To be honest, I’m the not the person that leapt right into motherhood with optimism. 2020 beat me down, and I was white-knuckling my way through most of those first few months of motherhood.
I was 32 years old when I married and 35 when I had my son last year. I had all those years to live for no one but myself. Going from that to a wife and mother was an adjustment to say the least.
Something as simple as getting my baby to sleep through the night did wonders for my mental health. I felt accomplished and was finally able to find time for me again.
wade through the noise on the internet
Swaddle…don’t swaddle. Get a Doc-A-Tot…do not get a Doc-A-Tot. Make sure you have a jumparoo…never buy a jumparoo! For your own sanity, do yourself a favor and don’t turn to Google for answers. Every search turns up thousands of pages. Every page will tell you to do something that the previous page told you was dangerous and neglectful.
If there’s one sure fire way to feel like you’re failing as a parent in your most vulnerable state, it’s by listening to parenting advice on this internet.
I’ll give you an example. I bought my son a crib when he grew out of his bassinet. One night, he got his foot stuck between the bars. I went online to look for a crib bumper to line the inside, and this is what I saw…
Not a single baby item exists that hasn’t been discredited or disapproved. You’ll go crazy trying to figure it out. I assure you, this is not that kind of blog. As a new mom, I would never give another mother unsolicited advice, and I am certainly in no position to judge.
Look, let’s be honest, four house plants died under my watch in less than a year before I had my child. I’m just grateful that I’ve kept him alive and overjoyed that he’s healthy. I’m no expert in childcare, but I’m an eager learner. I also was able to get my son to sleep through the night, safely, and I’m happy to share how. I hope that it helps some other parent currently desperate for sleep.
first, I tried the owlet for peace of mind
When I was pregnant and anxiety-ridden, I was sure I had to have an Owlet Smart Sock for my baby. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a tiny monitor that wraps around your baby’s foot and sends readings of baby’s vitals to your phone. It monitors heart rate, oxygen levels, etc…the important stuff.
It also has a base that you put in your room. The base will sound an alarm to wake you if the baby’s vitals dropped. It sounds great; I thought I would sleep more soundly. My internet connection had other plans.
It turns out that if the base loses its wifi connection…you guessed it…the alarm goes off. After a couple of lost connections and short-lived panic attacks, I gave the Owlet to my pregnant sister and became obsessed with safe sleep practices.
Disclaimer: This was not the fault of the Owlet. It is an amazing product! My sister has loved it. The problem was my terrible internet service (a problem that has since been remedied).
sleeping through the night starts with routine
Those first couple of weeks that we were home, routine seemed impossible. Once we were able to get our bearings, we started to remember what day it was and how it felt to be human again. At that point, we started working on a routine.
We called it BSBB:
- BATH. Every night at 7:30, we gave him a bath. Sometimes, it felt impossible. I was exhausted and just wanted to skip it, but I just felt that if I didn’t stick to the routine, all my hard work would be for naught.
- SWADDLE. I said “no thanks” to the manual swaddle and got myself a couple of Swaddle Me Baby Wraps. LIFESAVER!
- BOTTLE. We made sure to space his feedings so that we did not feed him too close to bedtime. That way we could give him a full bottle right before bed.
- BED. Into the bassinet he went, alone. No pillows, toys, or blankets.
He did not sleep straight through the night immediately, but slowly he started to wake up less and less. By the time he was three months old, he was sleeping six to eight solid hours without waking up. It was a HUGE relief.
reap all the benefits…
Nighttime routine not only helped him sleep soundly through the night, it gave me much needed alone time. I would put him to bed by 8:00 and have time to relax, watch tv uninterrupted, make myself something to eat (uninterrupted), eat (uninterrupted)…you get the point.
Ultimately, getting my child on a routine, where he was sleeping alone at the same time every night, did wonders for us both. Those few precious hours at night when I got to be Kristan, not just Zain’s mom, are still so important and beneficial for me. I would argue that every parent needs them…