Sleep is pretty precious to me, I have always LOVED sleeping and after hearing everyone talk about
life sleep life after babies I was terrified! You know when you have those moments in your life pre-babies where you’re like “omg I HAVE to do that or I will NEVER do that” well I had two of those moments pre-babies that molded the way I would get my babies to sleep and nap!
So let’s rewind to almost 5 years ago when I had just found out I was pregnant with Greleigh, we went to a friends house for a cook out and they already had young kids, it was bedtime and the two moms got up and said to the kids (all 3 and under) “it’s time for bed guys” took them to their rooms, and the moms were back writhin 3 minutes!!! What?! How does that happen?
So of course me and my husband started picking their brains because we knew we wanted that, we wanted independent sleepers that didn’t fight us every night, slept in their own bed (enter 2nd moment that changed my pre-baby life) Matt initially thought he wanted our kids to sleep in our bed someday because he had slept with his parents for yearssss until our niece spent the night with us when we first got married and she rocked our world, not in a good way lol She was all over that bed and we slept horrible! Matt woke up and said “yah our kids are NOT sleeping with us” haha it’s so funny how quickly your ideas can change in one night! So we asked them what all they did to get their kids to do that and they mentioned the “Baby Wise” book! I’m pretty sure that was my first official baby purchase and I read that thing cover to cover!
Now let me just say…I am all for what works for you! If you love your kids co-sleeping, not having a set routine, go with the flow sleep whenever, wherever then by ALL means please do what works for you! I am by no means an expert, but I do have babies that sleep consistently through the night by 6-7 months, put themselves to sleep at bed/nap time, sleep in their own rooms, don’t fight me at sleeping times and don’t get out of their beds at night (of course minus the few sick days, scary dreams, new changes etc) so I’ll share what we do and what works for US!
So I read “Baby Wise” and took from it what I wanted and sort of adapted things! One of the most important things I learned from it was the importance of the -eat-wake/play-sleep cycle- After those initial weeks where baby starts to establish a schedule other than being on your boob or having a bottle 24/7 and no wake times really I started this! I would make sure to feed baby, keep him/her awake during the feed, then have wake/play time followed by sleepy cues where you then go lay baby down! It is so important for your baby to realized that they don’t have to eat to fall asleep which then results in mommy ninja trying to sneak out of a baby’s room when you’ve laid them down asleep! And let’s be real laying down a sleeping baby usually results in an awake, scared baby after leaving their mommys arms to a crib all alone…so that’s why it’s so vital for them to be put down awake but drowsy! I usually do a few rocks or back/booty oats and walk out…this is for nap & bedtime!
So let’s first talk nap! All of my babes take afternoon naps at the exact same time, I need that time, like really need silence! So from little baby stage I always make sure we are starting an afternoon nap around 1-2pm! The older two know to go potty and head to their beds when I say it’s nap time, there is no discussion, it’s nap time! They don’t fight me, I go in start their sound machine which played white noise in the beginning and now just regular lullabies to help drown out any background noise of me doing things, like opening my nap time Oreos as said here! lol They have been told to not get out of their beds or cry at nap-time and we threaten them with some sort of punishment (like no Popsicle after nap usually works wonders) If Huxx gets fussy before it’s nap time I usually offer a small snack for him so he’s able to stay awake until the older two are ready for their naps! That usually keeps him satisfied and happy, I just DON’T let that afternoon nap time get messed up because like I said….I need that 1.5hrs to do stuff or just simply not be needed by someone! There are days when Greleigh doesn’t sleep because well, she thinks she’s SO big and doesn’t need a nap but she still knows to not come out of her room until I come get the boys from their nap! We had some rough days probably around 2-2.5 with Greleigh where she would cry at nap time, we just remained consistent and didn’t let her win. We would let her cry, tell her “it’s nap time, you have no choice” soothe her, and walk out! We would do that until she was asleep! Kaige on the other hand has never gone through that phase he loves nap, thankfully!
Now don’t get me wrong, if we’re out and about I’m not one of those moms who will drop whatever she’s doing to go home to make sure my kids have their scheduled nap, but if we’re home it’s the same routine every day! Kids thrive on consistency and it shows in things such as nap time! I know it’s hard when they are fighting you but you have to show them that you are strong and don’t give in to them just because they cry not wanting a nap! Most kids at toddler age don’t want to stop playing, leave the action to go lay down so it becomes a negative thing but when you remain consistent and make it a positive part of their day they usually respond well!
Okay so bedtime is a lot easier in my books then nap time! We have a routine that we start about 6:15 and Kaige & Huxx are down for the night at 7pm and Greleigh is down by 8pm! I think it’s so important for you to have those few hours of alone time with your husband! We usually watch a movie, clean up the house together or get in bed like old people! ???? that last option is my favorite! I feel like that’s my recoup time and helps clear my head to tackle the next day doing the EXACT same thing! So bedtime routine around here goes like this for Huxx!
We do all of these things the EXACT same way/same location every night, especially in those first few nights of “sleep training” when they are just getting the hang of things! Once they’ve got it you can be more lenient on how you do it!
Okay so now for the “sleep training” portion of my post. I use that term loosely because I feel like so many people have such a negative outlook on this and I think done correctly can greatly improve your child’s sleep habits! *once again if you are against letting your child whine/cry for any amount of time and want to feed on demand all through the night, just skip this part, do what YOU feel comfortable with* So once my babies are 6 months old or so I begin sleep training, which means when they wake up I don’t immediately go pick them up to nurse/feed! I wait 1-2 minutes, go soothe by patting/rubbing their back & shhhhh’ing, put in the paci if needed, don’t pick them up and walk out! The next time they start fussing/crying I wait another minute and do the same! I increase the waiting time each wake up! I still let them know I am there and they feel love from me but I also show them that they are simply waking out of habit and don’t need to eat 4-5x a night! It took Greleigh 5 nights to learn, Kaige did it after night 2 and Huxx was my worst sleeper in the beginning, when I finally started training him he had been waking 5-6x a night to just comfort nurse and let’s be honest, by baby #3 I just wanted sleep so I would feed him in bed and end up falling asleep so he would basically spend the entire night in bed attached to me and I was miserable, my body ached from laying on my sides, my mind was foggy from disrupted sleep and I hated not being able to move when I wanted so in turn I was an unhappy momma! So when I started him it only took 3 nights of this consistency before he was sleeping 10.5-12 hrs…this was after 3 nights y’all where he used to wake up 5-6x!!!! I can’t say enough good things about this, I adapted “Baby Wise” to fit our family and have just adapted it to fit each baby! I by no means let my children cry for crazy amounts of time without ever going in to soothe them! Also there are nights where I can tell something is different, or they are teething and I go in for some extra love & snuggles!
Again this is just my opinion and what has worked for our family! I don’t agree with any of the articles saying if you sleep train your children are going to have psychological issues or feel neglected! I have 3 very healthy, happy independent sleepers who know I love them with all my heart but know I also have some boundaries in that area that will be enforced! If you are happy co-sleeping, feeding all night, or having to rock your baby every single night (I still rock to sleep sometimes now that Huxx has an established bedtime routine &I knows what to expect just for the extra snuggle time) then by ALL means, please do that!! I was just asked to write down what we do & what works for us might not work for you and that’s okay! 😉
A few questions:
“Do you swaddle?”
-Yes by all means! Swaddling is a great way to help baby feel secure!
“Do you use a paci? ”
-Greleigh & Huxx were my paci babies! Kaige never really liked them! They are great for soothing during those middle of the night wake ups!
“What do you think about tummy sleeping?”
-Definitely talk to your dr, but once my babies had neck control they were all tummy sleepers
“How do you tackle nap time alone?”
-My bigs are so I tune to our routine that I say “it’s nap time” and they know to go potty and had to their rooms, I hold Huxx and get them situated and then lay Huxx down last so the other two aren’t running around bugging him!
“Are you breastfeeding, do you feed in the middle of the night”
-Yes, all of my babies are exclusively breastfed! Around 6 months I stop feeding on demand at night! There are some nights I still feed, if I know babe is sick/teething etc!
“Best way to transition from pack n play to crib”
-Start with small naps in the crib, also when the baby is awake and happy put him/her in the crib for some play time so they associate it with something happy first!
“What do you do when you travel”
-We try to find a 2 room suite so we can have some division! We usually do the older two in one room, take a pack n play for Kaige, Gre on the pull out couch, and Huxx in our room in another pack n play! Traveling is hard and sometimes you just have to suck it up and realize vacations with kids are no longer vacations but…sometimes just torture! Lol jk
I’m linking all of our favorites for nap/bedtime so make sure you scroll through! If I didn’t answer something please comment of message me!