Wait… what’s sleep again??? I think I can vaguely remember it. From what I remember, it was nice. It was comfortable. I liked it.
Who knew getting pregnant and having kids meant your nightly sleep would turn to crap. I mean, I’ve always heard people talk about it but I just thought they were joking or seriously overreacting.
But they weren’t.
And then there are those parents who boast that their children “have slept through the night since they came home from the hospital” (liars!) You have to love them! Well, good for those parents. I’m sure they also change diapers full of rainbows, instead of poop.
I’m not here to brag or boast about my children’s’ sleep. In fact, my children have both been terrible sleepers from day one! I haven’t slept well in years. Literally. I’ve gone through two cycles of pregnancy sleep (crap) and two kids who hated to sleep – even while they were in the womb! Wait, I’m lying… my younger daughter did sleep “like a baby” for about a month and then it went from that to waking so many times I would find myself lying on her floor with no recollection of how I got there, how long I’d been there, if I slept at all or if I was just in a complete sleep-deprived coma.
So many moms and dads out there suffer from these bouts of terrible sleep and somehow our bodies miraculously get through the day (can you say coffee!). It happens and it’s just that part of being a parent that some of us have to deal with. What I am here to tell you is that you can get help from sleep consultants and it really does help to understand why the baby wake ups happen and how to handle them. It also helps to learn about nap schedules and wake times. I never knew about any of this until my second daughter was a few months old but after I really started educating myself it did help a bit and at least I was able to get her on a good napping schedule and get my older daughter on a regular toddler schedule, both with age-appropriate bedtimes. Now all of my friends have a chuckle at my expense since they know that my kids are the “early bedtimers” but hey, at least I’m not fighting with them to go to sleep like they all do… Who is laughing now…
I know the internet is flooded with sites about baby sleep but I have really narrowed it down to three that I LOVE and I think are the most helpful. I pretty much live by them and read the blogs whenever new issues arise, such as regressions. They all also offer sample schedules so you can take a look and mirror your day to them, if you choose, or at least have an idea of what your child’s schedule should look like.
Here are the website and blogs that I love and highly recommend taking a look at:
Wee Bee Dreaming Pediatric Sleep Consulting – www.weebeedreaming.com
Precious Little Sleep – www.preciouslittlesleep.com
The Baby Sleep Site – www.babysleepsite.com
All of these sites will help you to become a little more familiar with baby sleep and will help you figure out how you can handle it, according to what you feel most comfortable doing. I am not really a big fan of the Cry It Out method so these sites gave me some other ideas. Take a look and even reach out to the blog creators if you want to seek some more personal advice. At least it will help you feel as though you are trying to take control as opposed to suffering through it.
Besides the websites, there are two products in particular that I found made a huge difference in my daughter’s sleep: the SwaddleUP by Love to Dream and the Fischer Price Rock n’ Play.
Photo credit: Love to Dream
SwaddleUP by Love to Dream: I discovered this when my second daughter was only a few weeks old. No matter how perfect I made a swaddle, she wiggled her way out of it each and every night and I would find it wrapped all around her, which scared me a bit. In search of something that zipped instead of a regular swaddle, I found this product. It looks a bit funny but it allowed my daughter to sleep the way she, and most babies, feel comfortable – with their arms up by their ears, so they can self-soothe. I found that sleeping in this swaddle allowed her to be much more comfortable and she never gave me a problem about sleeping in it. It kept her nice and comfy. I literally purchased each size and used this until she was at least six months old! These are great and come in a soft cotton, organic cotton and even a heavier material for winter. There are also several different colors and patterns available. 29.95 @ Love to Dream
Rock N’ Play by Fisher Price: I know this a very popular product, but for some reason I never knew about this with my first daughter ( I wish I had one then!) So for those of you out there who don’t know… if you have an infant – you NEED a Rock N’ Play! Seriously. In the description of this item, Fisher Price should indicate “all newborns need this.” It was a lifesaver with my second daughter. This helped her sleep so well. She took all of her daytime naps in this and even slept some nights in this until she was about six months old. Her legs were literally hanging off the edge of this at six months and I was sad to give it up but I knew I had to switch to the crib. Even though she still had wake-ups, while asleep, she slept so soundly in this… way better than in her crib. I think babies love it so much because it seems to almost hug them gently and they look so comfy in there. Like a hammock for a baby – and who doesn’t like to sleep in a hammock? $58.78 @ Amazon.
I encourage you to give these tips a try… and if all else fails… coffee and a great under-eye concealer will be your best friend for a while!