We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
I’m only about 15 weeks pregnant, but I’m already starting to sleep train my baby. Sleep is so important to me that I can’t wait until he or she is born to begin the process.
Here’s what I do: When I’ll want the baby to sleep, I lie down. So, say I plan for our baby to take a nap at 9 o’clock in the morning. This is the time I get in bed, and rest, or even doze off. Then I repeat this action throughout the day, at times I will desire for my newborn to sleep.
In the middle of the night, if I have to pee, I just hold it. I don’t want my baby thinking 3 or 4 a.m. is an acceptable time to get up!
Okay, before you jump to the comments section and declare that I am certifiably insane, rest assured that I AM KIDDING! But honestly, as moms and dads who are obsessed with the idea of perfect parenting, are we that far off from sleep training our babies in utero?
As my talented colleague Becky Vieira recently pointed out in her post about sleep training her baby without letting him cry it out, many modern parents will do just about anything to master their babies’ elusive sleep schedules, even if it means spending thousands of dollars. The last time I was a new parent, I was one of them.
It all began when I found out I was expecting baby #3. Having suffered through countless sleepless nights with my first two children, and knowing what a toll it took on my well-being and my ability to be a good mom/wife/friend/daughter/sister/person, I felt desperate to gain more control over my newborn’s sleep patterns.
That’s when a friend who was expecting her fourth baby turned me on to a book called On Becoming Baby Wise, which she swore helped her more-or-less painlessly sleep train her first three kids. I think I ordered the self-described “classic sleep reference guide” that night, and immediately got to work reading it.
The sleep philosophy presented in the book was pretty simple: Babies could learn to fall asleep on their own, if only we would let them. This blew my mind as I reflected back on the endless times I fed and rocked my babies to sleep, then ever-so-carefully placed them in their cribs, and tiptoed out of their rooms to avoid waking them.
Armed with a new strategy, after my third daughter was born, I immediately began putting her in her crib awake following a feeding, and then some light interaction like talking or singing to her, and stroking her sweet, soft hair and skin.
And that is how from day one, she basically understood that her bassinet wasn’t a place to fear or dread. Instead, solitary rest and then sleep became a normal part of her day, every day. Sure, she fussed sometimes, and I recall instances when she cried before falling asleep, but these periods weren't long, or brutally, psychologically painful for me like they had been when my first two girls were babies.
In fact, I grew to appreciate my baby’s crying as a natural part of her attempt to self-soothe and fall asleep unassisted. Yup, I’m a little meaner than Becky, because I was never totally against the idea of allowing her to cry it out, for a reasonable amount of time.
You can read more about my relatively-short journey to restful, reliable sleep here, and how putting in the effort to create a sleep schedule up front, more than paid off for me, my baby, and the rest of our family.
But now, back to the present moment, as a I prepare to welcome baby #4. No, I’m not really beginning the sleep training process in the womb. But I do plan to reread Baby Wise so as to refresh my memory about the principles and practices behind the sleep strategy that worked so well for me before. And like the last time, I will focus on my baby’s sleep schedule from the start. Because to me, sleep is as important as all other aspects of baby care, from bonding to feeding.
So perhaps, now that I think about it, it is almost accurate to say I am sleep training my baby in the womb, as I am already planning how I will get my baby to sleep without going nuts myself.
And that’s the point of this post: If you are pregnant, why not start contemplating issues like sleep now? As the saying goes, it’s always better to have some plan, than no plan. Of course, we know things don’t happen like we expect when it comes to babies; just think about how a birth plan must take into account unforeseen challenges that can occur during labor and delivery. But starting to formulate a sleep philosophy during pregnancy sure saved me a ton of suffering the last time I had a baby, unlike the first two times, when I gave no thought to what I would do if my baby wouldn’t sleep for more than a few hours at a time for 8 months!
Obviously, in the end, every baby is different, and so is every parent. This is just what worked for me. Oh – it's about the time I'll want my soon-to-be born baby to nap. Gotta go lie down!
If you are pregnant, have you given any thought to your baby sleep philosophy? Or, what has worked for you in the past when it comes to getting your baby to sleep?
Images by Melissa Willets, and book cover from Amazon.
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.