“Putting your baby down drowsy but not completely asleep”
This will be the death of me. Seriously, how does one actually do this?
We spend nine months growing these lovely human beings, literally growing their body. We endure an excruciatingly painful labour spanning long hours in order to push them into this world. And mother nature doesn’t even bother to give us a moment of rest before diving directly into the next 18 years of nurturing, teaching, and caring for these little monkeys? I would like to order one 12 hour night of sleep, please.
Okay fine, we are supposed to have all those hormones and mommy power to be able to handle this.
I tell ya, it feels like my be-all-end-all goal in life is to get my kids sleeping through the night. On their own. So, how do I get them sleeping through the night?
From reading several
hundred blogs, resources, etc on baby sleep I’ve seen three common goals for baby sleep that sort of worked for us. My first started sleeping through the night at around three months, and I’m still working on my second who is eight weeks old. Here is the almightly list:
1) “Put your baby in the crib drowsy but awake to promote self soothing”
I’m only a partial believer of this one. My husband and I could spend two hours putting baby down to sleep while ‘drowsy but still awake.’ Literally hours. And at the end of it we just give up and she never naps. Around 30% of the time she may go to sleep after the second or third attempt. Otherwise, my babies either screamed or start eating their own hands if I attempt to put them in the crib without being fully passed out. Someone please tell me how this is supposed to work without spending your entire day on it. And how does this work when I have my toddler around? I can’t spend hours working on my newborn’s sleep!
2) “Consistency is key: create a bedtime routine and stick to it”
I’m a full believer in this one. With my first, I started a routine at 8 weeks old and by 12ish weeks she was sleeping through the night. Whether that was nature or nurture, I’ll never know. We started with a regular bedtime routine and somewhat regular nap times (very loosely following the Eat, Play, Sleep routine). My second baby is only 8 weeks old and we have already started this routine. We’ll see how effective it is in a month or two.
3) “Create an environment conducive to sleep”
I think this one makes sense but I’m not sure how much it actually works for us. When baby seems drowsy (usually around 2 hours after waking for newborns), I’ll wrap her and go into her room with the curtains closed. Sometimes I will put the dryer on so it’s a bit of white noise and so I don’t have to worry about making noise in the house. I kind of feel like she would fall asleep just as easily if I walked around with her getting errands done. As she gets older and more aware of her environment, this might be a more important point to follow.
For my second, I started gradually transitioning into implementing the above three points when she was around 5 weeks old because I was starting to get a little frantic for sleep. But I really think it starts to become most effective around 8 weeks. The only thing I find incredibly hard to do is ‘putting your baby to bed drowsy but still awake.’ Seriously, someone please let me know how to not spend hours doing this? Very stubbornly, I do actually spend hours doing this because I’m so concerned that I won’t get any sleep sometime between now and 18 years from now.
With all that baby sleep advice out there, it’s hard to know what to do. It felt a lot more stressful with the first baby since it does feel like you will just never sleep again. And I felt like I wasn’t doing anything right if I didn’t follow what other mom’s said. For example one mom told me I should be putting my baby to sleep (for a nap, etc) whenever baby started to yawn. I would spend countless hours stressing over putting baby to sleep when she yawned. What I came to realize was that my baby didn’t necessarily follow any ‘norm’ and she wasn’t quite tired enough when she yawned to actually go to sleep. I only realized this after a couple weeks of crying whenever I would try put her down for a nap because she just wasn’t tired enough (crying from both me and baby!). We definitely dropped that advice.
I’m still not sure what is responsible for baby sleeping through the night. The parent’s intervention or the personality of the child?