My one-year-old, Cooper, has a cold and is getting three teeth at the same time, so of course he keeps waking up screaming at the top of his lungs at 5 am. Not only am I losing my mind due to lack of sleep, but I’m losing my mind to Google. Is this because of his teeth? Is this because of his cold? Or is this a phase all one-year-old’s go through due to night terrors, growing pains, separation anxiety etc? Did I screw up the first time he started crying and brought him in our room and that’s why he won’t go back to sleep now? Did I coddle him too much? Not enough? Oh. my. brain.
He actually slept until 5:30 today so I think the extra half hour gave me enough sense to realize that I was causing myself more stress than necessary, so I decided to write down what I’ve learned about baby sleep from baby one, so that when I’m going through it all again with baby two someday I can keep my cool!
1. Turn the monitor down: When we made the big leap to move Cooper to his crib instead of a bassinet, I kept the monitor so loud that it really made no difference. If he can put himself back to sleep then I only need to hear him when he really needs me, not just when he’s rolling over. (Because I’m a wuss, I turned the monitor down each night by one notch…)
2. Do no crying sleep training: It is pretty much the same as letting them cry it out but with a different attitude. Babies can fall asleep on their own. It is possible!! Believe!
3. Watch for early tired signals: I don’t remember where I read about these but it changed my life!! Babies will often tug their ears, rub their nose, and become less active before even rubbing their eyes when they get tired. If you start putting them down at this stage, they are more likely to calmly drift to sleep than to fuss!
4. Move baby to crib at first long sleep: As soon as my baby starts sleeping for long stretches I will move him to his crib instead of the bassinet so that I won’t awake at the slightest stir.
5. Ween off each feeding once age appropriate: night nursing quickly calms a baby down, but if he’s already dropped that feeding, and starts waking up hungry, try slowly weening him with less and less milk.
6. Try other comfort measures before nursing if he wakes up at night: Try rocking for a minute or cuddling with a soft blanket before assuming he’s hungry.
7. Assume he is teething or sick if he keeps waking up and/or won’t fall back asleep: This is usually the case instead of you doing something wrong like messing up his nap schedule.
8. Plan ahead for Daylight Savings time change: About a week before try pushing their bedtime around by about 15 minutes so I don’t find myself suddenly waking up at 5 am!
9. Feel grateful instead of guilty: When my husband or my mom offers to watch Cooper because I didn’t get very much sleep I will be grateful that they offered instead of feel guilty or incapable of taking care of my baby!
1. Freak out when he misses a nap
2. Freak out when he’s off his nap schedule
3. Freak out when he wakes up at night and think that it will be like this forever and that I am doomed to unhappiness
4. Confine myself to my house just so he can stay on his “nap schedule” (like they’re ever that predictable anyway…)
5. Obsess over how many hours of sleep I got
6. Look at the clock at night to see how early my baby woke me up
7. Believe that what I read on the internet is the law
8. Be bugged when other people try to tell me how to get my kid to sleep
9. Compare my baby to other people’s babies
Babies. Sleep. Whatever.
Need more baby tips?