Did you get any sleep last night?
I hardly got any sleep the entire year after my son was born. He was my first baby and I didn’t really know what I was doing. I dreaded nap-time as he always woke up after a measly 20 minutes. I often spent sleepless nights walking the halls, bouncing him and rocking him. He often would only sleep on me. Let’s just say it was not a great year in the sleep department. Thank heavens he was cute!
By the time he was 10 months old, he was just too heavy to rock anymore. And I’d had it. I was at my wit’s end. I had read all the books, tried so many methods, and nothing seemed to work. In the end, we got to the point that we let him cry it out. This is the first time I tell this to anyone. And honestly, it was the worst feeling I’ve ever had, listening to my baby scream for me and not going to him. I cried too. Rather than bring him in bed with me, which I had never tried because so many people scared me about SIDS, I left him to his own devices. I vowed never to do it again.
When my daughter was born, I braced myself for another sleepless year. In the end she was the best sleeper a new mom could ask for! Her 2-year-old brother ran circles around her bouncy chair while she napped and she didn’t budge. The first month she must have slept 23 hours a day! What a difference from the first time around. She slept in a crib in our room for about a year, woke about once a night to feed and easily went back to sleep.
I thought for sure this baby would also be an easy sleeper. Wishful thinking! I used the same bassinet as her sister, but she hated it. She’d fall asleep at the breast and then wake up 2 minutes after I transferred her. Every. Single. Time.
With a 4 year old, a 22-month old and a newborn, I really needed to be rested to function. So I told my hubby to scoot over and I brought her into bed with us. What a game changer! She slept so well next to me. I slept so well next to her. Breastfeeding became really easy, as I didn’t have to get up for every feed. Had I known this with my son, had someone in my entourage told me to try safe bed-sharing, my first year of motherhood would have been very different! When she started moving around too much, at around 4 months, we moved her to her crib, which wasn’t an issue for her.
Ten things I’ve learned about newborn and baby sleep
- Every baby is so different. Some need more attention than others. Be flexible and listen to your baby.
- Every family is different. Some families are sticklers for consistent nap and bed times. Other families may be on the go all the time, and have a less defined structure. This is OK. Find what works for you.
- Trust your instincts. With my son, I wanted to bring him in our bed, but everyone kept telling me how dangerous it was. With research, we learned how to bed share safely and it changed my life.
- Bed-sharing and co-sleeping must be done safely. Dr. James McKenna has a ton of great information online about sharing your bed with your babies. Even if it’s not part of your plan, you will most likely do it at least once, so do it safely.
- Blackout curtains are a must. Babies need to wind down before naps and bedtime, and the darkness stimulates melatonin, which helps them sleep.
- Baby’s awake times vary between 1 – 1.5 hours. Often we miss the short sleep window and have to wait until the next one. Then baby gets overtired.
- The witching hours are temporary and will end. Thank heavens!
- Your sleep is important. You may not get consecutive 8-hour nights for a while, but 3-4 hour periods make a big difference.
- Grab a nap when you can. You don’t know what the upcoming night will be like!
- If what you’re doing doesn’t work for your family, change it.
Shawna Rose, Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant
There is so much more to learn about newborn sleep and Rock the Cradle is proud to partner with Shawna Rose, owner of Destination Sleep. If you are having sleep issues that are negatively affecting your family, she’ll be able to create a plan based on your values so that everyone sleeps better. (It doesn’t have to involve crying it out.)
When you sign-up for one of our birth packages or postpartum packages, you will receive a gift certificate between $50 – $100 for one of Shawna’s sleep consultation packages! Check out the links above for more info. Or you can call Sylvia at 514-975-8973.
We’ll also be hosting a workshop in the Fall, so check our Event listings.
My kids sleep just fine now
And your kids will sleep full nights too one day! Don’t despair! Try different things; put good sleeping habits into place before sleep becomes an issue. And know that there are great resources to help when you need it.
Are you having any sleep issues? And if you did in the past, how did you solve them? We’d love to hear from you. Please comment in the section below.
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