Baby & Toddler Sleep solutions
Now that I've had two babies with two completely different sleeping habits and through trial and error I've found some great techniques to help with fussy non sleeping kiddos. With my little girl, she was the "dream" baby, I would have to wake her up so she would eat, she rarely if ever cried, calm and was always able to self soothe.
Yup that's her above, we were just about to leave the hospital. After 39 hours of labor and an emergency c-section she finally came into the world (mind you she was 7 weeks early as well), gosh she was so small. And just like the picture above she always slept and still does sleep so well. At 3 months old she slept through the night and I actually went to the pediatrician asking him what was wrong with my baby girl because she slept through the night and she would fall asleep during her feeds as well. And guess what the doctor said "there's nothing wrong with her, if she was hungry she would definitely let you know". Even now at almost 6 years old, she'd come home from school have a power nap and still go to bed at 8 every night. She's still such a sweet, calm and kind little girl. Some great things that my pediatrician suggested from the start was to give my little girl a pacifier which helps cut down the chances of SIDS by 50%, so anything to keep her safe I pretty much did (first time mom probs). And she loved her soother, she used right up till she was 2 years old and then we went cold turkey with no soothers, it was hard, but we did it. Tuyet slept so well, was independent, we didn't co-sleep she slept in her crib next to our bed and slept soo well. Again seriously a "dream" baby.
Now fast forward a couple of years and we got pregnant with baby boy it was such a wake up call with him. This little guy also came 6 weeks early, but this time around we had a planned c-section. I remember the morning so clearly it was 9:10 am and I started getting these strong pressure and didn't think anything of it, but as the day wore I started getting painful contractions and thought no way he can't be coming this early, nope he was definitely coming so off to the hospital. Fast forward a couple hours and he screaming into the world. Literally he was screaming so loud I swear you could hear it down the hall. And immediately he wanted to feed. At first it seemed okay, he would feed and go to sleep, but as the night wore on, little man didn't want to sleep anywhere except right on me and he wanted to feed around the clock. And the no sleep started and it was brutal. He literally had an internal clock that woke up every 2 hours for the first 2 months, he fed like a champ, hated the soother, a light sleeper, had terrible stomach (gassy) and only wanted to be with me. He was the total opposite of my little girl. Through so much trial and error, we found things that worked really well and not so well.
Some great tips I learned along the way:
> sticking to the same sleep routine (like feed baby, bath, massage, feed again if baby is hungry and put baby down to sleep)
> massages works wonders especially before bed time for baby to have a better sleep (this was the only thing that worked with my little guy)
> know for the first couple of months baby is in charge so go with the baby's flow to find a rhythym that's right for you
> the whole sleep training for baby is all trial and error, what works for me may not work for you
> if in the end baby has a better sleep with you, go with that don't listen to what everyone else says what you should be doing... ONLY you know what works for you and your baby
Tips from the book: (It's amazing by the way. I wish I read this before)
> Although there is research of how long baby should be sleeping for during each age, go with your child's internal clock, you'll pick up their internal clock really quickly
> Be aware that during sleep training process, when baby is screaming in the crib and your so close to going in and picking baby up, know that this whole sleep training process will disappoint baby (because they won't have you 24/7 at their beckon call), but it won't traumatize them in the end
> Distinguish between what baby needs and wants (yes baby wants you to hold them all day long, but do they need it, nope)
> Sleep is a break time for the mind, which is so important because the brain development in babies are on overdrive, they're constantly taking in new things, learning new things each and every second, so sleep is so vital for the brain to take a break and process all the new information
> Key point--> know what makes your baby tick such as if the light in the room is too bright, what time they ate, if your daily routine was different somehow and were babies emotions off during the day which can all affect baby's sleep patters
>There are different stages in sleep, know the difference of what REM sleep is as opposed to baby just starting to fall asleep
> Learn your baby's personality, are they hyper, active, calm, quiet, observant, timid or sensitive. Learning their traits and what makes them tick, will help indicate how baby will fall asleep. Like a hyper active child you wouldn't want to be doing an overstimulating activity right before bed time
> Recognize that your own parenting style can affect your child's sleep (for example, if your bit of an active person whereas your child is quite calm, your hyper active traits can have an adverse affect on your child and make them too active to fall asleep
> Last major key point--> help set your child's internal clock. If it's morning make sure to open the blinds and let lots of light in to indicate that it's time to get up and start the day. Whereas if it night time, turn down the lights, have soothing music on, literally setting the mood for sleep to help baby get to sleep easier
Really I could go on and on about this book, but if your having trouble with sleeping patterns routine, this book is such a great read.
This is a side by side shot of both my babies then and now. They're both so big now and finally both great sleepers. Hopefully some of these tips will help you mamas out there.
Finally below I wanted to share some more great reads for sleep training.