Can you think of a time? Has it been too long? If you are like me, that type of sleep hasn’t happened since before pregnancy. Likely even before that. Before college maybe? Don’t get me wrong, I have had some great nights of sleep in the past few months. However, I always sabotage it by thinking about work, going to bed too late, or making a mental list of all the things I need to do the next day. Before I know it, my alarm is going off (at least on work days). Oh, how the nights are too short.
You heard me correctly. I often wake up to an alarm. Not a crying baby. I am one of the lucky parents whose baby is a great sleeper, and I definitely count my blessings each day. Jessa woke every three to four hours until she was eight or nine weeks old. Sometimes she would sleep much less, but three hours was the norm most nights. One day a switch was flipped and she decided she would sleep eight hours. Then nine. Then eleven. Sometimes even a bit more! I can honestly say that my ten-month-old has awoken in the middle of the night less than a dozen times in the last eight months, and most of those were when we spent the night at someone else’s home. She has had a horrible cold or two, gotten one tooth, and switched from being in a pack in play in our room to her own crib. Somehow these events never caused tears at midnight or a 3 a.m. feeding. She is amazing!
I am not writing this post to brag, and I have already heard a million times that I am “so lucky” and that there is “no way any future babies will be such great sleepers.” I do want to tell all you soon-to-be moms that it IS possible that you will sleep! In addition, there are a few things we think have really helped Jessa be an A+ snoozer. Here they are in no particular order.
2. White noise – we have a dog who likes to bark and a nursery right above the garage in a room that faces the street. Our noise machine, turned onto white noise, has been a great help!
3. Black out shades – with an east-facing window, these have certainly come in handy. Jessa also naps well, and I know I can gives great shades a lot of credit. A good friend had a company that made this beauty, and although she no longer has the business, I will have to convince her to make me one or two in the future!
4. Swaddling – we used swaddle sacks until Jessa was about four months. We only stopped when Jessa started to flip herself over onto her tummy. I have been told many times from new moms that their baby just doesn’t like to be confined. Jessa loved being swaddled, but I honestly had decided long before I had her that I would swaddle (or at least try hard to force her to like it!). I worked in daycare and saw many kids who would nap 20 minutes not swaddled and two hours when they were. Worth a try if you are having a hard time with your newborn!
5. Putting her down awake but drowsy – Although she falls asleep when eating at times, Jessa can easily be put down awake and fall asleep on her own. She prefers to sleep on her tummy and has for quite a few months. She cries sometimes, but usually not for long and not very hard. When that happens we rock her a bit and try again. This has worked out well for my husband and I, as sometimes I hear Jessa chatting to herself for a few seconds in the middle of the night before passing back out without any help from us.
6. Cluster feeding – this was more important when she was younger and not eating any solids, but we have always made sure that Jessa eats quite a bit in the two to three hours before bed. This generally meant nursing then also taking a bottle.
I’m sure that there are a few “tips” that I am forgetting, and I also realize that not all of these work for everyone. Some babies just need to eat every few hours. Others love to be snuggled. Then there are the…well…bad sleepers. Hopefully your kiddo doesn’t fall in the last group, but if that is the case, maybe a few of the above tips will help!
As I write this, my little one has already been asleep for two hours. I need to do a bit of work before tomorrow (Monday), pump, and get ready for bed. I’m also willing to bet that I will be waking up to my alarm instead of a baby. It seems that the term “sleeping like a baby” is true for only one person in this house! I should take some tips from her…
Please share any tips you have to help out moms struggling with a lack of sleep…some words of encouragement from any been-there- done-that moms may also be nice for those new zombie mommies!