Ah yes, the question every parent has, will my baby ever go to sleep? The answer is, yes, eventually he or she will, but sometimes the journey is a rough one. For my husband and I though, we were pretty lucky. Ella was a sleeper from the start. I was the one who messed things up for her.
Let me explain...being a new mom I was worried about feedings, therefore I set my alarm to go off every 3 hours so I could get up and feed her (I'd read somewhere not to let her go without a feeding for that long, but really it's more like 5 hours in the beginning). Then, like an idiot, I woke her up to feed her. I'll restate that, I woke her up to feed her. She was never great at eating at that time and it's no wonder why, but as a new mom you're afraid of messing up on so many things! Here is the big lesson I learned though: your baby will tell you all you need to know.
That sounds corny, I know, but really, Ella was telling me she wanted to sleep at night and eventually I figured this out and by the time I went back to school in October, she was sleeping through the night. How, you ask? I don't know, but I might have an idea. My guess is a schedule. Meaning, Ella went down for naps (and still does) at certain times of the day (watch for hints: rubbing eyes, yawns) and then went to bed at the same time each night. This consistency has lead to a very happy baby, but just when you think you've got it all figured out with babies, something will inevitably go wrong.
Cue story....on our family vacation this summer Ella would not go down for her naps or bedtime on her own (different and strange place, I guess). I then proceeded to rock her to sleep for each nap and bedtime. Yikes! We got home and when I laid her in her crib for her naps, she did go to sleep, but her bedtime was a different story. I laid her down and she was like, "what, no rocking?!" Then came the crying and crying and more crying. I went back to rocking and realized it was hopeless. Basically, I'd created a baby addicted to rocking! ( Let me state here that I love rocking Ella, but not for 2 to 3 hours or all night long). Something had to change.
I tried the Ferber method and that was not so great. It worked some nights and other nights it was a bust. Finally, Derek said, "Why don't we just do what we used to do?" Ah ha! My husband was the genius that night. We went back to what we did when Ella was very little. We read stories (which we always do) and then rocked her for 10 to 15 minutes before we laid her down (usually we just read stories, said goodnight and laid her in the crib). Worked like a charm. I got the rocking time I needed, and so did she. I would rock her until those eyelids got drowsy or closed, and then laid her in her crib. Awesome! I had my evenings back again, and Ella wasn't so tired during the day!
Ella was trying to tell me all along, just rock her for a little bit and she'd be fine. I got the hint: finally! She has always known what she wants and I bet your baby does too, just watch for those cues and try to stick to a schedule. I think this will make you happy, as well as your baby.
|Ella at 6 months, happy after a morning nap! One of my favorite pictures.|
In case you were wondering, I've listed Ella's schedule below. She is nearly 11 months old and it's been the same for awhile now. Check it out and compare. If you have questions, let me know. I'm not an expert, by any means, but I'm glad to listen and offer support. Thanks for reading, test nest mamas.
Wakes: 7:00 am
Breakfast: Feeding from Mom and solid foods
Nap: 9:30 am
Wakes: 10:30 am
Snack: Feeding from Mom and graham crackers and yogurt
Lunch: 12:00 pm - solid food only
Snack: 1:00 pm - Feeding from mom
Nap: 2:00 pm
Wakes: 3:30 or 4:00 pm
Snack: Feeding from Mom and animal crackers and fruit
Supper: 5:30 pm - Solid food only
Bedtime routine: Bath, feeding (7:15 pm), story time, and rocking
Snack: 7:15 pm - Feeding from Mom
Bedtime: 7:45 pm