Happy Monday!! How was everyone’s Cinco de Mayo weekend?! I worked at the hospital and now I’m ready to SLEEEEEP. Good thing I have a massage and chiropractor appointment today! 😉
You may remember last month’s “Let’s Be Honest Mamas” collaboration where we covered Living Simply + Spring Cleaning or the one that started it all (an honest post about being a SAHM). My friend Hannah from hannahreneeblog.com asked some SAHM bloggers to share our honest thoughts about what being a stay at home mom is really like. It instantly formed a bond between us and we decided to make it a monthly collaboration where we touch on a different theme each month. This month it’s all about sleep! Such a hot topic among new moms and dads everywhere. 😉 I’m excited to chat about All Things Sleep, so here we go!
[p.s. Don’t forget to visit the other ladies who are involved this month! I listed them all below <3]
[p.p.s. TWO of you can win $100 to aden + anais! Head to my instagram for more details!]
- How well does your babe(s) sleep? Sleeping through the night? Taking good naps? None of the above? 😉 Charley sleeps well these days (notice I said THESE DAYS lol). He woke a lot to nurse when he was little. He sleeps through the night (8:45/9 pm – 7 am) and he takes fairly good naps (he takes one and it’s usually 2-3 hours long). However, he takes a LONG time to fall asleep. He acts like he can barely make it to bedtime but then when I put him to bed he babbles and plays for like an hour or more before falling asleep! He’s always been this way, though. He has FOMO 😉
- Have you or are you planning to “sleep train”? How did you go about it? I tried doing some sleep training with Charley around 3 months. It was horrible. I was the typical first time mom just trying to get my baby to sleep and have a schedule. I was forcing it and trying to make sense of everything. It felt so wrong to me and I didn’t feel like it was helping at all. More people were in tears than just Charley 😉 We ditched it and tried it again later around 4/5 months old. I noticed it helped a bit. We would just wait a few minutes before going back in to check on him and console him. I tried to be more laid back and gentle about “sleep training” and I went through a period where I just didn’t care anymore. I nursed him to sleep a lot. I would rock him to sleep a lot. I just did whatever it took & stopped caring if it was “right” or not! This was one of the best decisions I made as a mom. I immediately felt more relaxed and less like a failure. I wasn’t trying to adhere to a set schedule or set of rules; I was just mothering my baby the best way I knew how and I felt so much more peace about it! When I felt like I needed to stop rocking him to sleep, I stayed in his room with him until he fell asleep. I feel like babies and toddlers are much smarter than we give them credit, so I always spoke to Charley as if he understood. I explained everything and why I was doing things. It’s hard to do that when motherhood is new, but it’s the best advice I can give. Just throw away any books you’ve read and just do whatever feels best. Don’t worry about sleep crutches or spoiling your baby. You’ll know when you need to gently encourage your baby to fall asleep alone and (s)he will be able to do it when you are both ready.
- Describe your baby’s bedtime routine. Are there any products or methods you do to promote sleep? I weaned Charley completely at the end of March, so now we have a slightly different bedtime routine. My husband or I make his special bedtime tea/milk drink (it’s a mixture of chamomile tea sweetened with honey + unsweetened almond milk). We have to be really sneaky about it, though, or else Charley loses it and wants it right then and there! We get him dressed in his pajamas and he says goodnight to daddy and Penny (our dog). We read a book while he has his drink and then we sing a song and say a prayer. Then I usually rock him and cuddle with him in the dark for a minute or so and then I put him in his crib and tell him goodnight and that I love him. If I stay too long he just wants to play and he starts playing games with me! 😉 We used to always have his Wubbanub (RIP) and his lovey (Maui Bird Co.) and a swaddle blanket (aden + anais) as we got ready for bed, but now it’s just his lovey and a blanket (and maybe a stuffed animal). I found a big hole in his pacifier a couple weeks ago after we read a book and I took it away since it was screaming ‘choking hazard’; I could just picture it falling off or him biting it off! So I said, “Oh no, it’s broken!” and set it aside. He had a rough time for the next few days, but I thought that maybe it was a sign?! I definitely didn’t know how to go about it as I didn’t have time to plan, but I think it worked out better this way. He LOVED his Wubbanub, but we only let him have it for naps and bedtime. He’s already doing much better and he has many things to snuggle with in his crib! We also use a sound machine when he sleeps. Like I said, he has FOMO, so at any little sound, he perks up. When he was a really tiny baby, we had to start taking off our dog’s collar because it would jingle and Charley would perk up when he heard it! The sound machine just really helps us block out excess noise and it’s a cue for him that it’s nap or bedtime.
- Did you try to create a “sleep schedule” or is it more flexible around your day? I did try to wake Charley up around the same time every day, but other than that, I found that the best way to approach sleep with him was to just watch for signs of tiredness. He would get very restless and intentionally do things he knew he wasn’t supposed to do (he still does these things! lol). That’s when I knew we needed to get ready for a nap or bedtime. Currently, he will grow quiet and become very intent on something he’s playing with. He gets very focused on accomplishing a task. If he starts to get frustrated and irritated with it, I know it’s time to whisk him away to bed! It’s always better (IMO) to watch your baby/child instead of the clock when it comes to sleep!
- How do you feel about co-sleeping? If you do co-sleep, how and when do you plan to transition to crib/bed? I brought Charley to my bed many times when he was little, but my husband was nervous about it. He didn’t want to roll over on him in his sleep! I did it out of sheer exhaustion, because he was nursing so often and I didn’t want to keep getting out of bed and picking him up out of the Pack ‘n Play and bringing him back to bed to nurse. It was exhausting! (I know now that I will most definitely need to get the Halo Bassinet to help with this!). I’m not against co-sleeping and I think it can work for many people. I already know I am getting a Dockatot for my next baby and that thing will either go right in the middle of Ben and me or it will go in the Halo Bassinest right next to my bed! Charley slept much better being close to me (as in touching me and being able to smell me!). My sleep was a lot lighter whenever Charley was in bed with us; I think it was because I subconsciously knew he was right there and I didn’t want to hurt him unintentionally. I don’t move a lot in my sleep anyway, but when he would be in our bed, I was like a log. I did. not. move!! We kept Charley in our room until he was 7 months. He slept in the newborn insert of the Graco Pack ‘n Play, and then when he got too big for that, we took the insert out and he slept in the Pack ‘n Play before transitioning to his crib in his room. We probably waited longer than most, but he was waking so often at night and if I’m being honest, part of us just wasn’t ready to let him go to his own room!! (We’re softies) The first night was SO hard & I had to go in and console him a lot, but I think any change is hard and take time for both baby and parents to transition. I wouldn’t change how we did it, but I would change the products we had/didn’t have!! I’m so thankful to know about so many wonderful new products and be able to know which ones I will use!
I remember getting so stressed over Charley’s sleep/lack of sleep schedule. Even when I read about what other moms were doing, there was a degree of stress because I was always comparing Charley to other babies, even when I knew it wasn’t helpful. I always tell new moms or expecting moms to just “throw away” those sleep books because each baby is unique and each one is SO different. What works for one won’t work for another and vice versa. Charley started off sleeping well and I remember he slept 2 four hour stretches around 2 weeks. My pediatrician told me that was amazing and that we probably shouldn’t tell any other parents – don’t want to make them jealous. HA. But seriously. If your baby sleeps well and sleeps 8 hours straight at 2 months. Don’t. Just don’t. Don’t share that with others! Haha It’s not the norm, your baby is abnormally an amazing sleeper, and it wasn’t anything you did. It was all them. So on the flip side, if you have a baby who doesn’t sleep long stretches or can’t take good naps, know that it isn’t you, nothing is wrong with your baby, and it will pass.
I didn’t mean to rant about sleep, but I just feel it’s important to know that EACH BABY IS DIFFERENT. We know this at an intellectual level, but we forget it way too easily. You’re doing great mama! I hope some of what I shared and what these other mamas shared helps you and encourages you! Being a mom can be extremely isolating. Hopefully this monthly collaboration will help you realize that it doesn’t have to be!
(Also, I was completely surprised that I got these pictures. It was nothing short of a miracle!!)
Hannah Renee hannahreneeblog.com // Amanda Krovic amandakrovic.com // Sophia Johnson cultivatemotherhood.
Photography by Emily Lindsey Photography. All rights reserved.