Since my son was born his sleeping pattern has been like a roller coaster. Finding ways to improve his sleeping habit has become crucial in order for us parent to keep our sanity.
Obviously, the first few months of his arrival on earth, my son woke up every two to three hours to be fed. Nothing very surprising for a baby you would say.
However after six to nine months, we hoped that his sleeping pattern would be regular. But, it was not the case…
What I mean by regular is that he goes to bed early (between 8 to 9pm), and he wakes up around 5-6 am.
My son would wake up very often twice or three time at night.
Don’t get me wrong; it happened that for some days he managed to sleep through the night until the morning. But, as I said…some days!
So, you imagine how desperate I was to find some lasting results to help improving his sleeping habit.
Unfortunately, it took me some time (over a year) before seeing some good improvement for my son. I know it sounds crazy but this is the reality I have experienced. I don’t know whether because I am breastfeeding…and still today at 20 months.
But, I have been told at the day clinic that he was not hungry, he just does it for comfort.
Before providing you with the ways I found that were working for my baby to sleep, I need to mention a few points here.
First, a few weeks after my son was born, he had difficulties to sleep in the moses basket. He used to wake up almost every hour if not forty five minutes. So, I decided to make him sleep in the bed with us because I had enough to wake up so often.
Gosh! You wouldn’t believe the difference.
Even though my midwife and health care visitor didn’t encourage co-sleeping, however, I did what I felt was necessary. And, most importantly, my son could sleep better. So, did we!
My son slept in our bed with us until he was five months. Then, he could sleep a couple months in his new cot.
Unfortunately, that didn’t last very long as he hit his head constantly on the bars and woke him up.
My husband and I enjoyed our freedom only for a few months until we had to get our baby back in our bed. Eventually, at 9 months, we managed successfully to move him in his bedroom.
And, guess what? He still sleeps there until today. Actually, we learned something very interesting here.
We realized that our son likes to have space for sleeping. From 9 months until 16 months, he slept on a double size mattress surrounding with cushions around it. Now, he sleeps on a low height double size bed. I know it looks strange, but we have a baby who loves space.
Also, there are various reasons why a baby or toddler wakes up at night, we would never really know for sure but we can always use our instinct or guess. Sometimes, the room can be too hot or cold or they might suddenly have tummy pain. Really, we have no clue what it could be. We just have to be aware of their need.
With that being said, here are the ways that worked for my son to help him sleeping better.
Less Nap during the day:
My son used to have a morning and afternoon nap and he would go to bed around 10pm. When I reported my concern at the day clinic, the healthcare practitioner advised me to cut it to only one. Ideally, she suggested to let him have a nap just after lunch.
This has helped a bit but he wouldn’t necessary sleep systematically after lunchtime.
The worse is when he has 3 hours nap! I know…this sounds crazy!
There was a time when I let him sleep that long. My philosophy was if he slept so long it meant he needed it.
Little one would end up going to bed at 11 or midnight. He did this for quite some time and we were quite exhausted.
Trust me, now, I have no problem to wake him up after one or one and half-hour of sleep.
Also, you have to try your best that he or her sleeps after 4pm otherwise he/her won’t be able to go to bed at 8pm.
Find a good Ritual:
Rituals seem to work well on babies.
One I find that is working very well on my son is having first a long bath. Then, in his bedroom, I make sure that the light is reduced. I generally used the light of the aroma diffuser look at this now. The diffuser is on with a light smell of lavender. As you know, lavender is known to relax. Finally, there is a soft and relaxing music in the background.
Note, that, I still breastfeed my son to help him sleeping.
So, I don’t know if it will work the same when I will stop breastfeeding.
Anyway, this is one ritual; there are different ones such as reading a book, playing a bit etc.
Obviously, the idea is to make them relax and at peace before sleeping.
Make them exhausted:
With my son, I generally go to the park for a minimum of two hours. I do my best to make him run as much as possible when we are in a park or a playground. He is quite active and he loves it. Anyway, he is always desperate to go outside.
I met a few parents like this in the park who faced the same issue.
And then at nighttime, after a good bath, generally he is knocked out! Within five minutes, he’s gone.
Ideally, the aim is having just an hour nap after lunchtime, then two good hour running at the park.
Then, I can be pretty sure that he will sleep through the night.
But, you know how it is sometimes… nothing is ever perfect
Finally, these solutions for improving my baby’s sleeping pattern have worked quite well most of the time.However it will be moment when it doesn’t. Sometimes, what works today doesn’t mean it will tomorrow!
At least they make our imagination very active!