My daughters sleep at 8 and here’s how I developed their routine!
I stopped looking at parenting books and honestly, stopped thinking that it is normal for babies to stay up so late. I decided I would try my own ways and see what happened.
One of the first things that almost all mothers bond together about is how late their kids go to sleep and how much they try to make them sleep early, but always fail.
‘’Meri beti to raat ko ek bajey soti hai, wo bhi bohot mushkil se.’’
‘’I don’t know what else I can try, they just don’t sleep on time ever, and I am tired of trying anymore.’’
‘’Bas khelne mein busy rehta hai raat ke do bajey bhi!’’
These are some of the most common sentences I have heard over the years since I became a mum. In fact, now that I remember, I used to hear this from young mothers who knew I was pregnant. ‘’Abhi so lo jitna sona hai, after delivery the baby will barely sleep at night.’’
Of course, I was petrified, and like almost all new moms, the first year after my first daughter’s birth was terrifying and super exhausting for me. I never realized when it was day and when it was night. The little one was awake at odd hours, sometimes she would sleep a bit in the day, and she slept for far lesser time than it took me to put her to sleep.
So, if I spent about an hour or so to try and put her to sleep, she would only sleep for maybe 30 minutes, then wake up again! And the cycle would continue. For the first year she took few naps in the day, but as it turned evening, she would become more active and be super awake once it was night.
By then I was already dead and ready to faint, but she would be in no mood to even rest a little. So it was that she would be awake till at least 1 or 2 at night, and then again wake up by 6.
So, when I was pregnant the second time, the one thing I was very sure about was that I would ensure the same sleep issues did not happen again. I stopped looking at parenting books and honestly, stopped thinking that it is normal for babies to stay up so late. I decided I would try my own ways and see what happened.
For the first 4 months, I decided to take it easy. In any case, my younger one was extremely colicky and the last thing I had on my mind then was to put her to sleep, when I was already so stressed with her pain, discomfort and crying. Once she was 5 months, her colic started improving and I realized it was time to start a sleep routine.
My elder one was 6 years old when the second baby was born, and as she was going to school, she would sleep with her father while I slept with the baby. I first dedicated time to put my elder one in a routine. So, I made sure that if she took a nap in the day, it was not more than an hour. I also made sure she had a lot of play time, so that she got enough physical activity and got tired.
Dinner would be ready by 6:30 and I made sure that by 7, she could eat her food. Around 7:15 she had a small glass of milk, and then, she would come and sit with me and the baby, and read a few stories with me. After this, she would be in bed by 7:30, with all lights off and her father lying down next to her. Initially, she would stay awake till about 9 or 9:30 but still be in bed.
She asked if she could get up, but her father would tell her that it was sleep time and we all were resting. It took a lot of effort for my husband to not just get up and tell her to do what she wanted, or for him too to get up and do something else (he definitely used to get bored just lying down quietly).
At my end, I would give the baby a bath around 6 and from then on speak to her softly, massage her and also keep patting her head and back. Once my elder one would go to sleep, I would feed the baby and then put her in bed, and lie down next to her.
If she wanted to nurse, I would do so lying down, and just not get up. Both my husband and I stopped keeping the phone in our rooms, so that it would not divert the kids. Initially, the baby would not sleep till very late, and even if she did, she would wake up many times. But gradually, as she started reaching the 8th month, she started sleeping for longer hours, and woke up far less.
Today, my daughters are 4 and 10. The elder one has her dinner by 7 and is in bed and off to sleep by 8. If we are not home, she finds it difficult to stay awake. She has stopped taking afternoon naps though.
The younger one also does not take an afternoon nap and has her dinner by 6. Most days, she is asleep by 6:30, or latest by 7.
Both the kids do not wake up in their sleep anymore and only wake up in the morning at 6:30 am.
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