These are tips that have provided me with some relief from my seemingly constant sleep deprivation. Unfortunately I haven’t found the magic recipe to get all bubs to nap, nap well AND to sleep through the night every night. If you find this recipe, please send through to me. I am very very VERY interested.
I know this one isn’t always looked on favourably but it worked for me. It took some of the guesswork out of why they were crying and gave me back my evenings so I could re-coup and re-group from a busy busy day being a mama.
These are the routines that I follow*:
Feed/ Play/ Nap I did this from the very beginning. The feed and nap part is pretty self- explanatory. The play part started as change time and lying on the Papa Bear’s lap watching him stick his tongue out but gradually progressed to change time and crawling around the house checking if mama has properly child-proofed every nook and cranny. This routine definitely helped at nap time. I liked knowing that they weren’t fussing because they were hungry since I had already fed them.
Bedtime We discovered pretty early on that Little Mister’s witching hour was actually his bedtime hour (I don’t remember how. I think someone smart like a midwife told us) We’ve now swapped the screaming-until-he-passed-out-from-exhaustion routine to a nice warm bath, story, a bit of booby and then straight to bed routine. We do this the same time every night. No ifs, buts or maybes. It took a couple of weeks to work out the kinks but now we are in parent heaven. Bubs in bed asleep same time every night. It has meant that the bubs haven’t been anywhere exciting for dinner but I don’t care. I love knowing that there is an end to my day.
Feeding When the twinnies were itty bitty, I fed them every 3 hours**. If they were asleep during the day I’d wake them up but I let them sleep away during the night. Gradually (it seemed like an eternity) the bubs woke up for their day feeds and slept a little longer each night.
*Although routines need consistency, you need to be flexible especially if bubs are sick or teething.
**During growth spurts, they woke up every 2 hours for a feed. I didn’t make them wait. Screaming hungry babies stress me out.
I definitely know this one has its controversies BUT I need to clarify that this is not the same as putting them in their room and just letting them cry themselves to sleep. This method just allows the bubs time to try and settle themselves. You give yourself a time limit that you’re comfortable with and when you return to the room, you settle them by patting/ rubbing/ humming/ whatever calms your little one and then you leave the room. Repeat until they go to sleep. It is extremely hard the first time you do it and it takes at least a week of consistency before you see some solid results but it worked wonders for my bubs. Especially my little man. We went from the twins only sleeping in their bouncers WHILE it was being rocked (even during the night!) to the bubs sleeping in their own cots in their own room. Believe me it was bliss.
My biggest tips before you try this is get a timer and start with their day time naps first. Once you’re comfortable with doing this during the day, then attempt the night. The nights are the hardest. I didn’t try this for their night time wake-ups for ages. It was easier and quicker just to nurse them and put them back to bed so I waited until they were over 10mths old when I knew that they only wanted comforting not a feed. Then I just patted them back to sleep before leaving the room and beginning the controlled comforting if need be.
And again, if bubs are sick or teething then this method isn’t used. Extra cuddles, extra booby and panadol works quicker.
I have mummy friends who swear by co-sleeping. This never worked for me and believe me I tried. I loved the idea of sleeping cuddling one of my bubbas. I’m not against many sleeping methods so just because I haven’t discussed it here, doesn’t mean I don’t think it works. Only that it didn’t work for me. Fingers crossed I haven’t offended anybody!