From Sleep to Sanity
I never understood how crucial sleep is until I became a mother. I think about the days that I willingly pulled all-nighters, cramming on art projects during college or studying for exams, or staying up with friends and partying. The lack of sleep on those days was hardly a factor in my mental well being. Life with a newborn taught me real quick that chronic sleepless nights were damaging both mentally and physically and contributed to the deterioration of my rationale gauge in record time. Jack and I learned a lot together that first year especially, and while it was definitely rocky at times, I didn’t perpetuate those particularly troublesome cycles.
With Zoe, Beau, and Evvie I began scheduling the evenings very early. Lesson number one towards establishing a good sleep regimen was routine.
Bath time: Starting around 7pm every night whether or not they’re sleeping at the time, I prepare a warm, soapy bath in a steamy bathroom with the lights low. They have all loved bath time, but Evvie was a slow adopter. She fussed at first so I didn’t leave her in for too long, just long enough for her to get used to it. She now will stay in the tub happily for as long as twenty minutes.
Feeding: Once she’s warm and snuggly in her new diaper and pajamas, I nurse (or daddy bottle feeds) her for also about twenty minutes in a low-lit room where she usually sleeps which is ours, for now. We wanted to get her used to taking the bottle, and this is the perfect time for daddy-baby bonding, too. It’s important that she’s used to and comfortable with her surroundings at night time especially.
Swaddle: After she’s done nursing, I make shushing sounds and swaddle her tight, rocking her while she’s still awake until she dozes off.
Projector & Sound System: We’re incorporating the use of the Munchkin projector and sound machine lately, and while I haven’t used one before now, I’m really questioning why we didn’t. The functionality is clear and easy, especially for dimly lit rooms and sleep deprived adults. The white noise is really and truly a buffer for the various disturbances in the night like raccoons in the trash or Theo’s loud dreaming. We needed one for Beau’s room too for that reason.
This isn’t a perfect routine, but it’s worked with three out of four of my babies. We’re still up every two-four hours to nurse, but it’s such an easy process that we’re back sleeping after about 45 minutes. I still occasionally feel exhausted and run down, but compared to the sleepless nights and exhaustion that I felt with Jack’s first weeks, there is no comparison. I’m grateful for any and all moments of rest that I can find. While the swaddling and rocking sessions can’t last forever, I’m definitely trusting the bath time and Munchkin Projector & Sound System to last us at least through the first year or two.
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Thank you to Munchkin for sponsoring this post, and thank you for reading!
We had the same routine for our first- including the Munchkin sound machine. While we haven’t used the projector much (too exciting for bedtime?) it has been wonderful. We even packed it for a weekend away and our little guy still slept great. Love it!
Do you follow the same routine for nap? Or just let her sleep when she falls asleep? And do you swaddle at naptime? New mom here looking for suggestions:)
I’ve used that exact munchkin noise machine on white noise for both of my babies, and still currently do. (oldest is almost 3). I can do whatever in the house while the white noise blocks it out : dishes, laundry, company coming over, etc. And it’s great for my toddler when my one year old STILL wakes up to eat at 4:30am..if my toddler got woke up at 4:30, he’d for sure think it’s play time! So he still sleeps til 8. We bring it camping, to hotels, etc. The “familiarity” of the noise helps them sleep anywhere!
My routine is just the same, and same projector! I was so sad when barely a year later the projector stopped working :,( I still use the sound machine part though 🙂
We have the Puj tub too, but baby doesn’t seem to like it. Any suggestions for using it? What’s worked for yall?
Puj tub didn’t work for us either. We actually ended up getting a Munchkin tub which has a sling for newborns and then has two sides – one for infants and one for toddlers. We used it until our son was just over a year old.
I’ve been looking into a sound machine now that it’s too chilly to use the fan — and a bonus light feature is great. (Our son won’t stop pulling the night light out from the socket.) Will check this out.
Sleep deprivation can drive a mama mad. It can also drive a mama to write their first children’s book. My sister did just that. Late one night frustrated by her own son’s struggle transitioning from a crib to a big kid bed, she wrote the first draft of a book…that eventually inspired the invention of a doll. I illustrated the book and together we developed SleeperHero- a packaged duo of a bedtime storybook and doll that help kids and parents better manage their sleep routines. For all those parents out their struggling with their toddler’s sleep schedules, please check it out and let us know what you think! http://www.sleeperhero.com
What bottles are you using? It looks as if it may be glass, which is great. Congrats to you on the birth of Evangeline & your continued success!
We follow the same routine with my baby boy, my first, who is certainly pushing me to all sorts of extremes on the momma spectrum. We’re tired around here too because my little man doesn’t like to nap during the day. How do you combat the stress? I come to your blog for a little mom inspiration from time to time when I’m a little down. And I have to say that I really admire your emphasis on being grateful for the precious time spent with your babies. It’s a good reminder for me as I often find myself swept up in the stress and exhaustion of having a little baby. I’m hoping that I’ll get better at this as time goes on!