Whether you have a brand new little bundle of joy for the very first time, or you are an experienced pro, you’re both on equal ground when it comes to the world of sleep. Before children; sleeping in, taking naps, and getting uninterrupted sleep was something we took for granted. Now we’ll fall down on our knees, crying to the heavens in thankfulness, for whatever little extra sleep is awarded us, and rightfully so.
When baby arrives you will miss out on approximately 6 months of sleep in a two year period. (Let’s be honest, I think they underestimated that number by a couple months.) That box spring mattress (that you ordered on line from 1800mattress.com) of yours is now your new spa day bliss. Here are some helpful tips to try and make this transition a little easier for you.
Watch For Your Little Ones Sleeping Cues
Babies and toddlers will give you signals and clues that they are exhausted and want to go to sleep. How do you know what to look for? And what if they miss their sleeping window where they become overtired and overly stimulated? Here are some answers to help with these scenarios.
- Loss of interest in people and playtime
- Slowed activities
- Rubbing their eyes
- If they miss their sleeping window and are uncontrollable. Take them away from the chaos by taking them to a quiet room. The bathroom with the fan turned on for white noise in the dark can be your saving grace while gently rocking them in your arms.
Limit the Constant Movement Method
We have all been in that situation putting babies to sleep in the car seat and taking a drive at 3 in the morning. Try not to make this a habit. Having babies fall asleep in a stroller, car seat, bouncy toys, or any other way that gives you a nice quiet ride, may be one reason you’re not getting peace and quiet at 4 AM. The constant motion tells your little ones brain it is in light sleep, not really getting the deep sleep necessary to have them feel rested. This in turn means they are overtired and stimulated at night time. Try and find a balance that works for you, especially with older kids and having to get them off to and from school.
Have A Consistent Bedtime Routine
Consistency is the key when it comes to helping your little one know it is bedtime. By having that bedtime routine it will help signal bedtime is near. Just be careful not to put them to sleep too early or too late, this is easier said than done in certain situations. You will be able to tell what those cues are from the list above.
Your routine is up to you whether that means:
- Giving a bath
- Reading stories while rocking them
- Coming together for family time before bed
- Cuddling and singing softly or humming
- Turn the lights down low
- Wrapping them in a blanket helping them feel secure
- Resting with them right next to you
Don’t Have An All-Nighter
All-nighter means something completely different once the little ones arrive. Just be cautious that having your child no matter the age stay up all night to have him sleep in when morning arrives can backfire, and when it does, no amount of caffeine will save you. Try keeping with their schedule as much as possible, if you do notice that your child is getting up crazy early before 6am, it could be a sign that your little one went to bed too late. Try putting them to sleep 30 minutes to an hour earlier and see if that helps.
Be A Team Player
Have a plan in place for what you want for your little one. Make a plan together and stick with it. It will make things go more smoothly for the both of you. Who will get up with baby, what methods you will use to put baby back to sleep. This sound like common sense ideas but you may find what one parent does the other may not feel comfortable with. Examples of this include: will you rock your baby back to sleep? Or how many books you will read at night-time.
It’s Never Too Late To Change Bad Habits
If things are out of hand, know that it is never to late to change a bad habit, sleeping included. You can always try a new way to do something as a family and have it work for your needs. Advice is freely given but it is up to you if you decide you are ready for a change. But please don’t beat yourself up if you feel like a failure, or are feeling like you don’t measure up. You are doing an amazing job! Never forget that, even when it’s 3 AM and you decide to engulf a family size bag of peanut M&Ms in one sitting.
Image sources: flickr, thisdayilove.co.uk, mvpkidscare, medicmagic.net, dr-mom, kysdc