Okay, back to the sleeping thing..... Mama's, I feel like this is the one thing I literally cannot figure out! I'm so convinced that my girl has these "issues" with sleep because I barely slept when I was pregnant. Is that a thing? Once I think I've got it down, she surprises me with another change. Here are the biggest things we have problems with in chronological order....
1. Falling asleep at night - My girl doesn't like to go to bed... for awhile I was able to lay her down and she would go straight to sleep (that came from a lot of hard work and my own version of sleep training). Now, she needs me in the room, rubbing her back or simply just having my hand on her. The most recent issue is that she is so tired she is restless. I mean restless to the point where she literally cannot lay still. She is up and down, tossing and turning and even at some points babbling on and laughing about who knows what. Of course, I feel like all of this is my fault!
2. Early wake up times - Since I am a working Mama, I have to get her up around 5:45 am in the morning. Her bedtime is typically between 8:00 pm and 8:30 pm. So I don't think she is getting adequate sleep at night. According to the American Pediatric Association, a baby her age still needs about 11 hours of sleep at night and 14 hours per day. She is getting between 9-10 hours at night. So, obviously this isn't enough. I have tried my best to get bedtime earlier but it seems nearly impossible! I have recently began doing things 10 minutes earlier but it can be hard on my work days to implement this early bedtime.
3. The 2 nap thing - This is the most confusing thing for me! Here's the thing, I know how important sleep is for babies and toddlers. I used to think that when a baby or child is sleepy, they just go to sleep. Ha! Boy was I wrong! Johanna does not like to miss out on anything and will stay awake as long as she can even if that means she doesn't nap. I know at some point babies go from 3 naps to 2 naps to 1 nap. I thought that we were at 1 nap but in the recent weeks, I've found that she gets really tired around the 4:00 hour. She naps at daycare around noon but at home she's ready for a nap at 10:30 am. I've attempted to keep her awake until noon but more than not I am unsuccessful. If she misses her "sleep window," there is hell to pay. Don't get me wrong 95% of the time she is a sweet gal but when she is tired.... well not so much! It is hard to figure out these nap things and what is healthiest for her! The APA says that a child will still take 2 naps until the age of 18 months. Usually, they are 2 hour long naps which will change into 1 three hour nap. So why doesn't my daughter do what the APA is saying she should be doing?!
Okay, my three biggest challenges are listed above. I've done all the research but I'm not finding that it's working for us. This has literally been a challenge since she was born. I know that I can function off of no sleep and I will be just fine but Johanna needs her sleep so that her development continues in a healthy way. And really, who wants an overtired and cranky baby? No one, right? I say it all the time that all I want for my girl is for her to be happy. That includes throughout the day when she's at daycare and when she's with me doing simple daily tasks.
Now, my next point is that I don't mind catering to her sleep habits or lack there of all day long or throughout the night. I just saw a post about parenting through the night. Meaning, when your baby has needs at night you should tend to those needs and not ignore them. I completely agree with this and I do that! She does sleep through the night which I can't complain about at all! I actually am very proud about this because it wasn't until about 10 months old that she started doing this. I want to include some tips for you guys in case you're having the same issues we are! Some of them are from me and some are from the American Pediatric Association.
- follow a nightly bedtime routine - Research shows that children do much better at night with a routine. Our routine is bath, book, bottle, bed. Recently, our routine includes me sitting on the floor with my hand in the crib, rubbing her back. That's fine!
- stick to a consistent daily routine including nap time and bedtime - This one is something we have worked at every single day. I won't lie, it's really hard to do this for a working Mama. We are pretty consistent but some days are a little challenging. I do notice that the more consistent we are the better her sleeping is!
- make sure your baby can fall asleep on their own - Ha! Yeah! This one we have not mastered yet. We are back and forth for weeks at a time. For a few weeks, she is able to go to sleep on her own then she is back to needing me. I love that she needs me, I really do. This could be a potential downfall because I love to hold her at night. Snuggling with her makes us both feel great, right? This is completely my fault, I know it. One day, she won't want to snuggle with me anymore so I try my best to get in all the cuddles that I can!
Okay, Mama's! Do you have any advice for me?! I'd love to hear it! One day, we will get this down. For now, I try to be the best Mama I can be for her and I know there will always be things that are the way they are and can't necessarily be "fixed." Some things you will have to just settle on or work around and this is fine! Again, I just want my girl to be happy!
Remember, no matter what, you're doing great Mama's!