Monday, March 4, 2013

Sweet dreams.

I've been asked several times how we got our kids to be such great sleepers so I thought I'd do a short post on it. There is no magical potion or anything silly like that. It happened by 2 little words, SLEEP TRAINING! 
 When I was expecting Kate I read the book "Baby Wise" which really helped guide me as a new mom on how to get our baby girl to sleep. The first few months are seriously pointless in even hoping to get more than a couple hours of sleep a night because their tiny little bodies need to eat every few hours plus isn't every baby born nocturnal? 
We start "sleep training" from the day we bring them home from the hospital. And by that I mean we start a routine and are consistent with it day in and day out. Of course there are days when things are off a bit and that's ok but so far we are 2 for 2 on amazing sleepers and I give all the credit to being consistent!
Starting around 5-6 months we start a schedule with naps and move bed time up earlier and earlier. 

William is now 13 months old & is still on the same schedule he was at 5 months. 

7am, usually his wake up time {diaper change and play time}
8am, breakfast and then play time
9am, nap {for an hour or 2} then more play time
11:30am, lunch and outside time
1:30pm, nap {for an hour or 2} then play time
5:00pm, dinner
5:30pm, bath
6:00pm, bedtime

His bedtime was around 8pm until he turned 9 months old and we started moving it up earlier and earlier. We top him off with a warm bottle and he sleeps through the night straight every night. We have those occasional nights where he is up due to teething or a cold but for the most part he goes 12+ hours.

Kate was and still is on the same schedule except she only has one nap {which lasts about 2 hours}, she goes to bed at 8pm and is usually up by 6:30am!

The key is consistency! I truly believe a warm bath at the same time every night followed by jammies and a feeding is what helped our kids know that all of the above means that it's bedtime. 

You have to do what works for your families schedule, this is what works for ours and we literally plan most things around it. Sleep habits start when they are tiny... schedules! schedules! schedules!

And on the whole "cry it out" thing, we did it with both of them. They were both 6 months. Each of them cried for 20 minutes for 2 nights and that was it. Yes, those two nights were awful and I felt like a terrible mom but I would do it all over again. It works! 

There's my two cents. Hope it helps some of my mommy friends out there who are in sleep-deprived land. You will sleep again, you're just going to have to put in a little extra work to get there. But it will pay off, I promise! 


Erin said...

All very good advice! There's one thing you didn't mention, though, and that's just plain old luck (and maybe some good sleeping genes.) And I am envious of your amazing sleepers!

I'm a big believer in sleep training (as much as it sucks at the time!!) and did it with both my boys. Once they CIO, they started sleeping all night like clockwork - except when they're sick or teething, of course.

We've also had a very set routine for both since they were born. And yet? Neither of my kids has ever - EVER - slept 12 hours straight in his life. No matter how early or late bedtime is, they are early risers, and they sleep more like 10 1/2 hours per night. And we've never gotten 3-hour naps like so many parents often do, either. 1.5-2 hours is pretty standard.

You can do everything right and still not have kids who will sleep 15 or more hours a day. If you have one (or two!) of those, you did something right AND you're very lucky!

Lauren said...

So many things you mention above are so helpful and true to us also! Although, I agree with Erin in that I can't get Jackson to sleep more than 10.5 hours a night either!

My question to you is: how do you know when to transition from one to two naps? Jackson's nap times have been so off the last two months, he usually takes two a day, but the timing is just dependent on the day. What is your routine at nap time? Do you have one? How did you know when to drop a nap and how did you do it?