Parents: How do you get your child to sleep through the night?
I realize sleep training is a sensitive topic for parents, but I am genuinely curious HOW parents train their child to sleep six or more consecutive hours at night. There is so much information available but it’s overwhelming, especially when you’re exhausted and baby is fussy. This motherhood business is seriously hard stuff, y’all.
I have to be honest: this post has been in the works for several days. For two nights in a row, Kamden has boycotted our bedtime routine. He did so well last week, sleeping seven consecutive hours, four nights in a row! Monday night, however, things changed. He was extremely tired and it was hard to keep him awake during his bedtime bottle. Husband was literally acting a fool, jumping up and down, clapping his hands, making funny faces to keep Kamden awake long enough to eat. Tuesday night, I started our nighttime routine an hour earlier, thinking it would benefit him while eating and get him to sleep sooner. Well, it didn’t work like I anticipated. I read a book to him, fed him, rocked and burped him, and he was wide awake. Thirty minutes later, he was fussy. An hour later, he was really fussy. All the while, he’s yawning and rubbing his eyes — clear signs of a very sleepy baby! After two hours, he was ready for another bottle. I fed and burped him, then gently rocked him. He was asleep in minutes and slept five hours. His daytime habits have not changed, nor have his feedings. Last night, we bathed him at 9:00 and we cuddled for a few minutes while I trimmed his fingernails. By 9:45, he was getting fussy for his bedtime feeding. By 10:45, lights out and he was sound asleep in his Pack N Play. What gives?
Kamden is six weeks old today. I realize this is a young age to be thinking of schedules, but I want to be informed, educated, and prepared for the days, weeks, months ahead. Despite our sleeping woes the past few nights, he has some patterns:
- Kamden has three priorities: eat, sleep, and clean diapers. Simple, right?!
- He eats six ounces of pumped breast milk every 2-4 hours.
- Typical bedtime feeding is 10:00pm and he’s asleep by 11:00pm.
- He naps an hour (sometimes two) in the morning and takes a long nap (2-3 hours) in the afternoon. Most evenings, between 5:30 and 7:30, he’ll take a short nap but no longer than an hour.
- Kamden sleeps in the Pack N Play, located in his bedroom, for long naps and at night. For shorter naps, he’s either in someone’s arms or his swing.
hundreds thousands of books I could read regarding babies’ sleep, but I don’t care about technicalities or statistics. I need real stories from real parents with real experience.
More thoughts on sleep training:
- Cry It Out sounds harsh but some parents swear by this method … that’s if you can survive the first few nights of relentless crying. Unfortunately, I absolutely HATE hearing a baby cry and will rush instantly to soothe them! I don’t know if I could handle this practice without crying myself.
- I like the idea of putting baby to bed awake but drowsy so they’ll self-soothe. And, preferably without a pacifier. Kamden has a pacifier but is very selective about how and when he uses it.
- Consistency is important. I want Kamden’s routine to be repeatable night after night and something Husband/Daddy can do too!
- I want Kamden to associate his crib with sleep and it be a positive, pleasant experience. I don’t want to go into battle every night.
- Thus far, Kamden’s naps have been consistent in duration and time of day.
- In regards to noise, I continue regular activities during the day (i.e. television, dishwasher running, washer and dryer buzzer, vacuum, doorbell, etc.) but completely quiet at night. I can’t decide if a noise machine is appropriate for his room or not. Thoughts?
- Since day one, we’ve kept rooms as bright as possible during the day and dark at night to help Kamden distinguish between day and night. His bedroom also has room-darkening curtains.
How did you get your little bambino to sleep through the night? Do you employ a specific method? Do you believe in a particular theory? How well did your little one respond? What were the advantages and disadvantages? What were some successes? Failures? What did you try and it not work? What would you have done differently?
What kind of schedule/routine is your baby on? How many naps does your little one take? How long are their naps? When is his/her bedtime? Do you wake a sleeping baby to change their diaper or feed? How many times does your baby feed in a 24-hour period? How much does your baby eat (breast milk or formula) at one feeding? When did you move your little one to their crib? How long does your baby do ‘tummy time’? Does your baby consume breast milk or formula or a combination of both? Do you nurse at the breast or pump and feed with a bottle? How did you decide which formula to use?
Enough questions. I’m going to cuddle this child of mine while he’s still little and loves his Mama’s cuddles!