Sleep Baby, Sleep

One of the things most expectant and new parents (no matter if it’s your first, second or fifth baby) are consumed with is that wonderful, restful period at night for both parent and baby…sleep time! And I’m no different. When it came to sleep, I always considered us to be lucky with Punkin’ Bear because I knew she was more an exception to the rule than the she was the rule…she napped very well and slept through the night by the time she was 3 months. And since the addition of LadyBug to our family, it’s reaffirmed that we indeed had some strokes of luck with Punkin’ Bear’s sleeping habits.

Now don’t get me wrong, we’ve been very fortunate with LadyBug’s nighttime sleeping schedule. She goes to sleep around 6:30pm every night, wakes up for a middle of the night “refuel” and goes right back to sleep until around 6am. Not bad! But what is a little different this time around is her napping schedule. Or, rather, her lack of a napping schedule. Our little Bug is so incredibly alert during the day that she just doesn’t seem interested in napping. At first I was amazed because everyone tells you how much babies like to sleep during their early months (plus this wasn’t the experience I had known previously with Bear). But now I like to think it’s just that beautiful joie de vivre she has in discovering her world which is keeping her from dozing off throughout the day. She fills her days reaching for toys, giggling, cooing and trying to master the art of the back-to-tummy-roll. I really can’t blame her for not wanting to sleep with some many new things to explore.

But, the parent in me knows it’s important that she at least have some restful periods throughout the day. So over the past 4 months my husband and I have been working on creating a bagful of “tricks” that seem to work quite well. And since, as they say, knowing is half the battle, I figured I’d share the tricks that have worked for us (really in the hopes that you would then share some with me!) 

1.Keep stimulation to a minimum- this may seem obvious to some, but for us, it was something that we overlooked simply because Punkin’ Bear was able to sleep any time, any place. It didn’t occur to us that this may not be the case for all of our children. Now we know to keep noises low, draw the shades, and keep surrounding activity low. (Well, as low as you can in household that has a pre-schooler)

2.Insert background noise– On a related point to the one above, we’ve found that using a sound machine, a ceiling fan or even an air purifier, for a constant stream of white noise helps Bug “zone in” and be less disrupted by everything else going on in our house.

3.Go with the notion of motion– the age-old parental instinct is to rock your baby to sleep – and for good reason…it works! But if your arms are full or, as in our case, our little one starts getting a little heavier, sometimes we have to find other ways to get that soothing motion. We’ve tried a gentle bounce in her bouncer and the sweetpeace which is perfect for simulating you’re own rocking motion. When we’re on the go, a good old ride in the car works well (assuming her big sister isn’t feeling so inclined to recite the ABC’s to her) or a walk in the stroller, keeping the visor down so she’s not over stimulated by everything going on around her. And one of my most recent discoveries is using a baby sling – it’s great for keeping her close and warm ,which in our case has worked out to be a sure fire recipe for a few Z’s.

4.Keep an eye out for patterns – In the beginning, I never really thought to look for indications of when it was time for Bug to nap. I just presumed she would fall asleep when she was so inclined like her big sister did. But once I became in tune with her rhythm, I realized that she does have a general sleep pattern. For example, like clock work, she’ll fall asleep exactly 1 ½ hours after she wakes up in the morning – but the key is, I have to keep an eye on the clock and use a combination of the methods above to help her get to sleep. Otherwise, she’ll just keep going and going and going.

Obviously I’m no expert on “sleep solutions” (just a tired mom of 2!) – these are simply the things we’ve tried and that have worked for us.  I’d love to hear about anything you may have tried that works for your non-napper!

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11 Responses to “Sleep Baby, Sleep”

  1. Cass November 10, 2008 at 4:33 pm #

    It’s funny because you provide ACTUAL good information and I simply swear and beg for the nap fairy. I’ll be trying it your way as my way has limited (okay NO) success at all.

  2. BananaBlueberry November 10, 2008 at 9:51 pm #

    I was blessed with a good sleeper (and he continues to be -yey!) AND he was a good napper (he’s almost 5 now). I became a kinda ‘sleep whisperer’ to my friends (mostly just b/c I was blessed with a big baby who liked his sleep)…
    BUT- my husband and I invested a lot of time and research into making sure HE CONTINUED to be a good sleeper and have found:

    1) YOU ARE DOING GOOD THINGS by ‘listening’ and keeping an eye out to see when she needs to and will take a nap.

    2) AGAIN, YOU ARE RIGHT ABOUT THE ‘WHITE NOISE’; it helps not only my 4 year old but my 39 year old husband fall asleep :)

    a couple other things:

    ** try to keep their bedroom just for sleeping; have books in there, and a couple of toys but we’ve found that if you keep distractions in a bedroom to a minimum – the baby and then toddler and then preschooler- will enter their bedroom and already be in the mindset of settling down for sleep.

    ** always have a routine. BABIES and then toddlers, and then preschoolers (and then 39 year old husbands :) want a routine for bed and everything else (my mom taught me that and she just retired from being a kindergarten teacher after 30 YEARS – and she’s always been right about advice with ‘little ones’).

    you are doing everything right- good post!

    I OBVIOUSLY feel strongly about the sleep thing b/c I’ve found (and my mom has told me) it is SO IMPORTANT!

    Keep up the good work mom :)

  3. Patrice Cosier November 24, 2008 at 12:34 am #

    Great information. White noise works well, but classical music without vocals has been proven to lull babies to sleep. Many neonatal units play classical music for premature babies to relax and keep them calm.

  4. Misty January 28, 2009 at 9:25 am #

    Ok, my son is a 5 weeks old and I’ve been told by the doctor that he should be starting to sleep for longer periods of time now and to get him on a sleeping schedule at night. How do I do this??? Do you all have suggestions of things to do when he wakes up crying at night to get him on a schedule? I’ve been increasing his feeding but I think he’s a bottomless pit, he eats more but still wakes up at the same times thinking he’s hungry again.

  5. Kristin DeLoach, Graco January 28, 2009 at 11:18 am #

    Hmmm… every child is different so it’s really hard to say. My Punkin’ Bear slept solidly through the night before 3 months of age, and despite me trying to re-create the same “routine” for my Lady Bug, it took her until about 5 months to get through the night without waking. I know my fellow blogger, Kim Lefko, had a great routine and sleep schedule with both her daughters so she is going to reach out to you directly. Good luck!

  6. Natasha Sklarchuk February 9, 2009 at 12:40 am #

    These are great tips. My husband & I are also avid believers of the background noise. We as well as our 4 yr old daughter & 5 month old son, sleep with fans in our rooms that blow at nights through all 4 seasons. It definately helps to put them to sleep & have them stay asleep. Our 4 yr old that loves to nap 2-3 hours in the afternoons. For Misty who blogged on Jan 28, 2009 she may want to try ( if she hasn’t already) just letting the little guy cry for a few minutes. Sometimes they may not need to be fed but simply wake up & will put themselves right back to sleep. I had been waking up a few times a night with my 5 month old too who seemed to be a bottomless pit as well. He never refused a fedding but I found most times than not if I left him a few minutes he would go back to sleep at least for a few more hours before I had to feed him ( he would not stop crying at this point ). Now we are down to 1 or sometimes no feedings at nights.

    Hopefully this advise can help a tierd Mommy get a bit more sleep.

  7. Sam Joner December 14, 2009 at 10:42 pm #

    I have been reading a few posts on here and have picked up some great info. One thing I have found which works well for better sleep, feeling more relaxed and focused is binaural beats. As strange as they may sound (excuse the pun) they are a very powerful method of relaxation.

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