I know that many parents go through a rough time when trying to get a small child on a sleep schedule, but let me tell you, there IS a solution. It may not be an easy one, and it may take a little time, but ultimately to gain back your sanity, your own sleep time, and some of that special and much deserved mommy-daddy time you need I will share with you a few things you can do to make the transition from wide-open kiddie to sleeping angel as quickly as possible!
I had tried all of the methods recommended online and to no avail, he was still sleeping in the bed with us. After months of sleepless nights, and feeling like I was on autopilot most days, I finally asked my sons pediatrician what to do since he was now 6 months old and not sleeping through the night. After a few routine questions, her answer was so simple! Put him in his crib, and let him cry. That was it. No detailed routine, no buying special items or any of the fancy stuff some parents do to get their kids to go to bed, just simply let him cry. Why had I not tried this already?
She said that after about 7 days, he would know that the crib meant bed time and sure enough it worked.
The very first night of trying this method tore me to pieces inside, as I am a stay at home mom and am on-call at every cry. I hated sitting in the living room and listening to his cries for help, to be held, to know that I wasn’t too far away. In my mind I was saying “shhhh, baby, Mommy hears you and I’m not gone, I love you please don’t cry baby, just sleep for a few hours, please for Mommy”. After my husband forcing me to leave him alone, within the first hour he went on to sleep, and a sigh of relief washed over me like a wave on the Hawaiian shores.
I was then scared to move! I was afraid that the slightest noise would disturb his slumber and cause me hours of fighting to get him back to bed.
Let me briefly explain- my son is breast-fed, and when he wakes up, there is no giving him a bottle and back to bed, it is an ordeal in itself because he wants to get up, eat, play for a few minutes, cuddle then eat some more before convincing him its bed time again. Then the struggle all over again.
Honestly after the first week passed, nights are becoming more normal and Hubby and I are finally able to get back to some of those pre-baby adult moments we miss so much. We are now able to spend the evenings laughing together, playing games, watching a movie together, among other things.
During the course of our bedtime journey with Bubby, we found that a routine definitely helps.
Our schedule looks like this:
Playtime and PBS
Prepare for dinner (he usually watches me make his food and we ‘talk’)
Start dinner. (this is usually a jar of meat and a fruit- he gets a veggie for lunch)
Still eating, but close to finishing up
Bathtime (he gets to play til the water starts to get cool)
Bedtime (this is his bedtime because he gets really cranky and hard to put to bed if I wait any later)
Having a routine has helped by giving my son an idea of what to expect as the evening progresses. Of course he does not yet fully understand but by being patient, and consistent, we can hope that by Christmas of this year he might actually be going to sleep with 99% no issues and sleeping through the night! Wouldn’t that be fantastic. If you are looking for a bedtime remedy that will actually work, this is it.
I have actually come across some moms that say they would never do this to their child, but there is nothing cruel about it, and they have to learn to go to sleep on their own. That cannot be done with us as moms standing beside the crib picking them up at each cry. Sometimes it might take an hour, but DO NOT go into the room unless you feel something is really wrong. Luckily we have one of those video monitors, so I am able to see him with out being seen! Once you have silence for about 5-10 minutes, peek in on your little one then, and hopefully they will be in dreamland and you can get some rest yourself.
For those moms (and dads) out there that are at your wits-end and feel like you don’t have any options, try this before giving up. I will use this method if and when we have more children because it just works! I literally owe our sleepful nights to our sons amazing pediatrician!
Some helpful links and references from others on getting your child to sleep:
How to Get Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night
3 Ways to Get Baby to Sleep in the Crib
Teach Your Baby to Sleep (In Just 7 Days)
Why Your Baby Hates His Crib (and What To Do About it)
Quick Tips: Getting Baby to Sleep – Get started