You, Sleep, and Your Child

Sleep is something many of us hold near and dear to us and something that Freya likes to interrupt on a frequent basis. I can’t complain too much, I just wish she didn’t get up so dang early in the morning because I am not a morning person.  So let’s talk about babies and toddlers and sleep.

The Basics

During the first year baby will go from sleeping around eighteen hours to fourteen hours. I would say Freya probably does a solid twelve to thirteen hours, but those are still the average numbers. Don’t worry too much if your child deviates slightly from these.  During the first four to six months expect to get woken up a lot. I think Freya would wake us up at least 2-4 times per night, which makes me so glad that I wasn’t working at the time.

Many of the night time wakeups will be due to dirty diapers or feedings. So get your rest where you can. If you’re like me and naps don’t work, try napping with baby. I normally don’t do the whole nap thing well, but a nap with Freya every once in a while helps. If that doesn’t work, find someone you trust who can watch your baby for a while you get a nap in and catch up on things around the house.

Expect a baby to need to feed two to three times per night though that will decrease during the first six months. By about that time they can go most the night without a bottle. Freya usually wakes us up once a night for a bottle now that she’s 10 months.  With a baby it is okay if they fall asleep on the bottle. Doctors only worry about that once they start getting their first teeth. After that nothing right before bed aside from water.

Where?

There’s a lot of debate over where a baby has to or should not sleep.  Some people think that baby needs to be in their room with them in a crib or a cosleeper. Others believe in monitors and the baby sleeping in their own room. Even if I had a room all for Freya, I don’t think I could personally do that, but choose whatever works for your family and life.

Some parents let their child fall asleep in a swing, just be careful about this. We did this for a few months and it caused some issues with having to be rocked to sleep for a while. It also became a problem once Freya decided that being restrained was a bad thing. So you can create some bad habits doing this.

As far as baby sleeping in your bed we do this part time. We’ve been told everything from it can cause SIDS to “aren’t you worried you’ll roll over on her?” Well I can honestly say I’ve never had an issue and I don’t sleep especially close to her. I’m just close enough that she can crawl over to me or when she was an infant she was in a travel cosleeper next to me so I could wake up to feed her in the middle of the night.

Sleeping through the night

The earliest you will most likely see this is six months though it has been heard of at two.  Freya is ten months and still doesn’t sleep all through the night every night. She probably wakes up once nearly every night usually because she is hungry around four or five in the morning.

A good way to work towards this goal however is to work on family routines. We usually bathe with lavender baby bath soap either in the shower or tub with mommy (assuming she needs a bath that day). Then we read about a half hour before bed. And right before bed we listen to Meghan Trainor because it just seems to make her happy. Then we start the fight against sleep and she eventually crashes in either mine or my mom’s arms.

It’s best to keep the room quiet during bedtime so you can let your child learn to fall asleep on their own.  However, there are a number of parents out there who don’t do this during nap times. The idea is that if you continue with your normal activities, be it watching T.V. or having company over, that your tot will learn to sleep through anything. Trust me, this can be useful.  This can also help with keeping the child asleep at night. This was recommended to me by a friend and so far it has somewhat worked for Freya.

Another thing is to always remember to put a child on their back to sleep. This is the surest way we currently know of to prevent SIDS. Also make sure nothing is near their face that they could suffocate themselves with. Keep them on their back until they can roll themselves over. Eventually you won’t be able to stop a child from sleeping on their stomach.

Day and Night Transition

When you have a wee little one the best way to teach them it’s more fun to do things during the day is to play with them in the day. I know it sounds simple, but it really works. If you spend most of your time doing interesting things with them at night they are going to want to be up at night. Same thing goes as they get older.

I think I’m going to stop there for now. I want to talk about all the sleep strategies out there and the pros and cons that I’ve found in my own research, but I don’t want this to turn into a 3000 word post lol.

So until next time

Blessed Be.

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