I try sleep training.  I will be forever grateful.

In the next few days, I read the “sleepeasy solution” (see sleepyplanet.com) .  We got his room ready, darkening windows, got a noise machine, and worked like crazy to get this boy to 14lbs, the minimum weight requirement to sleep train, which took another two months.  (We make little babies).

We began his first sleep training day just as we would normally, but we kept him awake and busy until his first nap.  Then we zipped him in his sleep sack, gave him a kiss, and closed the door.  We have a video monitor, so we watched him closely from another room.  The first couple naps did not go well.  He yelled and cried a lot, but we went in every few minutes and told him we loved him.  We also found it challenging to keep him awake between naps, he wanted to sleep in our arms so desperately.  This was a rough day for everyone, and involved buckets of fancy ice cream.

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By the evening, he was pooped, and fell asleep quite quickly.  He woke up a few times, never cried as long as 5 minutes, although each episode felt like an hour.  In the morning, little man was just happy as can be to see us.

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Each consecutive day, we found that he fell asleep faster and stayed asleep longer.  By the third night, he slept the whole night through, right until the morning.  The fourth day, he slept easily during all of his naps.  By the end of the week, he was a new baby.  He was so happy!

Fast forward to 3 years old.  This little guy still sleeps just under 12 hours at night, and naps for 2 hours most afternoons.  This isn’t to say we don’t have challenges, but we are confident that we have most nights available for time together as a couple.

Our second baby, was much easier to sleep train.  We tried to keep her to a similar routine as Caleb from birth, with lots of flexibility.  So the day she was heavy enough to sleep train, we simply moved her to her own room, she cried once or twice for a couple minutes, and has been a champion sleeper ever since.