I love you truly, J-A-Y.
You are a very special guy.
Through the years, I’ll always love you.
For I love you truly, J-A-Y.
That’s the whole song. It just came out the day my little man was born, and I’ve sung it to him before every nap and bedtime ever since.
It’s actually a variation on a little jingle we used to sing in my sorority in college (any KKG’s out there reading this? – leave a Comment!!)
Anyway, it was our secret weapon to get the little man to sleep. Well, along with a variety of other tricks – all of which are touched on in Janey’s guest post below.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know this is a little off-topic for me, but when I came across Wee Sleep’s Janey Reilly, I just knew I had to share her with you.
If one thing’s for sure, a mama can’t get her happy on if her little ones aren’t on a good sleep schedule. And she certainly can’t use nap time to take care of herself, her home, her business – or anything else – if nap time never comes – or doesn’t come consistently.
Read on to learn Janey’s top 10 tips for establishing healthy sleep habits for your baby (including some tips even for 3 year olds), and in the Comments, let us know YOUR best tips is for better sleep for your you little one AND for YOU!
Here’s to more rest for Mama!
There is so much great information out there, but I like to keep things simple because, I know, the LAST thing you need as a tired mom is to have to remember a million more things and to be earmarking pages and bookmarking sites to figure out this crazy sleep thing! I promise you, you will accelerate your sleep success by leaps and bounds by simply focusing on the items below.
1. Babies will do a lot of sleeping and eating in the first few weeks and will not be on any type of set schedule. Take care of your babies’ nutritional needs and honor their sleep!
2. Never wake a sleeping baby! The only exception would be if your baby for some reason is underweight or the doctor has advised frequent feeding. If your baby is sleeping, let her sleep! My advice would be not to let her sleep over 5 hours during the day in order to ensure nights and days don’t get mixed up.
3. Your babies body clock (Circadian Rhythm) will develop naturally as baby develops. By about 3 months it will more like an adults and will get more and more consistent with time.
4. Swaddling a baby up to 3 months really helps with keeping baby comfy and cozy and controlling the startle” (moro) reflux that can wake babies. After 3 months (or, if you are anti-swaddle) into a sleep sac.
5. Try not to let the books scare you with how many hours your baby “should” be sleeping or what your schedule “should” look like. Follow a Wake, Eat, Play, Sleep schedule and you will be just fine and way less stressed!
6. During the hours of 5 and 6 am little ones are in a REM (light and dreamy) state of sleep where little things can wake them- a noisy muffler next door, birds chirping. Don’t be surprised if your child stirs or wakes during this time. Give them a few minutes to try and fall bask asleep before rushing in
7. A dark room is best for napping and nighttime. Blackout blinds will be your best friend!
8. Baby’s sleep can be interrupted by stimulated items in the room- flashing turtle lights, bright aquarium toys- less distraction = less stimulation! Much better for infant and toddler to sleep!
9. Try not to move your toddler to a big boy or girl bed until the age of 3. At this age they are better able to understand consequence and it will make for a much easier transition. Plus it is safer when they are older.
10. A bedtime routine is KEY to do help your baby prepare for the long sleep. Do the same thing every day. Babies love consistency and routine! (my fave- bath, massage, jammies, sleep sac, story, song and g’night kisses!)
It is very easy to get caught up in what should and shouldn’t be going on with your baby’s sleep. Take a deep breathe and know that you are not the only one having issues. Everything you are experiencing is 100% normal. You are not doing anything wrong. Be consistent. Trust your gut and be in the moment. It will make the sleepless nights and crazy days a little more bearable. And when you are less stressed, so is your child. Being a mom is an amazing gift. Cherish, enjoy and know that sleep will come and issues can be resolved.
Janey Reilly is an Infant & Toddler Sleep Consultant and the Founder & Well-Rested President of WeeSleep, a consulting business where she helps countless babies and parents get a good night’s sleep. She is also the Regional Director Of Canada For The Association Of Professional Sleep Consultants. You can find more tips and resources on everything Wee Sleep here: www.weesleep.ca