One of the many perks for me growing up as the oldest sibling and grandchild is the fact that you end up surrounded by your sibling(s) and/or cousins, so you get the ins and out of parenting. While observing is clearly no comparison to actual parenting, I did have a good understanding that babies don’t sleep early on. So when I got pregnant with Laila, I knew establishing a solid bedtime routine may not be the cure for a baby not sleeping at night, but I understood the concept of investing your energy into a solid routine.
I started Laila’s routine when she was still in utero. Yes. I. Surely. Did. I would talk to Laila and help her understand the sun was going down, so it was time for night night. So at night, I would do yoga, take a nice shower, and try to go to bed at a certain hour. I would even massage my belly just to make sure she felt comfortable and would sleep. Never once in my pregnancy did she feel the need to ever wake up and play. I made sure her schedule was in sync early! LOL
When she arrived, as all babies do, she slept for hours! Four to five hour stretches of sleep. So I didn’t really implement a “strategy” until she was about 3 weeks. This is where I put “Turn Down” Time into high gear.
6:00pm – Bath time – More like a sponging off time. Babies that little don’t need baths. I talk about that in my post of products we used during that time here.
6:15-6:30pm – Moisturize & massage – Think I’m crazy if you want to…it worked!
7:00pm – Start the diffuser & music – I never went a night without diffusing essential oils during “turn down” time. Ever. And music is always great for relaxation. It’s still a part of her routine today.
7:15pm – Read a story or three & explain to her this was night time and it was time for bed.
7:30pm – Nursing – This part was very essential to the plan. Regardless if you nurse or bottle-feed, ensuring baby’s tummy was full before bedtime is KEY! Think about it: when you’re clean, fed, full, & warm, you tend to relax better! Same applies here.
I would make sure Laila nursed all she wanted before bedtime until she got tired. Once she was done, I would burp her and rock her gently.
From weeks 3 through 7, Laila would wake up once at night to nurse. At first it was 2am, then 3am, and so forth. By week 7, she miraculously slept through the night! Winner, winner! She successfully slept from 7 weeks to 4 months through the night. Then teething and developmental milestones started to occur, and that’s when it all went out the window! Argggh! But! I still never stopped her routine. She was waking up twice a night to nurse, so it was a pretty rough period. However, we never shied away from her routine and before we knew it, there were nights where she was sleeping through the night again, slowly, but surely!
If you’re looking for a cure to why you’re child isn’t sleeping at night, this post isn’t what you’re looking for. Sorry. However, I am a firm believer in understanding how humans work and if we implement a few small things, it helps us to rest better. The same applies with children. Find what method works for you and execute it! You don’t have to follow my plan. Just have one.