Baby sleep: probably the most talked about, confusing, troubling, and tiresome (wink wink) aspect of parenting a baby. With Isabelle we had a pretty rough first year and half with regards to her sleep. From about 4 months until 8 months she went from waking only a few times a night to waking up every 45 minutes. Every 45 minutes. For four long and painful months. (Hello zombie parents.) Then she started sleeping through the night for a few months. Following by lots of travelling and moving back to Canada which put us back to square one. At about 1 1/2 she started sleeping through the night again and, at 2, was able to put herself to sleep on her own.
With Nicolas we had an entirely different experience. We had a couple of months of sleep trouble past the newborn days but from about 5-6 months onwards (travelling aside), he’s been able to put himself to sleep on his own and has been sleeping through the night from 6:30pm until about 6:30am every night with only a handful of exceptions.
With our very different sleep experiences (and very different babies), there are a few things that have worked well for both and things I wish I started earlier with Isabelle. We might have been able to avoid (or at least ease) some of the difficult months in retrospect. Below are my top 5 tips for helping your older babies and toddlers sleep through the night. Including the amazing Tealbee Dream Suit that Nicky is wearing in these photos.
Note: These tips work for both co-sleeping and crib sleeping babies. Isabelle co-slept with us until only a couple of months ago (at age 3) and even now still sleeps with us on occasion. Nicolas, on the other hand, has been in a crib since about 5 months. This is what worked best for us and our very different babies and their needs and preferences. I’m a big proponent for doing whatever it takes to get mom and dad (and baby) some quality sleep, so if that’s co-sleeping or crib sleeping, it’s all good as long as everyone involved is sleeping well.
[ 1 ] Set an early bedtime . If your baby wakes up super early in the morning, it’s easy to think that pushing bedtime later will help solve the problem. But you don’t want baby to be overtired when going to bed, otherwise they will resist sleep (and not just when going to bed, but all night long). For both of my babies, moving bedtime earlier helped them sleep longer (for us the golden time is 6:30pm).
[ 2 ] Set a simple and consistent bedtime routine . Babies love predictability and the same applies to sleep. If your baby knows exactly what’s coming next (aka sleep), they will be less inclined to fight it. Nothing fancy or complicated. Diaper change, PJs, teeth brushing, good night story, and then to bed. I know a lot of people suggest baths but I find it too time consuming to do every night. Our bedtime routine with Nicky is under 10 minutes and works great.
[ 3 ] Use a swaddle, sleep sack or sleep suit . I’m a big proponent of swaddles and sleep sacks to keep baby warm all night long without the risk of getting tangled up in a blanket. We’ve used swaddles for both of our babies since day one, transitioning to sleep sacks within the first year (later for Isabelle, earlier for Nicolas), and then keeping them in some form of wearable blanket until 3. I’m currently loving the Tealbee Dream Suit for Nicolas. He’s a crib walker when he wakes up and this sleep suit prevents him from stepping on the sleeping bag and falling (which has happened multiple times). I also love that they’re made of naturally thermal regulating bamboo, so baby stays warm in winter and cool in summer. For younger babies (or toddlers who aren’t quite so active in bed and love the cozy feel of a sleeping bag), Tealbee also has a bamboo Sleepsack. Love the neutral grey and sweet little details on both of these wearable blankets.
[ 4 ] Put on some white noise . When we first discovered white noise with Isabelle, it was like a lightbulb went off for us. It made such a huge difference! It’s actually pretty loud in the womb – baby is cozied up next to mom’s heart after all. White noise mimics the constant repetitive noises baby experienced during pregnancy (mom’s heart beat, breathing, blood flow, etc.) and is therefore comforting. It also helps drown out other noises, so baby is less likely to wake up from sporadic noises like the doorbell, dishes clattering, or a 3-year-old throwing a tantrum next door.
[ 5 ] Give your baby a chance to fall asleep on their own . Baby sleep is cyclical. They constantly cycle from deep sleep to light sleep and, at the end of each cycle (for younger babies about every 45 minutes in my experience), they’ll briefly wake up. This is when you want them to fall back asleep on their own! If baby only ever falls asleep with your help (rocking, nursing, etc.), then they will need that help after each sleep cycle (or two, or three) as well. The only way your baby will learn to fall asleep on their own, is if you let them. I know, easier said than done. With Isabelle, we were still helping her fall asleep at age 2. But with Nicolas, purely out of necessity (older child who needed to be put down to bed as well) did we put him down awake. And he learned relatively quickly how to put himself to sleep. I think this has been the absolute biggest differentiator on our very different baby sleep experiences.
Tealbee has very generously offered to gift one of my readers with a sleep sack or sleep suit of their choice. We absolute love ours and know you will love it too!
How to enter:
- Leave a comment telling me your #1 baby sleep tip.
- For extra entries, head on over to my Instagram.
- That’s it!
Giveaway is open to residents of Canada and USA. Must be 19 years or older to enter. Giveaway ends Sunday, February 5, 2017 at 11:59 EST. Winner will be e-mailed or sent an Instagram DM. Good luck!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Tealbee. All opinions are my own.