A baby who sleeps soundly through the night is a new mom’s dream – see what I did there? Many of us spend countless nights up with our little ones in a daze as the baby wakes up wanting cuddles, milk or worse, to play. Will the day ever come when we can sleep a whole seven hours without a little one asking for some love? Or are we resigning ourselves to be Zombie-Moms?
My endeavour to sleep through the night came to fruition when my baby was about 11 weeks old. That was my very first night. The morning after, I literally felt like a new woman! I can’t begin to describe the sheer happiness I felt. That happiness was totally short lived because I cannot say that he slept through the night for another week. Obviously, I felt disheartened. I felt like he baited me! How rude! I mean I provide you sustenance and you dangle the prospect of sleep in front of me like a carrot in front of a running horse? Little man, you are not making friends with Mommy this way!
Over the next few months it was a game of trial and error and eventually I began to see a pattern… He liked being “put to sleep” rather than falling a sleep on his own. I tried the cry-it-out method but I majorly failed at it. I tried the co sleeping method, and all though, he slept through the night, he also nursed all through the night. I would wake up feeling sore and mangled up, (trying to accommodate his spread out limbs) and rather like a cow. Both not favourable feelings.
In those months I came up with the following method that helped me and maybe it may help you:
- REGULAR FEEDS: Don’t go more than 4 hours without feeding the baby. This way the baby is never hungry. Often times, babies awake because they are hungry in the middle of the night. Offering food before they cry for it allows the baby to be consistently feeling satisfied. Skipping feeds or waiting too long to feed the baby often ended in my having to do an extra feed in the middle of the night.
- ESTABLISH A NIGHT TIME ROUTINE: In the early months we would feed him every three hours and around 9PM we would begin our nighttime turndown. Remember every child is different and each Mommie also has a different schedule for her day so this time is a suggestion, you may do this earlier or later based on what works for you. Our routine went something like this:
- Diaper change
- Warm coconut oil massage – I would also do some stretching to relieve him of any gas or uncomfy feeling.
- Put on a fresh clean sleeper.
This sequence of events always signalled to my child that it’s time to turn down for the night. By the end of the feed, he was drowsy and full. I would then rock him the rest of the way and in 15 min, he was sleeping like a baby (thank God).
In the early days, he would wake up around 5AM and need a feed, I was happy to comply as I was getting 7-8 hours a night. I also noticed that as soon as I would feed him at 5AM, he would doze off till 8-9AM. This gave me enough time to sleep a little more or wake up and have breakfast without worrying about weather he was okay or not.
As he got older, this routine worked like a charm and often offered a moment for mom and baby to reconnect. Especially after returning to work. Now, we work together. He signals me when he is done for the night, and I offer him his milk and he then spends time cuddling and falls asleep. After which I get him tucked into his crib and he sleeps till 7AM and can sometimes stay asleep till 9AM!
I am not a professional, nor do I claim that my method will work for you. This is simply what worked for my little one and I and I hope that you take a tidbit from my experience and see if it works for you!