It's 2 a.m. You hear your baby cry. You immediately spring up out of bed, excited to spend this precious time with your little one. Who needs sleep anyway? You go in their room, hold them, feed them, cuddle them for a few more moments, and put them back to sleep. You are excited and anxious to do this again at 4 a.m.
Does this describe you? OF COURSE NOT. Who LIKES to get woken up several times a night by screams? If you do, by all means, ignore this article. Enjoy being awake when you should be sleeping (and your child for that matter). I, however, like my sleep. I need a solid 8 hours to function like a normal human being, to be a good mother, and to be the woman my husband married (not some zombie he is worried about getting bit by). I imagine your nights are more like this: It's 2 a.m. You hear your baby cry. You think of all the things you could do to make your baby stop crying while never having to get out of bed.
Am I right? What's worse is... you've been doing this for a YEAR? 12 or more months?! 365 days plus? Didn't I just tell you I need 8 hours of sleep? I'm pretty sure you do too. So let's nip this in the bud right now. Follow these instructions and I promise you that you will be getting those beautiful 8 hours of sleep in 3 days or less. If they seem a little harsh to you, try and remember what it feels like to get sleep. You probably can't so let me remind you. It's really, really glorious. Your body is so grateful you actually let it rest before tackling every minute of the next 24 hours. You'll wake up feeling like the supermom you actually are, instead of wondering how to continue being supermom when you haven't slept in a year. Trust me.
- Is your child still sleeping in your room? Stop it. Co-sleeping is done. There is no reason your toddler needs to sleep with you. Get that kid in their own bed in their own room. Two Sidenotes: Does your child share a room with another kid? For the next steps, have the other child sleep in a different room for three days or less. Also, if you're worried about SIDS still, purchase a breathing monitor. These monitors will give you enough sanity to sleep peacefully.
- Know the difference between your child's cries. Whining crying is much different than "I actually need help, I'm bleeding to death" crying. You know what I'm talking about, don't you? And I bet you that every night your
baby toddler wakes up and cries... it's not the "I actually need help" cry. IF that is the cry you're hearing, I'll write an article just for you.
- If this is the whining cry (I suspect it is), turn off the sound on your baby monitor. If your child ACTUALLY needs you, you will wake up and rescue them without the sounds of their cries right next to your ear. You, as a woman, are programmed to hear them from another country. You WILL wake up. If your baby is just whining and will go right back to sleep without your assistance, you won't hear it. If you do... because you're just THAT in tune with your baby, then go on to number 4.
- This is where I tell you, let that kid cry. This is not "crying it out." You don't need to call your mom and tell her that some lady wrote that you should let your kid cry it out and you completely disapprove. No, no. This is a very healthy, learn-that-you-need-to-stop-whining-for-mom-in-the-middle-of-the-night approach. Have you ever decided to break a bad habit you have? Well, think of this as breaking VERY BAD habits. It's NECESSARY. Before you go to bed, decide on an amount of time that you feel comfortable with to let your child
cry whine. I say, give it at least ten minutes, and you decide what's too long. Most likely, you won't even get to ten minutes. Because toddlers do NOT need you in the middle of the night. You created this need, and they know they get you all to themselves in the middle of the night. So stop it. If you just can't handle hearing your baby cry AT ALL, sleep far away - downstairs, in the basement, maybe even in the garage, and let your husband handle any NECESSARY crying. Your baby wants you in the middle of the night. Not usually dad. Let dad take this one for a little bit AKA go get some much needed sleep!
- Now, have you gotten to number 5 and just can't do any of the four steps above? Then read this very, very carefully. GO ON VACATION. Let your husband take the kids for three days. Your baby will be sleeping through the night when you get home. Because, believe me, he's not going to get up for a whining baby.
And remember...these three nights (or less) are only a few nights in the big scheme of things. Love yourself. Get some sleep. Oh, and did I mention? When your child sleeps all the way through the night, they'll be a much better version of themselves.
Sleep tight my friends,