I think the hardest thing for a parent (at least during the first year. I have a feeling potty training is harder) is getting your kid to SLEEP. I have read so much, and gotten so much advice on what TO DO and what NOT TO DO... I decided Im going to share what I've heard.
Note: This is NOT me saying that I am the Baby Whisperer. Every family is different- every kid is different. This is just what has worked for Logan and I.
I have a lot of moms that read this blog, and there are a lot of mom's whose blogs I read, and I have gotten some great ideas and some of my best advice from their stories. And I was thinking, how much I would have LOVED (or would still love) to hear all their baby sleep strategies. Which is why I am sharing mine.
1. (And i think this was from a friends blog...) SWADDLING. I know not all babies like it but Logan LOVES it. He won't sleep without it. In fact, now that it is getting warm in TN, I have to strip him down to a diaper just so I can continue to swaddle him without him waking up in sweat. (Plus he looks so darn CUTE when he is...)
2. This is from our lactation specialist. MINIMIZE STIMULATION.
She said the easiest way for a baby to know its time to sleep... is to make it dark. Like night. And she reminded me what it is like when I get too much stimulation, and how either cranky or weird and giddy you can get, and how it makes it HARDER to fall asleep.
When Logan needs to sleep- nap or night time, we turn out the lights, we close the blinds, we turn off TV and music or plug in headphones... we don't really tiptoe around him. We still talk. But I don't vacuum right outside my door either. For us it works WELL. Light wakes him up, the lack there of puts him to sleep... and he sleeps BETTER.
3. Love the Lovely book Baby Wise... EAT, PLAY, THEN SLEEP.
We used to on a schedule where we would eat one side, play, eat the other. Because feeding puts Logan to sleep. But then we got in a schedule of, eat, sleep an hour, eat a second side, sleep an hour etc. NOT working for me.
Initially, when we eat, then play, then sleep it is harder to get Logan to GO to sleep, but once he does... he sleeps SO much longer! We're talking 2 and a half hours. Awesome.
NOTE: I break this rule a little. I let Logan- what I call- "top off". He eats a full meal, we play for a half hour, and then usually right before he goes to bed, he likes the comfort of suckling a little. And I really mean a little. Like a minute. It just brings him comfort I think. And since it doesn't effect my milk or his eating schedule, and it makes him go down easier... I don't care it others view it as a "bad snacking habit." We do it- it works. Plus, when my kid makes his little hungry puckering face... I'm not going to say no.
4. Goes with the last one and is also from the book Baby Wise... LET THEM CRY. The hardest rule I think for any parents, and the one that has to be used with the best of your judgement. I call this a- play by the feel or by the spirit rule.
But, when I put Logan down for a nap he is awake. And he will stay comfortable that way for ten minutes or so. Then as he starts to fall asleep he will WAIL for a good ten, fifteen minutes. And I mean ANGRY wail. But- If I wait it out? Then he will sleep for another two hours. Worth it. (I have noticed that it is easier to endure wailing if I am doing something I can't stop at that moment. Like showering. Or working out.)
Supposedly you are suppose to do this at night too, but with mine and Adams situation, and with Adam needing to sleep... we don't. I will hold and rock Logan to sleep. Which supposedly you shouldn't do but hey- like I said. 50% of parenting is not caring what other people say or think. Do what works for you.
And you know what? If its their first nap of the day, and your kid is just darling and you want to cuddle them till they fall asleep... DO IT. How much time do you have to do that anyways? Enjoy it while you can I say. (That advice came from Adams co-workers and my nurses :)
5. This comes from a friends blog... NIGHT TIME ROUTINE.
I think most people have these. Tale a bath, brush teeth, read a book, sing songs etc. Logan and I really didn't, but the more I have been getting him into a schedule the more I have been doing one, and it works well actually. Just SOMETHING to signal to your kid- sleepy time!
Logan gets swaddled, then I rock him and sing him a song. I used to sing that Tarzan song, "you'll be in my heart" when my friend mentioned that she sings her kids church songs.
DUH. How did I miss that? By singing church songs, it brings the spirit to your home, and to the moment, and i have noticed that for us- it VISIBLY calms Logan. And when it doesn't, having the spirit calms me to handle the situation in the right way. Can't go wrong with having the spirit right?
(This is not to say classic lullabies aren't good enough. I still love them. I just make sure I start our rocking session with For The Beauty of the Earth.)
And that's all I've got. Its not full proof- it doesn't work all the time. But it helps for most of the time. And I can guarantee at least one nap a day with it. And some ZZZ's at night.