Please remember–These are my personal opinions and experiences. I am by no means an expert, nor am I a perfect parent. If you haven’t already, you might go over and read my parenting overview.
As many of you already know, I have an almost 2 year old and a 4 year old. Here is our nighttime routine….
For Cameron (our 2 year old), I change his diaper and put him into jammies. I then say, “Night night time!” He then happily chants “night night time” as he turns on his noise maker, finds his blankie, and hops into bed. I tuck him in, kiss him on the cheek, and leave. DONE.
For Claire (our 4 year old), she picks out her own jammies and puts them on. John then reads her a bedtime story and prays with her. We both hug and kiss her good night. We turn off the lights and shut the door, and she either immediately goes to sleep, or she happily sings herself to sleep. Loudly. Because she’s Claire, and loud is her only mode of operation. We can’t help but giggle at “Jesus Loves Me” being sung at the top of her lungs… it’s pretty awesome.
Neither of our kids are afraid of going to bed, nor to they avoid it. Claire occasionally stalls a bit, but it’s more of a game for her than a fearful scenario.
Both of our kids are normal, loving children; there is no evidence of emotional trauma, nor do they have any sort of attachment issues.
AND they both sleep 12 hours at night… and have done so since they were 12-14 weeks old.
Why? Are we just lucky? I say to you wholeheartedly: NO. We used Baby Wise.
Baby Wise is a book that teaches sleep training techniques and scheduling. The basic formula for scheduling is Wake, Eat, Play, Sleep… with the point being that you wake your baby to feed him, and that he is not nursing to fall to sleep.
Now, here’s the deal: it’s tough to do. Those first three months are hard. BUT, as I’m sure you already know, those first three months are hard, anyway. This gives you a game plan… and it also means that your sleepless nights are numbered.
- Both you and your spouse read Baby Wise while you’re pregnant… you’ll not have time to shower, much less read, once your little one arrives.
- Make sure your husband is completely on board with you. You will need each other.
- Having an off day? Consider teething, colic, and/or growth spurt as a possible cause. Be adaptable; don’t berate yourself. In those moments, try to very gently mold them towards the schedule, but realize that tomorrow may be the day for that.
- Breastfeeding? Continue pumping at night to keep your supply up. I breastfed both of my babies ’til they were a year old.
- It’s ok to rock, cuddle, and love your baby. Please, please, PLEASE don’t let anyone give you the impression that Baby Wise is against those things.
What Baby Wise IS about:
- Training your child to sleep soundly at night.
- Helping your child learn to self-soothe and be able to sleep independently.
- Giving your child the security of a predictable schedule.
Some babies adapt easily to a schedule. Cam (my youngest) was that way… “Oh, sleep now?! Got it.” Some, however, take more time and patience. Claire had a tough time adapting to the schedule at first. She even went through a stage where she would scream at night for an hour at a time… regardless of whether or not I was holding her or if she were in her crib. Yayyyy colic. (Insert many doctor’s visits, gas drops, gripe water, etc HERE.) Even so, we clung to our schedule, and slowly but surely, she adapted. By the 12 week mark, people would lament over how lucky I was to have had such an easy baby… and I would stare at them, dumbfounded.