“When will I sleep again?”
I thought this question will stop haunting me after the first 18 months of my daughter’s life. But then, I had a second baby,and then I remembered the time I was looking for sleep. The second time I was less stressed and more optimist because I was simply waiting time to go by. And so it did. And now, a good friend of mine just had a beautiful baby, and is also searching for the luxury of sleeping…
So, what did actually work those days? I try to remember and thus encourage my friend.
- The first consolation is that you are not alone. There are many children who won’t seem to rest for long periods and don’t let their parents sleep a lot. Just talking about it and realising it, seems a good idea to me.
- It is also very important to have a routine. All the baby wants is eat,play and sleep.The new world they have entered is chaotic. A structured routine may help them be less anxious and help them expect happily what’s next.After studying 405 babies and toddlers, one study concluded that having a nightly bedtime ritual that included a bath, lotion, massage, and quiet time together afterward resulted in better sleep. The children, who enjoyed consistent bedtime routines in this study, fell asleep faster, experienced more consolidated sleep, and were less wakeful during the night. Why does this work? It’s possible that each component of these rituals worked together to engage the senses to help create memories, which cue the child for sleep night after night. (Source: Journal of Sleep).
- It goes without saying that you should choose the bedtime routine that suits you and your family program. Each family is different and has different schedules;eg it is unrealistic for me to have my children sleep at 20.00, as I work until 21.00. And of course, we are not robots. You can try to keep a strict scheduled routine, but it is not the end of the world if you deviate once in a while, because something changed your plans.
- Every age has different needs for sleeping times.The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) provides some helpful guidelines regarding just how much sleep children need at different stages in their development.
- Use the time the baby sleeps to get some sleep yourself,too. This is something that usually didn’t work in my case, because there are so many things to be done, and I always wanted some time for myself in these quiet moments.I mention it , however, because it seems logical and some may actually manage.
- Reading a book has a calming effect. I usually also use my imagination to make a story, with the same heroes every day (predictability is an asset), but with different endings (surprise effect).Our favorite hero is Brigitte, a young girl with dark hair and dark eyes, that was illustrated in a poster; we named her Brigitte, because it had a nice pronunciation (Brizzzzzit) and made the kids laugh! Now every night they wait for a story of Brigitte, and it doesn’t matter how unrealistic it may be.My daughter usually doesn’t hear the whole story, because she fells asleep. On the contrary, screen time may have the opposite effect, excite the child and keep it awake for some extra time.
In any way, you should try to organise but also simplify your life and sleep routines.Be a role model (try to sleep yourself) and have faith in yourself that it’s gonna be allright!
What other ideas would you recommend to my sleep-deprived friend?
I will be happy to hear from you in the comment section!