You may remember that Little Jacks has been taking naps on her dad while babywearing for the last 2 years. She also has slept through the night only twice since she was 4 months old. We were terrified about adding an infant to this mix, and the impact of our new addition on our already fragmented sleep.
I’m pleased to say we’ve had a number of sleep successes lately. I don’t know if there are lessons to be learned for others, but I thought I’d share in case there are tips that might help someone else!
With Jack Jack, we have practiced really good sleep hygiene from the beginning (since we’ve learned from our mistakes). We set a nap routine and a bedtime routine including bath, swaddle, bottle. When she’s drowsy (but not yet asleep), we set her in the crib with the white noise machine on and binky in her mouth. I remember when Little Jacks squirmed or grunted or fussed a little at this age, we’d go pick her up. But we’ve been better with Jack Jack and wait until she’s really declared herself awake and mad before we go intervene. What do you know? She never really gets to that point and usually ends up asleep without so much as a peep.
Here’s our current schedule for Jack Jack: morning nap from 9 to 10, afternoon nap from 1-3 and sometimes a catnap between 5:30-6 pm. Then we put her down for the night very faithfully at 7:30. Previously she was waking at 1:30 am and then again at 3:30 am. At 2.5 months we figured that she now had enough fat reserve to sleep most of the way through the night, so at 1:30 am we now go put the binky back in, pat her, restart the white noise and wait for her to fall back asleep. It’s been working like a charm! Since we started this, she happily sleeps from 7:30 pm to 3:30 am. At 3:30 she’ll take 4 ounces of formula and then sleeps again until 6:30. It’s made a huge difference in our quality of life, and I hope it continues!
Also, something miraculous happened with Little Jacks. About a month before her second birthday, she finally began tolerating being taken out of babywearing and doing the rest of her nap on the bed! She still has a really hard time falling asleep on the bed, so often we’ll wear her for the first 10 minutes of the nap and then transfer her to the bed for the rest of it. This has made a huge difference in Mr. Jacks’ quality of life and I’m so glad for it.
Another thing that really helped was a recommendation by Ms.SK . She suggested these paper black out curtains from Home Depot. As soon as I learned about them, I ran out and got 4 sets. The guy at Home Depot was very skeptical that this was the right solution for us, but we have very tricky windows. I’ve been searching for curtains that will work for our windows since we moved here. These blinds may be the only workable solution for us without investing in custom blinds. We brought them home and installed them in 10 minutes. The result is that Little Jacks’ naps have lengthened from 1 hour to up to 3 hours in duration. She’s been a happier girl and has had an improved temperament since we got them. Thank you Ms.SK!
Once LJ’s nap routine stabilized, and she got used to having Jack Jack at home, she began sleeping through the night. At first we thought it was a fluke, but it’s real… every night! I have to think that fully weaning her from nighttime breast milk has had something to do with it as well. You see, we had continued her nighttime feed until Jack Jack arrived in the hope that I could achieve a zippylef and relactate to give Jack Jack breast milk, but I never made enough to make it worthwhile (and that’s a topic for another post!). When we finally cut LJ off from that, magically her nighttime sleep consolidated.
Take heart, breastfeeding moms who have nighttime wakers. It will get better!
Have you had sleep success lately? Please share any tips and tricks in the comments!