One thing I learned about being a first-time mom is that sleep training a baby is challenging – especially when your little one doesn’t sleep at night.
When they say that babies don’t have a true schedule to follow by, you better believe it! With my baby at 3 months old, my current routine was making me exhausted and I was operating on 3 hours of sleep.
My little one was napping during the day and staying up during the night.
Most days, I would wake up feeling like a zombie and it was taking a toll on my physical and mental health.
It also doesn’t help that I was on maternity leave, which means that I will eventually return to my 8-5 work schedule within a few weeks.
I knew that if I didn’t fix this routine fast, I’d be in deep trouble!
Therefore, I did the only thing I can think of – that is to change my daughter’s sleep schedule.
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I came up with a few goals and first focused on my baby’s environment: noise and light.
I knew that I needed to reverse my daughter’s night time and day time by setting the perfect sleep environment.
Goal #1: Shorten my daughter’s midday naps
- Talk to her during her naps
- Touch her cheeks
- Keep the bedroom door open during nap time so that she can hear any background noise going on outside the room
- Have her sleep in a room where there was a lot of light, whether it was using a lamp or window, I wanted to my little one to differentiate the brightness between nighttime and daytime.
For the first two days, I tried to shorten my daughter’s midday naps by exposing my daughter to more noise and light during the day.
The best way for me to do this was to slowly transform the schedule by talking to my daughter during her naps, touching her cheeks, exposing her to more light, and trying to wake her up.
Sadly, my daughter didn’t give in during the first two days.
No matter how many times I tried to wake her up, she’d go back to sleep as if she didn’t hear me.
So I came up with another goal.
Goal #2: Have her sleep around 9 p.m – 10 p.m.
The previous goal focused on day time activity.
This time, this goal will include her night time activity. I wanted to have her sleep no later than 10 p.m!
- Change her bath time
- Feed my little one right after her bath
- Set the mood in the bedroom
The first thing I did was to change her bath time.
I normally give my little one a bath around 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. but I realized that if I try to change her bath time to one certain time, it may help her feel fresh and clean.
Her new bath time was now 9 p.m.
The second thing I did was immediately feed my little one right after her bath.
This will help her understand that once she is done bathing, it is time to eat and sleep!
By swaddling her with a receiving blanket and loosely wrapping her in this super soft blanket I use, I figured she’ll be able to sleep better.
The third thing I did was to set the mood.
I made sure there was dim lighting by using this amazing Himalayan lamp I purchased. I also tried to keep the noise to a minimum. I wanted my little one to understand that dark time means sleeping time and quietness.
When I implemented this plan on day 3, I saw little results but as we moved on to day 4 and 5, my daughter finally followed through!
I was beginning to get my 8-hour sleep and I was also more energized by the time I woke up.
Ever since this change, my little one has been keeping up with this routine until today.
Occasionally, my daughter’s sleep routine would be interrupted by late family nights or gatherings but resuming to the same routine the next day helped her understand that we were back to consistency.
What I learned
Although the first few days were a challenge, I learned that there were three things you must invest in to change your baby’s sleep schedule: time, effort, and consistency.
One thing about time is that you have to be patient and trust that over a period of time, your baby’s schedule will eventually change.
If you remember the proverb, “Patience is a virtue,” then this is the perfect moment to embrace and practice it.
Of course, without putting in effort, you wouldn’t be able to attain results.
Come up with a goal plan or draw out some ideas that you think can change your baby’s sleep schedule. Grab a pen and paper and start brainstorming.
Think about goals and think about ways to attain that goal.
Last but not least, consistency is the key. You can’t expect your little one to follow your schedule only because you invested one day.
You have to consistently do it for one week. Two weeks. And three weeks if needed!
Do it repetitively until he or she can understand that this is a routine and not a “one-time” thing.
Before you know it, your baby will be following your schedule so you can have a more healthier lifestyle.
Keep in mind that this plan is not meant as professional advice for you and your baby as it is based on my personal experience only. For any concerns, please contact a health professional or your baby’s pediatrician for details.
Oh, and one more thing.
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