I am under no illusion that all babies can sleep easily. However, I found a system that works for my baby and my family. There are several factors that can affect babe’s sleep and I am no expert, but I do take pride in my ability to create a schedule and stick to it.
When people ask me about my baby’s sleep schedule I always get this response, “WOW! that is unreal.” or “lucky you”. I am very lucky and I have a very sleepy baby, which helps, but my husband and I also worked very hard to establish a routine and stick to it. One thing that I have learned …
You must give your baby the opportunity to sleep, or else they will become overtired. I will say this again…PROVIDE THE OPPORTUNITY for your baby to sleep, even if they don’t. What I mean by this is…watch for cues on when your baby starts to get tired..rubbing eyes, yawning. “wallering” as I call it, and provide a quiet, dark, relaxing place for them to sleep. It may take some time, but they will sleep.
Another crucial factor to your baby’s sleep schedule is their meal schedule. I am a firm believer that in order for a solid sleep schedule, you have to establish a meal schedule as well. Eating schedules change often due to growth and development, but once you get a schedule and stick to it, adjusting the quantity and/or frequency is much easier.
Moment of Truth: Sometimes my baby does not sleep during his scheduled nap times; I still lay him down. If he is not screaming or in danger, I leave him in his crib for his scheduled nap time. Quiet time is good for babies too. By sticking to this schedule, he is comfortable in his crib and has grown to love his nap/quiet time; he expects this time and I provide it for him. Of course, there are times when he refuses to nap, it happens, Mama! Here is our current schedule for our 11 month old:
Life happens and we can’t always stick to this schedule, especially if you are a working mom and don’t have as much control during the day. We recently visited New York City on Thanksgiving and we strayed from this schedule, but we did manage to get at least 1 nap per day and we stuck to his feeding schedule. It is not always easy, but it is possible. This schedule works for us; find one that works for your baby and try to stick to it. TRY is the key word: I do arrange my day around his schedule and I am ok with that because it makes the day to day smoother. Sometimes we decide to stay at Target a little longer or go for a lunch or play date, but I always pick up the schedule at whatever point we get to.Yes, my baby sleeps that long at night and he rarely wakes up. SLEEP BEGETS SLEEP. The better they sleep during the day, the better they sleep at night: Trust me on this one.
For example: Maybe we missed the AM nap because we were at a friends house, I try to pick up where we would normally be at that time. If baby is tired at 1:30 pm I may go ahead and feed him and lay him down- Trust your instincts. The most important factor is getting to know your baby. Not only is the time schedule important, but so is the order in which you do them. We always have a bottle before a nap, regardless of the time.
This schedule has been the same from about 8 months on. We started this type of schedule at about 3 months old. The only difference was the amount and frequency of his feedings. The breakfast and dinner times were also bottles, but not we have transitioned to food during those times.
Another sleep tip: Slow down right before nap times. Read a story, turn off the tv, silence noisy toys, etc. Give them a chance to unwind. It is also important to make your nighttime routine different than the daytime; this will help them differentiate between night and day.
Listen Mama, I am no expert, nor am I psychotic about schedules. I do like schedules and my baby is calm, happy, and well rested (most of the time). I also like the idea of knowing when I can accomplish certain things and planning my day to encourage a more restful evening. I realize it does not work for everyone and I realize there are so many other factors, but if this can help someone- I hope it does.
If you have questions or comments, please leave them below- No judgment, please! We are all in this together- let’s help when we can!
Next up on the blog: Will my children ever know how much I love them?
Stick with me-xoxo