By Kelly Hodgson
So here's the thing….babies and sleep don't go together. At least not effortlessly in my experience. I'll be completely honest in saying that I underestimated what it meant to get a baby to sleep and didn't give much thought to naps before I actually had babies. And it was a rude awakening when my first child was the king of cat naps (15-45 mins max) and I was left confused, stressed and here's that 'F' word….FRUSTRATED! Aren't babies just supposed to sleep when they are tired? And for hours and hours?
When I knew we'd be talking sleep at Baby Basics as part of the Every Little Step program with Walmart Canada, I decided to take a bit of a different approach. Thankfully there are some amazing sleep consultants in Halton that I happily refer Oakville moms to but sometimes you just need to vent about something and know that others are in the same boat. Misery loves company, yes?
At yesterday's program, each mom was given a piece of paper and was asked to write what came to mind when they thought of babies and sleep. Here are the most popular words and phrases that came up:
No guessing on the dominant theme based on these results! Getting your child to become a good and consistent sleeper takes a lot of work! And I don't know that that is something we talk about enough. But like any new skill that you try to learn (for both moms and babies), you have to be forgiving of yourself along the way.
We talked openly yesterday about feeling anxiety when it comes time to put baby down for a nap or feeling tension in your shoulders when you start to head upstairs to try and get your little one down for a nap that will last more than 15 minutes. Its frustrating. Its defeating. And you can't help but wonder if you are doing something wrong. Again, go easy on yourself and take lots of deep breaths. This sleep thing is hard work and isn't something you can fix quickly. Take it one step at a time, be consistent in your methods and it will get better!
Things that worked for us were white noise, a very dark room and keeping to a routine. We gave away a Cloud B Sleep Sheep yesterday which has four different options for white noise (ocean waves was our fave). And you can find things like blackout shades and curtains at Walmart (free shipping for any online purchase!) as well as soothing lotions and comfy sleep sacs that are all great options for a bedtime routine.
I'm not a sleep expert, but I've been where you are. Thanks to all the mamas who came to Baby Basics yesterday and joined in the conversation. And if you are really struggling with sleep in your house (sleep deprivation is so tough), reach out to someone who can help.
Thank you to our sponsor, Walmart Canada and their Every Little Step program – a chance for new moms to learn about all the essential topics when it comes to babies. Walmart Canada has everything parents need and offer convenient free shipping for any purchase when shopping online.