One of the best parts of navigating this parenting thing is having someone who is a little ahead to guide you, and someone who is a little behind you to impart your wisdom on. For me these were a great work colleague living just down the alley and the other is my sister in law, and after talking for hours with both of them we have all come to the same conclusion…
A well resrted baby sleeps best!
Now I know this goes against all the advice you were probably given when your baby first came home… At least it did for us. We had a ton of the “just keep them awake for as long as you can and then they will sleep through the night”, “don’t let them nurse to sleep you will never be able to transition them to day care”, “when my little first came home…..”. Thankfully Michael and I always responded to these comments with “Monkey was premature and has different needs than your child, but thank you for the thoughts”.
And boy am I thankful we listen to our instincts on that one! At nearly 15 months old our little Monkey still sleeps about 4.5 hours during the day and 11 at night, and what I have discovered is when those naps in the day time don’t go so well, we find ourselves up a few times through the night and it can be a week or so to get us back on track. Leaving this Mama exhausted by the end of the turn around and usually a new tooth on its way to throw a wrench in the routine.
The key to our success was consulting with a sleep trainer in our area and choosing a plan that worked for us, because Monkey was not always a great sleeper. In the beginning he was a I will sleep well if we co sleep kind of sleeper, and this was not conducive to our family unit! In consultation with this amazing support we chose our method and stick to nap routine:
- Up at 6:30am
- Nap 8:30am-11am (max)
- Nap at 1pm until at least 2:30 but as late as he wants
- Never wake baby unless it’s past 11am
- Never vary from the routine during the training time
And I’ll tell you after about a week of this we were napping amazingly and only getting up once for a feed at night. Now that night feeds are no longer necessary we have a little who sleeps all night, the majority of nights!
In the beginning all this time sleeping had me worried that something was not quite right but my doctor reassured me that he is fine and to be thankful I have such a wonderful sleeper. What really made me confident about the well rested baby is when we get all our naps and uninterrupted nighttime sleep in we have a little who is happy the majority of the day (no high chair or car seat tantrums), who eats his meals and seams to learn so much so quickly.
I know every parent needs to do what’s best for their family, but I challenge you to give it a try. Good long naps in the day time, for a few days and hopefully your little will be sleeping through the night too. I know the rule around our house is “never mess with the nap schedule” for a reason… a well rested Monkey means a well rested Mama!