This post is NOT sponsored by coffee and dry shampoo, but it should be!
Let me begin by saying that I am no doctor or expert in parenting. In fact, I’m far from it. However, every new mom that layers on concealer to cover up the bags under her eyes (if you even have time to do your makeup) knows that most frustrating question is, “Is he/she sleeping at night yet”?
The first few weeks after having my son was miserable if we’re going to be honest. Between the baby crying, pumping as soon as he fell asleep, and recovering from a c-section, I got NO sleep. I was a zombie. There was actually a time when I fell asleep on the couch and my mom was taking care of my son, Royce, and he began crying and I started patting a blanket next to me because I thought he was laying next to me… totally hilarious, right?
I tried everything – white noise machine, singing to him, every brand of pacifier, sleeping with him, the rocker, swing… he just wasn’t having it. I was fed up and was pretty confident I just wasn’t cut out for motherhood. I was 100% sure I wasn’t having another baby EVER.
Fast forward to now, Royce is 10 months old and sleeps SO well. He’ll have a rough night here or there or I make the mistake of letting him fall asleep at 7 pm for a nap… but we’re both sleeping good. There’s actually times when I wake up and pick him up from the crib and we’re both smiling. Now I can ACTUALLY picture myself having another child one day. I want to let other moms in on my secret to getting him to sleep through the night if you’re on the struggle bus I was in.
My #1 tip: Patience.
Looking back, I realized that a lot of the times I was tired was because I was also stressing myself out by trying to be super mom. Let others help you if they ask. You’re not a bad mom for letting people do your laundry, cook for you, or clean up the house. You’re not a bad mom for letting someone hold your baby while you get a nap in either. You definitely need it, and baby also needs a happy and stress-free mom. Plus you’ll regret not taking up the opportunity when they’re toddlers!
Don’t be too hard on yourself because some sleep method that works for 3 of your mommy friends on Facebook didn’t work for you. As I said before, we tried EVERYTHING but the only thing that worked was me being patient and letting time do the rest. He was a very clingy baby and still is. We bedshared for a while and still do occasionally (I know, God forbid, right? I was making him be so attached to me that he couldn’t sleep! 😉 and I never once let him “cry it out”. If you want to give your baby all the cuddles in the world, do it. If something like the CIO method doesn’t feel right to you, even if all your friends are telling you to do it and their kids are “fine”… don’t.
Being patient is hard, I know. If you’re still looking for suggestions on what to do or try, here’s what I really did that I believe helped and guided us to where we are now.
I established a routine and recognized his sleep habits, like him sleeping for 3-4 hours at a time when he stayed up later. I began keeping him awake from 7-9 p.m. as much as I could by placing toys around him, playing upbeat music, or even holding him and moving around a lot to spark his curiosity and keep him up. We started giving him baths every night or putting on his Otteroo so he’d swim and wear himself out. While in the tub & after, we used his lavender scented bath products since lavender is known to help you relax, destress, and sleep!
Again, I’m no expert; these are the methods that worked for my family. If you think your baby’s sleep patterns are unusual and there was an underlying problem, I’d speak with your pediatrician about it just to be sure.
The biggest message I want every mom to get from this is that you are doing a great job and the best that you can. There’s no secret trick to getting your baby to sleep – no rice cereal, no magic sleep suit, no essential oils that can help your baby if he/she just isn’t ready to sleep for hours at a time yet. The time will come when your baby is ready and the best thing you can do until then is be the most thankful and loving mother while they’re awake. Plus, less sleep means more precious moments you get to experience, right?