When Leo was born, he was the toughest baby to get to go to sleep. It ended up being a two hour process every night and Todd and I just absolutely dreaded it. Needless to say, I was not very good at the whole sleep-training thing the first time around. I couldn’t let him cry, and even when I did, he was so stubborn that it ended up being a terrible experience for everyone. When we finally did sleep train Leo, he was a toddler (18 months) and we had no choice because at that point, we also had a newborn who also wasn’t sleeping.
After a night of being awake and going from one crying baby to another until 4am, I couldn’t take it anymore. It was go-time. After a week of crying-it-out, we had created an amazing sleeper in Leo. We created a great routine and it stuck. We also decided to start way earlier with a better sleep routine and forming good bedtime habits with Xander, and now with Taso.
As I mentioned in previous posts, we also experienced a whole new sleep issue with Leo right before Taso was born, and we are now (almost 6 months later) starting to get back to a better sleep routine for him.
So...I’ve had a lot of trial and error with each of the boys. But, that being said, I have found a few items that have made sleep and bedtime easier and seems to have helped the boys sleep, and in turn, helps mommy and daddy sleep too!
This was a game changer. I somehow forgot that we had one with Leo, so we never ended up using it for him, but this transition swaddle/sleep sack helped Xander and now Taso with keeping them from startling, but allowing movement when they are able to roll over! There are different variations of these, but we’ve had a great experience with the Zipadee Zip and they wash well, are soft and comfortable for the baby to move around in. We kept Xander in the larger size until he was able to stand up. I’d highly recommend adding this to your baby registry or just ordering one to try it for your baby!
We never tried to keep the house quiet while the kids were sleeping. I figured they’d always have to deal with noise, and it is pretty common to find some sort of “white noise” machine in a nursery these days. We have these sound machines in each of the boys rooms and they act as a little night light, shines some faint stars up on the ceiling and can either play music or a variety of background noise on a timer, or for the entire nap/night. We stick with the white noise sound but I think this also helps to drown out any other noise that could potentially wake the boys like, for example, a crying baby! This is another must have for new parents.
Aromatherapy does wonders for adults, so why wouldn’t it do the same for children? We have many diffusers in our home, and definitely one in each of the kids rooms. For Taso, I use one drop of Gentle Baby by Young Living and you can instantly feel the calming effect that it has on him. For Leo and Xander, I use Young Living’s Kidscents line. We typically use SleepyIze, or if they are sick I add a few drops of SniffleEase. If we are out of SleepyIze, I also just use plain Lavender. WIth consistent use, this has helped with the boys quality of sleep immensely! I’m a firm believer in essential oils having a place in the home for various reasons, so if you or your child struggles with sleep, give them a try.
Leo has had some serious sleep regression since the end of August. He stopped napping, and refused to go through his normal sleep routine. It became a literal battle to keep him in his room. It seemed to come out of nowhere since he had been sleeping wonderfully for the year before, even after transitioning into a big bed in a new room a few months prior. We tried for a solid week to get him back into our routine, but when Taso ended up being born two weeks early, we went into survival mode. The only way he would sleep is if someone slept in his room with him, usually it ended up being Todd. Now that Todd travels for work quite often, I new we had to try to get back to normal. Several people suggested a reward system and since I felt like recently he could grasp the concept, I created a sleep sticker chart. Every time Leo naps in his room (or even just has quiet time in there) or makes it the whole night in his room by himself, he gets a sticker. After earning five stickers, he earned a trip to Dunkin Donuts! This has been helping IMMENSELY, especially this week of Todd being at a work conference. I’m going to continue with this chart for a couple weeks until I feel like we are back into a consistent routine. I am so glad that I finally tried this method and really stuck with it! He doesn’t always earn a sticker, but when he does, he is SO excited about it!
I hope these items and tips can help you as you endure the time of little to no sleep with kids. As everyone tells me, you WILL sleep again someday. This time is temporary. But if there are things that can help you and your baby out, just give it a try! Do you have any sleep secrets for your kiddos? Share them in the comments!