How strange is sleep? When you really think about it it, it seems that after centuries of evolving to become more advanced that we would have adapted to a form that doesn’t require us to be left completely useless and unprotected for around 1/3 of our lives. But no, we need it. Every single day and it is essential to every single one of us. There are also so many mysteries about sleep that we have not solved. The record for living without sleep is 11 days. Any new mom can tell you that with a new born baby, getting only around 2 hours per night is possible. You actually get used to it.
For babies, they require anywhere from 16 to 20 hours of sleep per day! Most people who don’t have kids usually wonder how then does a mother not get any sleep? And it is because they forget about the massive prep and cleanup before and after each time the baby falls asleep and that babies naturally sleep at completely random times. As a person who loves to have a plan for my life each day, this was really hard for me as a first time mom. Not to mention that you spend most of the first few weeks just watching them sleep to make sure that they are breathing.
I love sleep, so I began to research and find out more about sleep training.
I started with tracking everything. When she slept, when and what she ate, every dirty diaper. I literally had a giant white board above her diaper table and it was always full. When one of my friends saw this, she lent me the book Save Our Sleep by Tizzie Hall. Out of all of the training plans and schedules I had found in my research, this book was my favorite. I would highly recommend it to any new moms. For those of you who have worked for me, you know my OCD style of recording everything. I have since created an excel sleep tracker to map out how much sleep and the patterns each day to help me adjust to our times away from home (with her torticollis therapy we happen to always be driving or at the hospital during naps and feeding times, so those days we still struggle with her getting her full naps) P.S. if anyone wants me to email them a copy of this to use please just lmk.
These days my 4 month old sleeps through the night for 12 hours (well to be fully honest she sometimes gets up a bit early) with no crying. She also gets at least 1 2hr nap and 1 45minute nap everyday (on average 15 hours per day of sleep). I put her down to sleep awake and alone in her crib. She never cries for more than 15 minutes and usually just quickly and quietly falls asleep. We are on a daily routine and I also sleep well. But it wasn’t always like this…
The first few weeks of sleep training your baby is soooooo difficult. If you want to know how to make a few minutes feel like hours; leave your crying baby in her crib and don’t go back in the room. Just watching the baby monitor and doing nothing makes you feel so horrible. But… this is how you learn your baby’s different cries (I’m hungry vs I am falling asleep) and how you teach them to self soothe. And eventually, she won’t cry anymore when you set her down in her crib to sleep. She will just fall asleep and stay asleep. Every day you learn more and every day it gets easier. You never lose; everyday you win or you learn. Here in Korea, sleep training is not common at all. Whenever people hear that I have sleep trained my baby, they are shocked. First they cannot believe that at 2 months she was sleeping for 12 hours uninterrupted by herself at night. And I feel proud. Like it is a mom win and they are jealous. But then I start to worry, do they judge me for being a bad mom for doing this? Do they think that leaving her to sleep alone is just lazy? Perhaps they think a mother should always rock her baby to sleep in her arms and that I am doing everything wrong. However, when I consider going back to the days of 2 hours of sleep per night, I stop caring what they think.
Writing this post has made me sleepy so I am going to get some zzz. Sweet dreams everyone.
Please comment if you are interesting in anything I say and have any questions or want to know more.