I hear you. You want sleep. No, you NEED sleep.
Yep, been there. Three kiddos later and I still would say there are things I can improve on, but with each kid came a lot of useful tips and tricks, all of which I am gifting to you!
Many parents are all about formal methods, like the Ferber method, or the Weissbluth method, when sleep training their littles. My approach is a bit different. Instead of focusing on one method, I like to focus on tweaking the details of all of them. Find what works, change what doesn’t. That’s it!
Deb to the rescue! Someone make me a cape or something.
I’ve done the time, worn all the coverup one face can take, and have found the best sleep training methods I used for my babies that you can now use for yours, minus all the pain and suffering.
Okay, that’s not totally true. There will still be some sleepless nights in your future, and probably some tears, too. But rest assured, you will have far less sleepless nights than I ever did. (Now who’s envious of who!)
Read on, and remember to thank me later!
- Comfort from a distance
When my oldest was a newborn, I was all over her after every little whine and cry. Big mistake!
I get it, its our motherly instinct to want to scoop up our crying babes into our arms and keep all the big bad tears away, but you aren’t doing her any favors. Let her fuss, but make sure she also knows you’re right there if she really does need you. She will learn how to soothe herself to sleep in no time.
- The baby bundle
Babies are used to not having much space to move. It’s actually soothing to them. That’s all they knew for nine months. So while you may think that because you love your space, your baby will want space,too. But you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to catch more zzz’s!
Bundle up your baby in warm (but safe) clothing. You know those super duper sleepsack inventions? I suggest you invest in one. Another option is the good ol’ swaddle blanket. Your baby will love the added comfort and warmth.
- Consistency is key!
This is something I definitely struggled with (and sometimes still do)! But it makes all the difference. Yes, there will be sacrifices. Yes, you may have to let go of your hip, wild, spirit child who makes you forget to check the time, kind of like Cinderella.
But let me be the first to tell you, getting more sleep and saying goodbye to those horrifying under-eye bags is way more satisfying than any late-night party ever could be!
When you are consistent, your kids learn the rules a lot quicker, and a lot less painfully.
- Drowsy, but not asleep
You don’t want to hear her cry. I get it. I didn’t either. But if only you knew how much more difficult you’re making it for her. Soothing herself to sleep is a huge part of her finding her independence. So, when you notice the first signs of her getting tired, lay her down in her crib.
I promise, it gets easier!
- Establish a bedtime routine
A soothing bath, a new diaper, clean pajamas, warm milk, and a sweet bed time story while gently rocking in the rocking chair. All this makes the perfect formula to create a sleepy baby. Throw in that “consistency” word, and voila, your very own almost fool proof nighttime routine.
Think about it, routine is human nature. The more we do it, the easier it becomes. So, start a routine for your child, and soon, you won’t need to remind her of bedtime. Her routine will do that for you.
- Start early
The earlier you start, the sooner your baby will adjust. And, that means more sleep for you. If that’s not incentive, I don’t know what is.
Sure, you’ll want your little one close by when she’s just made her grand entrance, but try not to get caught in the trap of co-sleeping. Take it from me, it’s a hard habit to break. VERY HARD.
Start good habits now, because if you wait for “later,” that time will never come.
The best sleep training methods I used for my babies all comes down to two things: be proactive and keep trying. There will be some things that work, and some things that don’t, but as long as you give things enough time to work, they will most likely work.
You may have gathered from my earlier comments that I was totally clueless with my first child. Most parents are, so don’t sweat it if that’s where you’re at. By the time I had my third, I felt like a pro. Well, most of the time I felt like a pro.
I’m here to tell you, it gets better. Stick to your guns, remain hopeful, and maybe have a motivational mantra or breathing technique handy when things get rough (and they will)!