5 Things I Learned About Baby’s Sleep
The one thing I heard most while I was pregnant with my first son was this: “Enjoy your sleep now, because you're not going to be getting any when the baby is here.” I would nod my head politely and secretly think to myself, my child will be a good sleeper.
My first son was NOT a good sleeper. It was so bad, I actually paid an online sleep consultant to tell me how to get my little guy to fall asleep, stay asleep, and sleep in his own bed. At 18 months, he finally moved successfully into his own bed, in his own room and slept through the night. He is 3 now, and still sleeping through the night. There have been a few episodes of regression, but those were minor and things went back to normal quickly.
You'd think that I would have absolutely zero sleep problems with my second son, seeing as I have more experience.
You'd be wrong.
My little guy has a sleep schedule of sorts, though flexible. At eight months old, he has two naps of 90 minutes to two hours each, and he goes to bed by 6.30 or 7.00 PM. However, he is still not sleeping through the night, and more often than not, needs to be nursed back to sleep.
To say I'm tired is an understatement.
What have I learned then, from two fairly different children and their sleep patterns? These 5 things.
1. Every child is different, even if they're both yours. What works with one, may not necessarily work with the other. However, don't let that stop you from trying what comes naturally to you. If you like rocking your babies to sleep, then rock them to sleep. They're not going to be small forever.
2. Don't stress about “sleeping through the night” in the first year. Many parents I've talked to don't actually have children who sleep through the night by 6 weeks, or 3 months old. They will sleep through the night eventually, just hang on in there.
3. Be flexible with sleeping arrangements. If co-sleeping works best for you, so that everyone gets sleep, then do it (but remember all safety precautions). If having the baby in another room helps, then go with that. Do what is best for YOUR baby and your family.
4. Do learn about the various sleep “training” techniques. Try what you feel comfortable with, and stick with it, but don't be afraid to be flexible. For example, if you try the Cry It Out (CIO) training technique and it breaks your heart to listen to your child cry, then by all means, try something different. The important thing is that you and your partner are comfortable, and in agreement with whatever technique you choose.
5. Remember, this too, shall pass. Your baby won't be a bad sleeper forever. Instill a bedtime routine early on, do what feels right for your baby and family, and breathe! Good luck!
How did you get your baby to sleep?
Photo via Alison Lee