Other than the very annoying “So when are you having another one?”, the second most popular question new parents get bombarded with is “Are they sleeping through yet?”. Both questions are so infuriating that it makes you want to throw a chair at the person asking.
Now I can’t help you with the first question, but I can share the tips and tricks that got Aria to sleep through the night.
I thought it would be best to start off with giving you a bit of a background of Aria’s sleeping history becuase it has been a journey of note. Aria has always been a good sleeper and so I can’t really complain to be honest. For the first two months she woke up every three to four hours to feed and then went straight back to sleep when she was done. When she was three months old, I did a bit of research and discovered that she could start to do a 8 hour stretch at night between feeds, which is when we decided to sleep train. She then woke up once a night at about 4am and niggled. I just popped into her room and gave her back her dummy and she slept through until her 7am wake up call. We went through a very rough patch for two weeks where she would wake up every hour screaming blue murder. Turns out, my milk had dried up and I didn’t realise, but you can read more about that here. Aria has been sleeping through for just over a month now and it is b-e-a-u-tiful. I thought that I would share the things that we did that I think really helped to get Aria sleeping like a dream.
1. Have a good daytime routine: A bedtime routine is really important but we found that if Aria had a really good day time routine, she slept so much better at night. Basically her naps and feeds are at the same time (give or take twenty minutes) every day. Of course there are some days that her routine is completely out of whack but I try to stick to it even when we are out and about. So for example, if we are out for a lunch time braai, I make sure that I have packed Aria’s lunch and a bottle and I get her to sleep in her pram at roughly the same time that she would if we were at home. People always say that babies thrive on routine, and I am a true believer in that now too!
2. Make sure your baby is stimulated (but not over stimulated) during the day: This is so important – you need to tire your kid out a bit! Besides that, it is crucial to their development, I gave a few affordable sensory activity ideas over here if you need some inspiration.
3. Have sleep time triggers: These are things that your baby will know means that it’s time to go to sleep. For Aria, it’s her dummy and a soft toy. As soon as those are in place, her eyes start to close. For some babies it may be music, or a taglet. Whatever it is, it works like magic! I try not to give these to Aria unless it is her bedtime and I use different soft toys so that she doesn’t become attached to a certain one. I also have a soft toy and extra dummy in my nappy bag for when we are out and I need to put Aria down.
4. Have a consistent sleep space: Whenever we are at home, Aria has her sleeps in her cot. It also works like a bit of a trigger as your child will associate that specific space with relaxation and sleep. I have also made a point to not let Aria do anything but sleep in her cot so that it doesn’t become confusing for her.
5. Sleep train: Eeeek, this on is a bit controversial and it really is a personal choice. We chose to sleep train gently and it worked brilliantly. Basically what we did is put Aria down for the night and if she started to cry, we would let her cry for ten minutes if it wasn’t time for her to feed or wake up. If she was still crying after ten minutes one of us would go in, give her back her dummy and soft toy and then walk out. Basically you repeat this process until they fall asleep. The first few times I stood in her room (where she couldn’t see me) while she cried just so that I could see that she was okay. We never let her cry hysterically and if it was her feeding time, we never denied her that. For us, it was three really tough nights but it was completely worth it. This video was so helpful to me and I really encourage you to watch it if you are considering sleep training your child.
I hope that some of these tips help you get a better nights sleep! If you have discovered any awesome ways to help baby sleep better at night, leave a comment below so that other mama’s can learn from you!