Sleep. That age old tradition where you close your eyes and get a refreshing 8 hours to reset your mind. It’s the ideal time for your body to repair itself and it keeps you sane. Well, unless you have children.
Sleep deprivation is probably the biggest issue we faced over the last 6 months. Scratch that, it’s probably the only issue we’ve faced – all other issues can be directly correlated to a lack of sleep. One of us is ALWAYS tired. I know this doesn’t set us apart from other parents, we’re all in this together, going through the same challenges.
But then something wonderful happened – the Wee Baby T slept from 10 PM to 4 AM.
We didn’t do anything, we didn’t change anything, he just… slept.
Of course the next day he had his 6 month shots and was right back to waking up every 2 hours to have a good scream, but we discovered something – after just one night of relatively peaceful sleep we were human beings again!
Wanting to explore this phenomenon further we started experimenting – What if we push his feeding back a little bit? What if we move his nap up (this was a TERRIBLE idea, but we learned!)? What if we put him in the crib in the nursery?
It would appear that we were our own worst enemies. Since transitioning the Wee Baby T to his own room he has slept remarkably well – 10 hours with only one feed.
So what have we learned?
- Have a routine and schedule. It’s 6:30 – change him, feed him, snuggle with a book, then into the crib.
- It’s ok if he fusses a little. I’m not talking out and out screaming, just a little grunt here and there as he gets himself comfortable.
- Naps are key. Find the right times for him to nap through the day and he will go down without a fight at night.
- Let him sleep in his own room. Obviously not from day one, but once his feedings are spread out a little. The Public Health Agency of Canada sets a room sharing target of 6 months for your infant:
Room sharing refers to a sleeping arrangement where an infant’s crib, cradle, or bassinet is placed in the same room and near the parent or caregiver’s bed. Infants who share a room have a lower risk of SIDS and will benefit from room sharing for the first 6 months during the period of time the risk of SIDS is highest.12,38,43 Room sharing facilitates breastfeeding and frequent contact with infants at night.
- Baby monitors are actually quite helpful, even in condos. I am loving the Summer Infant Babbel Band. We can hear the Wee Baby T when he first starts fussing, and get in to lull him back to sleep before he fully wakes up.
- Any advice you get related to getting your baby to sleep is completely wrong for your child. Yes, that includes this. Chances are we just got lucky, and you’ll be lucky too once you find something that works for your little one.
I’m no sleep expert, our success is based loosely on the scientific method, but mainly on luck. I can only say that things (apparently) get better, hang in there and try some experiments of your own. This is one case where the ethics committee probably won’t have an issue with human testing.
Good luck out there!