UPDATE: SLEEP TRAINING YOUR BABY
In one of my previous Ceci Diaries, I wrote about how sleep training Mason completely changed my new-mom life. (Those of you who missed it can get the details here.) Well, I’ve been very diligent about sticking to the schedule, and today I am happy to report that Mason is a fantastic little sleeper! I promised I would update you as I go, so here's the latest:
We followed this schedule until I started introducing solids at about 6 months. Now that he's getting older, the awake times are extended to 2-2.5 hours maximum (instead of one hour only). So our days look like this.
7:30am - wake up for the day + playtime + eat breakfast + bottle 9:30am - back in crib for naptime (the naps should be anywhere from 1-3 hours - wake up your baby if he or she is sleeping more than 3 hours)
12:00pm - wake up + playtime + eat lunch + bottle 2:00pm - back in crib for naptime
4:30pm - wake up + playtime + snack
6:30pm - start evening bedtime ritual 6:30pm - eat dinner 7:00pm - bath then PJs 7:15pm - sing lullaby/read book + bottle 7:25pm - back in crib for the night 7:30pm - asleep for the entire night
Tip 1: VARYING MORNING WAKE UP TIME It's important to know that the schedule is not always perfect. Sometimes Mason wakes up on the earlier side. If it's any time after 6:30am, I'll make an exception and go in and get him. However, if it's any earlier than that, I DO NOT go in. I read that babies have internal clocks that go off at 5am. I've also heard that if you allow the 5am wake up time, they will get into the habit and wake up that early every day! That's not happening in my house. So what I do is ignore him talking in his crib. He eventually rolls over with his lovey and snoozes for a little bit longer! Of course, if you prefer to start your days that early, then go in to get your baby.
Tip 2: GET A LOVEY A lovey is essentially a little blanket with a stuffed animal head attached to it. It is your baby's "sleep buddy" and is VERY IMPORTANT! Introduce it to your baby at 3 months. Only give it to your baby to snuggle when it's time to sleep. If you use it outside the crib, the lovey loses its magic powers.
Tip 3: GET 3 LOVEYS It's always best to have a backup so I recommend buying three of the same loveys. Angel Dear caught on and now packages them in groups of three, and they come in over 30 different designs. Having more than one is key when one is in the wash or if you happen to lose one. This way you're covered - and your baby will never know the difference.
Now Mason is so trained that when he sees his lovey, which we affectionately call “Ellie,” he knows it’s bedtime. He snuggles up to Ellie and immediately falls asleep. I can tell Ellie is important because it’s in Mason’s arms throughout the night. It’s very cute. And from where I sit, it’s the smartest tool to help your baby sleep. Special thanks to my best friend who showed me the way. Hope this helps you, too!