I may write more about this sometime, but I’ve just been thinking lately about how fortunate we are to have a baby who sleeps so incredibly well.
Noah typically sleeps from about 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. every night. Every once in a while he’ll wake in the middle of the night, but it’s pretty rare. He’s a fantastic sleeper, and he has been probably since he was about 8 weeks old.
When we first got home with him, like most babies, he had his days and nights pretty mixed up. A few weeks in, and Bobby and I were sleep-deprived and desperate. I read a couple of books (Happiest Baby on the Block and The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems) and started trying to implement the suggestions from them.
I can’t imagine what idiots we must have looked like struggling to swaddle our baby, shushing, bouncing, swaying, standing on one leg with one eye closed (OK, maybe those last two are an exaggeration). We stopped feeding him right before we put him down for the night, established a nighttime routine and began laying him down when he was still awake.
It wasn’t perfect overnight — and it still isn’t. But it’s good.
These days our nighttime routine is fairly easy. We get home from day care/work and Bobby, Noah and I spend some time together. Noah gets a bottle and some solids, then a bath, a change of clothes, and then either Bobby or I will sit in his nursery with him with the lights off for a few minutes.
When Bobby puts him to bed, he usually sings to Noah, rocks him, pats his butt. When I put him down, I usually just sit quietly with him for a few minutes, cuddle him and kiss him, tell him I love him, tell him it’s time for bed, then put him down and leave the room. And it works.
For those times when Noah does wake up, we let him try to work it out for himself, and he typically does. We will allow him to “cry it out” for short periods (typically not more than about 10 minutes) before we go in to soothe him. We also do not give him food in the middle of the night. If he escalates to the point he needs a bottle, we will give him water or Pedialite.
I know these types of things don’t work for all kids. It might not even work for the next child we (eventually) have. But the best thing we learned with Noah was to basically fake it until we made it and keep trying different combinations of advice until we found what worked for us.
So, if any parents dying for a little quality sleep read this, just know that there is hope. Keep plugging away at getting your kiddo sleeping well, and find the things that work for your family. Good luck!