When I knew that I would have to return to work after 3 months of having my babe I was terrified of the horror stories I had heard about not being able to sleep EVER! Shit, I had been sleeping through the night but still felt exhausted in the morning. How was I going to take care of a baby all night AND then go to work all day. I researched. I read. I researched some more. I had found several posts about sleep training and I liked what they were saying… “get your baby to sleep through the night in 6 weeks”. yes, please! Sign me up! whatever you want. I’ll do it (besides sell my first born!). One thing I noticed about all the articles I was reading was they said that babies/children need routine. and that always stuck with me.
Another thing that was mentioned was when they are newborns..all bets are off. They are the ruler of your world. so settle in you’re in for a bumpy, crying, poop and spit-up filled ride. But its well worth it. Trust me. Now that Westie is 9 months I wish I could go back to those days (kinda) I’m not gonna lie, its nice not having to the hold the bottle for him or worry about neck control. But now I’m worrying about rolling off the bed and him bumping my ankles with his walker (OUCH!!!) Man! that kid can move fast! guess you trade one evil for the other 😉
GET TO THE POINT RIGHT?!!?
Well here is how I sleep trained Westie in 3 months….
The first 2-4 weeks:
Forget about any type of schedule. The baby is gonna tell you what needs to happen. You’re supposed to feed them every 3 hours(as they get older the time frame gets longer ..thank god!) and at this point its just a guessing game to what will get them to stop crying. I was blessed with an awesome baby and he wasn’t that fussy..sure, he had his moments but what baby doesn’t. Enjoy this time with your babe. Snuggle. Love them. Babies LOVE skin to skin so get nakie- or at least topless!! I read that moms and babies are sympathetic to each other so if the baby is hot mommy’s skin cools down (cool, huh?)
Once the umbilical cord thingy falls off…
You can give your baby a bath.. this is when I started my routine.
When its time for bed time (I started at about 9 to 10 pm) I would give Westie a bath, rub him down with lotion, put on his pj’s and settle in for his last feeding for the night.
Now here is the key and you’ll thank me later..You have to put them in their crib right BEFORE they fall asleep. Once you see them start to nod off or their eyes closing put them down. This will teach them how to fall asleep on their own. I rarely ever have to soothe Westie to sleep. If I know he is sleepy, I just put him down in his crib he will roll around for a bit and then he is out! Sure, there are some occasions that I have to soothe him but they are so few and far between that I enjoy it. Now, you don’t have to be a stickler about it. Babies love being touched and mommies love to snuggle so if you wanna hold your baby while he sleeps be my guest…you know I did! I’m just saying don’t do it every/all the time or your baby wont learn how to do it on their own.
I also want to be clear that I do not like the “baby will cry it out” thing. I strongly believe that you need to soothe your baby when they are in distress. this will teach them trust. Its a fine line though. If he/she is wailing yes! please! hold that baby.. whining? maybe wait a bit to see if they can self sooth..if not, my bet is it will turn into a wail and then super mommy/daddy to the rescue. Plus, doesn’t it break your heart when you hear that little thing screaming their lungs out!
I don’t ALWAYS do my same routine or follow times (For example, 6pm is dinner, 7 pm is bath time..lights out by 8:30) I have a loose routine. I also believe that you can’t be too strict with routine or your child wont learn how to cope when things don’t go as planned… so if you wanna skip the bath because you’re too tired… I get it..I do it too… I do notice however, that when I don’t give him a bath he doesn’t sleep as soundly or he doesn’t fall asleep as quickly.
In the beginning its important to establish a routine but once you think they’ve got it… feel free to switch it up. That’s what mommy-hood is all about… rolling with the punches.. sometimes you’re just too damn tired to give him a bath or the sink is full of dishes(if you bath your kid in the sink). If I’m too tired to wash my own son..I’m def not washing those damn dishes. Most of the time, I do both at the same time.. One side of the sink has my dirty baby and the other side contains my dirty dishes. they both get washed (judge me if you like, its a smart idea and you know it. It’s called multitasking) However now that Westie has better hand-eye coordination I have to set the dirty dishes to the side and wash them one by one because of mister sticky fingers.
Anyway its as simple as that… once you can give them a bath… start your routine and make sure you put them down before they are actually asleep. you can add reading a book and always cater to what your baby likes… if they don’t like lotion or massage skip that part. I use this time as special bonding with Westie. This is when I get my smiles and giggles out of him.
When it comes to them waking up in the middle of the night don’t jump up at first. Sometimes babies will cry for a second and then fall right back to sleep. So make sure they have established a cry(I had a video monitor and if his eyes were open I would get him, if his eyes are closed I stay away) then its mommy (or daddy) to the rescue.
My aunt gave me the best advice EVER. Now this is gonna sound harsh but it works like a charm. If your baby is crying in the middle of the night for whatever reason (usually needs a diaper change or hungry) Don’t turn on the light …don’t even talk to them. Just do what you gotta do and put them back down. Obviously, have some kind a night light to help you get through your task but keep it dim. and if you think about it, it’s common sense.. you messing around with the baby- turning on the lights- talking to them is just going to stimulate them.. and keep you and them up longer. Some light cooing and shushing is OK but don’t talk! Start em off at a young age knowing that night time is for sleeping… not for play. Humans are awesomely smart and they learn quickly. So don’t reward being awake at night with a lot of interaction. Keep it short and sweet and you’ll be a happier well-rested parent.
..welp..im tired now. Good night!
Thanks for reading! XOXOXO