Soooo..I‘ve been waiting to share this with you as I wanted to be sure it‘s really working. Aaaand it is!! My babe is sleeping through! 🎉 From 7pm to 6.30 or 7am. And that for almost 2 weeks now. Miracles abound ✨💫We're still tweaking the naps, they take a bit more time to fall into place.
First of all thank you all so much for your comments, tips, messages regarding bebe’s sleeping schedule. I read them all, I read books on this topic, investigated, consulted, reached out for help and what turns out to be the most important thing: I committed myself fully to making this work.
I had to because I thought I'd literally go insane within days if we keep waking up at night like we used to. For two weeks I had my life totally revolve around baby's sleeping schedule. My social life and free time was pretty limited. But once you nail your little person's sleeping schedule everything else falls into place and time windows open. Most of all, you feel like a fully functioning human with a fully functioning brain again because you slept. It is not for no reason that sleep deprivation is a torturing method.
A special huge thanks goes out to Jennifer Hamilton from The Mama Coach network. She made a personalized sleep plan for Elon, supported us with her professional advice, lots of compassion, jokes galore and some serious pep talk for the Mom.
Here is what I can share with you*
1. Babies really want to sleep they just don‘t know how. It‘s an acquired skill. They need to be taught how to fall asleep on their own. Not by using sleep crutches such as mama‘s boob (in my case) or milk bottle, or being rocked to sleep, falling asleep in the stroller, or sleeping only in mama‘s or papa‘s arms, or only when you sing them to sleep. They need to and will develop their self-soothing skills if we give them a chance. This is how we support them in their growth and independence. Plus, it is so liberating both for the baby and for the mom. And for the dad. And the grandma. And the in-laws. Everybody.
2. All babies (yes, yours too) have their waking windows between their naps and the night sleep according to their age. If you miss that window and their 'sleepy signs' (such as scratching behind the ear, rubbing their eyes or pulling their hair) they will have difficulties falling asleep because they’re too wired to sleep. In truth they’re overtired. An overtired baby can’t sleep well and wakes up a lot during the night or very early in the morning. So getting them on a regular nap and bedtime schedule is essential with regards to everything.
3. The key is to put them to bed drowsy but awake. To find ways to soothe them but not give them their usual sleep crutch.
4. They need a consistent bedtime + nap routine and consistent response to their wakings at night or during the day. Jenny says:
"Did you know a consistent nap / bedtime routine can actually help your baby sleep? Babies thrive on routine - by providing them with consistency, we are signaling to them “What comes next?!” It will become less of a struggle to put them in their crib to sleep, and more of an “Oh, right it’s sleep time! Thanks mom!”
This is also a great way to talk about routines with your toddler, “What comes next? Brush teeth or pee on the potty?” Choices are an imperative part of eliminating the power struggles we face with our strong independent little people .
A bedtime routine could look something like this - set the stage (close curtains, dim lights, sound machine on); feed; bath (or sponge bath); lotion massage; night time diaper, jammies and sleep sac on; book / song; in the crib awake; lights out 😴; mama time 💃🏽
Find what works for you and your little one, be consistent, and do a shortened version for nap time. Pretty soon your babe will be sleeping like a champ"
5) Teaching them how to fall asleep will take commitment, perseverance + a super regular eating and sleeping schedule. In the beginning it may get worse before it gets better. It will take some protest from your baby, some tears, baby’s tears and very likely yours too. Perhaps even more of yours:-) The whole process was occasionally hard on me, but it is sooooooo worth it!!! My baby is thriving and is more joyous than ever now that he's sleeping better. Btw, what we practiced was not the Ferber's cry-out method. However, I don't think that you can change baby's habits without any rebellion or any tears at all. That's how the little people protest change.
RESOURCES: I found www.sleeplady.com Kim West's website and her book to be a great resource for tips, insights, schedule examples. Also www.themamacoach.ca and their blog. In German I got this one recommended www.kingababy.de. Obviously, I'd recommend you work with a professional coach such as Jenny in my case. They will have you covered on all fronts.
You got this Mamas + much Love!
*Nothing mentioned in this blog is meant to diagnose or treat your baby's sleep. I am no sleep expert or coach, I'm just sharing my experience on this motherhood journey:-) Always consult your pediatrician and a professional sleep coach.