AHHHHHHH.....For me, this was the first time that I didn't give my babies what they wanted.
Truth: It was AWFUL.
Around the time baby is 3- 6 months old, many medical professionals and child development specialists say that it is time for baby to have healthy sleep habits. At this age, most baby's do not require to be fed every few hours though out the night. A 3 month old baby should be able to sleep five hours at a time. A 6 month old baby should be able to sleep 9-12 hour stretches.
Sleepless nights are expected for new parents.
But, lets be honest, by this time in the game-parents are EXHAUSTED!
I was READY for a full-nights sleep!
I had dark circles under my eyes. I was drinking 2-3 cups of coffee a day PLUS 1-2 sodas. I needed clothes pins to keep my eyes open throughout the day.
Many parents (I did this!) still rock, nurse, or sing baby to sleep at 6-9 months. Both parent and baby enjoy this bonding time. However, baby learns to expect this in order to fall asleep and as baby wakes in the middle of the night he will cry because he feels helpless.
You do not have to eliminate night time routine! Night time routines are very important. You can nurse and rock baby before bed. BUT, put baby in crib while baby is still drowsy. The last thing baby should see before he falls asleep is his mattress, not his parent. This way, when baby wakes up in the middle of the night he is not looking around for mommy or daddy. You want baby to see the same thing he saw when he fell to sleep and he will have an easier time putting himself back to sleep.
Getting your baby to sleep through the night is NOT an easy task. It is very emotional for parents. You are allowing your baby to cry for the first time without comforting him. You are making a conscious decision to allow your baby to be upset.
KEEP PERSPECTIVE: Developing healthy sleep habits is worth it. It is not a measure of your parenting skills. You are giving your baby something invaluable...you are helping them learn to sleep.
Tomorrow we will talk about the Do's and Don'ts of developing healthy sleep habits and Ashley W's personal story of how she got her kids to be AMAZING sleepers....(this will give you hope!)