My daughter is the best sleeper! She sleeps 11 hours straight every night with a 2-3 hour nap every afternoon. So great! But it wasn’t always this way... It wasn’t until I set a consistent schedule that she became the best sleeper in the house.
Sleep is very important to me. I work odd hours; waking up every morning at 2:30 a.m. so I can be at work by 3:30 a.m. In order to function I need at least 6-7 hours of sleep. It’s not just work when I need to function. Being sleep deprived also impacted my home life. I wasn’t productive around the house and caught myself snapping at my daughter and husband. I have no patience when I’m overtired. Carrie Wilkerson (speaker and author) said something during one of her famous talks that stuck with me- ‘ the woman sets the tone of the house’. I want my home filled with positivity and joy, not the tired, snapping mother I felt like I was turning into. In order for me to get more sleep, I had to get my daughter to sleep. I spent hours stressing about her not sleeping enough and listening to her cries when I wanted to sleep.
Until my daughter was 11 months old, I was only getting 4-5 hours on a good night. I knew I’d be tired the first few months, but I thought as soon as I started her on solids she would have a full belly and sleep all night long. I was wrong… it was never my daughters fault. I never put her on a consistent schedule. I fed her whenever she wanted at night and rocked her back to sleep every time she cried. I put her to bed whenever I was ready, and let her nap as late as she wanted in the afternoon. You aren’t supposed to wake a sleeping baby, right?!
After trying what I thought was everything to get her to sleep I decided to try establishing a bed time routine and letting her cry it out a few nights. It was hard, very hard! She had no clue where this new routine came from and when I placed her in her crib she would scream! I couldn’t hide from the noise- She’s tiny, how could she be so loud!
I was consistent. I did the exact same thing at the exact same time every night. It took about a week for her to adjust to her new routine. Being on a consistent routine is key. It takes a lot for me to wavier from this routine.
The advice I always give new moms is put your baby on a sleep schedule. I wish I would have done it sooner. Baby number 2 comes this October. I know the few months will be rough but I will be putting the new baby in a routine as soon as he/ she is ready!
Here is our nightly routine:
6:45 p.m. Bath
6:55 p.m. Baby massage with lotion, pajamas and brush teeth
7:00 p.m. Read, she loves to pick out her favorite books!
7:15 p.m. Turn off lights & rock in my arms for about 30 seconds and place in crib
I’m out of her room by 7:20 p.m. at the latest every night.
I have a similar routine for her afternoon nap. She goes down every day between 1-1:30 p.m. and I never let her sleep later than 4:30 p.m.