A vivid memory of being pregnant with my first was being told constantly to "rest while you can", because when the new baby comes there will be no time for that. I certainly did NOT fully understand that statement until my "bundle of joy" arrived. Waking every 30 minutes, fatigue quickly set in and I really understood the meaning of 24/7!
After waking on average about 9 times a night with my son for the first 6 months, the situation did improve. We began having stretches of 2 hours, 3 hours, and that glorious night when I realized I was fortunate enough to sleep 4 consecutive hours! (I felt like I had slept for about 10, and was ready to conquer anything!).
Although things were improving, I reached the breaking point! I was at my wits end. I became obsessed with sleep, grabbing anything I could get my hands on about the topic. Books, magazines, flyers, attending workshops. I tried everything and nothing seemed to work, except rocking and bouncing my son in my arms until he fell asleep. (I swore that if I bounced him 100 times before placing him in his crib, he would sleep just that little bit longer…..fatigue speaking? I think so!!)
After several weeks of trying to build up the confidence (as a new mom) to let my baby cry it out, I could see no other choice. He cried, an excrutiating 22 minutes the first night, 17 the next, then 11, and less and less until we put him to sleep and had not even a peep out of him! He had finally learned to soothe himself and put himself back to sleep when he woke. At 8 months, he was consistently sleeping all night, and for the first time in my motherhood journey, I was able to feel like a "normal" functioning person in society!
This was my experience with my first baby, and certainly after chatting with other moms, have determined that every baby is different, and therefore needs different techniques to get them to sleep. As mothers we are all different too, and this certainly plays into the fact that not everything is going to be right for everyone.
Below I will add a few tips and tricks that I've heard from other moms, or that have worked for me, but if you're looking for a sure fire answer, it is that "this too shall pass", your baby will sleep one day and this is only a brief snippet in time in your wonderful life as a parent!
Here's what the mamas at our Every Little Step Baby Basics SLEEP event had to say:
1) Use white noise. A soothing sound that becomes familiar, like rain or ocean waves can be all your baby needs to have a good night sleep! Cloud B has some great options, like the popular Sleep Sheep or Sleep Giraffe.
2) Have a routine. Moms felt strongly that a routine is key in their child's bedtime. Maybe a bath, storytime and some cuddles before bed is all it will take.
3) Don't let baby get overtired. If 6:00pm seems to early, maybe it's not! Rethink bedtime, as babies tend to fight sleep even more as they become overtired.
4) Give your undivided attention when your babe wakes in the night. This is more for you than anything, as it's easy to check the time or browse facebook when your awake in the night. Not worrying about the time will allow you to be more relaxed, and babe will sense this calmness.
5) Hire a sleep coach! Having an outside perspective on what is working or not working can be the missing puzzle piece. You may be given an "ah ha" moment. Something so simple, that through the day to day grind, you just didn't realize!
6) Stop listening to what everyone else says. Hearing moms chat about how great their babies are at sleeping doesn't always help, but be patient with your baby! Those other moms certainly have their "off nights" too!
There is lots of literature about getting your baby to sleep, as well as lots of products available! If you're too tired to get out of your pj's, Walmart Canada has online shopping and FREE SHIPPING always! (Yes, you can order a $3 pacifier, and they will ship it right to your door, FREE).
Go with your gut, and trust your instincts mama….YOU really do know best!