There isn't anything quite like slipping peacefully into dreamland and staying there for a full eight hours. I love my sleep, and before I got pregnant, I would sleep deeply, and wouldn't wake until eight precious hours had passed. I would wake up slowly, taking in those beautiful morning hours, then find my way to the bathroom to get ready for the day. My, how times have changed.
Fast forward to the first day of my son's life. I was exhausted but also in awe at this brand new baby. Words couldn't describe how proud, happy and amazed I was. It was a great day. He slept like a champ in the hospital and the nurses would wake me when it was time to feed him. I loved it. Life was good.
Then, we went home. I don't know what happened, but our baby did NOT want to sleep. At all. Those first few nights were rough. All I wanted was two hours of sleep. Two! There seemed to be something wrong all night, and he just wanted to be held and cuddled — how could I say no to that?
After weeks of waking every couple of hours, I thought I was going to die (it wasn't that bad, but it felt pretty bad.) I was not used to this whole lack of sleep thing, and I was definitely not a fan. I started talking to everyone I knew and got their advice on teaching babies to sleep. If only I had known this before our baby was born.
The moral of the story is, don't lose hope. Though it may feel like you will never get another restful night again, you will.
Here are my top three tips to helping your baby (and you) fall fast asleep.
Establish a ROUTINE. Babies love being on a schedule. Try to put your babe down at, relatively, the same time every night. Before wrapping them up burrito-style, have a few set activities that you do every night. For us, this means a bath, lotion rub down, jammies, story, song, and prayer. This seems to let them know that this is different from just nap time.
Watch the ATMOSPHERE. Nobody likes going to bed with the lights on and lots of noise. Setting the mood for sleep may help out more than you think. Dim the lights, and talk softly.
Try to let them FALL ASLEEP on their own. This will help out in the long run.
If you've tried these three steps, and your sweet little bundle still isn't dreaming away, consider a few more things: Does your baby have a full stomach? Have they exercised or been stimulated enough during the day? Do they need a little white noise (this works wonders for my kids)?