After raising two kiddos and the oldest of which is four, I have several sleep tips and tricks I culled through two very different sleepers. I have read and tried just about every sleep “training” method out there, especially with little lady #1. She was to put it mildly, a difficult sleeper. In fact, she just didn’t like to sleep. And the terrible thing was, I did (and so did my husband). So we whispered, 12-houred, no-cried, healthy-habited and tried to make our gal the happiest baby on the block. Beyond giving her a bad case of sleeping-baby ADD, we just figured “she’s not a sleeper” and did what worked for whatever period of time it worked. As long as she didn’t come out of that room until 7 a.m. or after at least 1 hour of daytime “rest” time, we were at peace. Little lady #2 was very different from #1. She liked and still likes to sleep. God bless her. She knew mommy needed some sanity after getting #1 hip to the ways of sleep euphoria. So here are some of the tried-and-true tips and tricks I learned along the way:
- Some kids aren’t co-sleepersbeyond those first couple of months. Mine weren’t. I really wasn’t. BUT my saving grace the first 3-4 months of my little lady’s lives: First Years Close and Secure Sleeper. Loved it and still give it as my baby gift of choice.
- Swaddle. I swaddled my kiddos until they were both 5 months old. Then I moved them into sleep positioners to give them that security of a swaddle. I love the swaddle. I wanted to be swaddled just looking at how peaceful and comfortable they both were when the were swaddled (correctly, might I add, as it can be done so wrong). The swaddle allowed me to take them on many trips and visits without having a fussy, sleepy baby. Once either one of my little ones was swaddled, peace ensued. This took me a while to discover with #1, but I was on it for #2. I also tried many, many, many different swaddles. The one that was the most successful for me was The Miracle Blanket. It was the only one I could do quickly and they didn’t bust out of. I even safety pinned it in the front because my tucking skills weren’t all that (not that I recommend this for ANYONE else; it’s just what I did).
- Noise machines are the bomb. In a tiny NYC apartment, it allowed us to have PARTIES (oh yea!). And when we were on the move, it allowed for the little ladies to feel a sense of comfort hearing the whooshing, roaring, crashing (however they interpret it) from home. We use an air purifier. Fits the bill as a white noise maker as well as cleans the air- score! But if you notice, the air purifier was a bit big to travel with (although it does make car rides… sometimes) and needs an outlet. So we downloaded an app for our iTouch that has white noise. It was free and it’s crazily called “White Noise Lite“. Pair that with a set of travel speakers for your iTouch and you’re golden!
- Pacifiers were a gift that never quit giving. Day one is when they started using them (didn’t interfere with breastfeeding at all) and they stopped around age 2. At anytime if they needed soothing at an early age, they got them. Then they were relegated only to the bed. Little lady #1 called her’s “night, night” and little lady #2 called her’s “sleep”. Ironically enough, they both used Nuks. Tried every brand out there. That’s what they liked.
- Routine was key. We hardly ever varied and when we did with #1, there was hell to pay. We start around 1.5 hours before desired bedtime (still is 6:30 for both my girls) and wind down with dinner, bath, stories, singing, and out. As discussed before, #1 is a pretty tough customer, so varying in anyway was out of the question. She will correct you now if you do. #2 is a bit more relaxed, but we keep it up for consistency sake.
- Blackout shades, curtains, and black trash bags with painters tape. I use them all in my house now. Never underestimate the power of a dark room. If you are traveling and can’t guarantee a dark room, take a roll of black trash bags and painters tape with you. It is light weight and will black out any and everything.
- Doorknob covers for the inside AND outside of the kiddo’s door. When switching to a toddler bed, my little lady #1 didn’t get out of the bed for months and months. Then she did and we just closed her door. End of story. If she wanted to keep her door open, she had to stay in bed. If she didn’t, door got closed. It worked save a few illnesses and potty training. Little lady #2 figured out how to open door knobs very young and she had the help of an older sister to open the door if she couldn’t (they don’t share a room, but do have doors right across the hall from each other). So on went the doorknob cover for the inside of the door. Door had to stay shut since she liked to wander a bit before settling down. Hey, whatever works. She’s in her room, “resting”. But little lady #1 felt like visiting during these rest times and was much obliged to open the door from the outside. So on went a doorknob cover from the outside too. Worked like a charm.
So as far as tips and tricks that worked most of the time, these are the best I’ve come up with. What about you? Do you use any of the products I use/used? Have you had success with something else? Do you have any other tips and products that worked really well for you?
Share and you can win a a fancy, new-to-the-market swaddle (called a snooze wrap plus) from sootheTIME. They definitely didn’t have this suped-up version of a swaddle when my girls were little. This thing has a head rest, a tummy soother, and adjusts as the baby grows. Pretty cool, as I got to check it out as my friend, Maria, holds it (not a real baby;) We will select a winner next Wednesday, July 14 at midnight. So be sure to share your tips if you’d like to try out this cool product!