I think this was the most important aspect for me when it came to adjusting to a little one in the house. I am infatuated with sleep. Before becoming a mom, I had to go to sleep for a full eight hours straight in order for me to feel well rested in the morning. After having a child, however, I was lucky if I was able to sleep two hours straight. It was almost agonizing to see that everyone but me was able to sleep without a cry interrupting their dream.
This is sort of a debatable subject apparently because when is it really the best time to practically train your newborn to sleep throughout the night? Should you wake the baby up for a feeding or should you let the baby wake up on his/her own? Even though there are a variety of answers, the issue of the baby not knowing when it’s time for bed is so perplexing and exasperating. And it’s because of our restlessness as new moms, as we literally wake up to every sound the baby makes or trying to prepare formula in a bottle in a dark room.
What I’ve learned from my baby is that she fights sleep to pay attention to what’s going on around her. April would fight until she rubbed her eyes dry. It was this constant struggle of attempting to soothe her to sleep when she started getting fussy. My trick was using the pacifier. I know not everyone agrees with the pacifier, but it calms her down just before she falls asleep. When it fell out of her mouth, i didn’t put it back. I let her learn to self-soothe, that way she didn’t need an object or a person to put her to sleep. Her way to put herself to sleep is to hum. I didn’t know of this until I left her in her bassinet to sleep once while I cleaned the house. All I heard through the baby monitor was her humming, less and less as the time passed. I would give my daughter an extra ounce of milk before she went to sleep and when she was two months old, April was sleeping six hours straight.
Sounds perfect, right? Well, it isn’t. The key to continue having her sleeping those amount of hours every day was consistency. It’s all about creating a routine, one that you follow every single night. First I prepared an extra ounce of milk for April’s bottle (at the time she was drinking 2.5oz every two to three hours so I prepared 3.5oz). Then I would warm up April’s bottle of milk while I took her to the bathroom sink and cleaned up her bum bum. It relaxed her a bit. (Keep in mind, if your newborn does not like showers, this might not calm him/her down.) Back to the routine, after the bottle was warmed up, I would turn down the lights and shut off the television. I’d play lullabies at a low volume while she drank her milk. She would stop here and there for a quick burp and then. But it was back to her milk. She’s drink until she started falling asleep with the bottle still in her mouth. I would turn the bottle a few times in my hand so that she felt the nipple moving, causing her to drink some more. When I saw that she was milk wasted, I would pick her up and put her over my shoulder before placing one of her softer blankets over her head. I would count the amount of times I circled around the room and when I counted up to twenty, I’d place her in the bassinet. I did that for two weeks straight and every day, she woke up less and less.
I’d like to bring up consistency again because sometimes, the baby might sleep over her grandmother’s house while her father and I went out. Of course, we put her to sleep two completely different ways, so when she would come back home, it was a little more difficult to put her to sleep how I was trying to accustom her to. My suggestion is that if you are putting your baby on a schedule, continue the routine for about a month or two before the baby starts sleepovers. Unless the person babysitting is going to do it the same exact way you put the baby to sleep, it’ll throw the baby off track and have you crying in the middle of the night because you feel like you failed. Well, at least for me.
The transition from the bassinet to the crib was very easy for my daughter. She actually slept for longer when she started sleeping in the crib, which was the best thing that had happened for me, you know, because sleep and I are so very in love and I got to chance to spend even more time doing just that. My daughter is currently five months old and sleeps from 9:30pm to 6:00am. It was not easy to get her sleeping for that long, especially because she still doesn’t eat solid foods yet. She’s only eating oatmeal in the morning. So, she gets hungry during the night. New moms, my suggestion is to create a routine. Find out what your child likes, and once they pick up on the routine, they will let you sleep. I’ve read articles where parents have nine months olds who still don’t know the difference between night and day and it saddens me, because sleep is so important for a new mom. My daughter likes only a specific pacifier to soothe her, and once she’s calmed down, I’ll hear the pacifier fly to the other side of the crib. She likes a specific material to cover her as she sleeps. And she likes to sleep in the dark. If there’s a light on, she’ll cover her face with the blanket. I still feed her and change her diaper right before I go to sleep. She’ll still have her eyes closed, but I do it so that she won’t wake up at a random hour of the night. It’s these little things that you’ll pick up on with your child, so if you’re struggling to put your child to sleep, search for the signs of what the baby likes.