Being a mother has changed so much in my life, more than I would have ever imagined. I had my son in 2014, and I honestly always imagined the sleep schedule to be a million times worse while he was an infant. Up until I had him, I was not informed that babies are put on a feeding schedule of every 3 hours. This wasn't so bad while we were in the hospital (3 days, came home on the 4th), because of course, I had the nurses help. They took him at night so I could sleep, since after all, I did carry him 40 weeks and 4 days, and hadn't had a good nights sleep since I was probably 27 weeks or so.
Our first month was so hard. I was used to tossing and turning every night, but not being woke wide awake at 9 pm, 12 pm, 3 am, and 6 am, as this was past when I went to bed, and way before I got up. After about 3 months, he was sleeping most of the night, and I thought it would be smooth sailing from there.
Boy was I wrong!
While he slept most of the night, just waking when he needed about a half of a bottle/sippy cup, or needed to be changed, but as he got older, his sleeping became more erratic. What I mean is he would sleep all night one night, and the next three nights he would go strong until 5 am. It wasn't only getting to him, but I was physically and mentally exhausted.
So what can you do to wear out your little one, and get a successful all night sleep?
1. Take them outdoors. Yes, take them outdoors and let them go. Be sure to provide plenty of toys such as a kiddie basketball goal, a soccer net, and any other outdoor favorite of your child. Even if they are the only child, as mine is, take your pet outdoors for some play time with them. My sons cat keeps him busy at his grandparent's home, and his dog takes the responsibility of furry sibling here at home.
2. Visit the park. Not only are parks full of tons of room, and toys, but there are more than enough children to keep your little one on the run, meaning wearing them down for the night.
3. Limit caffeine. This is easier than you would think. I used to let my son drink whatever I had, whether it be water or sweet tea. I noticed one day my cousins daughter, who is 6 months younger than him, was only getting water, or flavored water, and she said no caffeine for her. Her daughter sleeps all night ninety-nine percent of the time. I started using Crystal Light water mix (no caffeine) for him, now he is doing so much better, only waking once or twice a night now!
4. Early naps. I learned the hard way. I would let my son take a nap around 5-6 pm, and he would not sleep for anything. I started playing with him a ton in the mornings, and he would be ill by 12-1 pm so we then started taking naps early. This gives him the energy to make it until it's time to come in and settle down.
5. Bath time every night. If you child has a nice, warm bath about an hour before bedtime, this will speed up the falling asleep process. Oh, and a little bit of Lavender bedtime bath wash, shampoo, and lotion for afterwards hasn't let me down ever.
6. Early bedtime. No matter if it's Tuesday, or Saturday, lay them down by no later than 8 pm! This will give them the ample amount of 30 minutes to really fall asleep. Some kids do good at 7 pm, but if you don't have a babysitter to go out for the night, stick to the schedule. If you have them stay the night with their grandparents/aunts or uncles, make sure they know the steps to getting them in bed on time, and keeping them asleep.
These steps have helped me get my son into a steady, very successful sleeping schedule that works for everyone here. If he is sleeping, mommy is sleeping, and daddy is sleeping, then everyone wakes up in a good mood, and ready to take on the day! I hope these steps work out for you in this rough venture!
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