Among the 3 of us, it is us the parents who had/have very bad sleep habits that needed to be changed for Nat’s sake.
During his NB (newborn) stage, it didn’t matter when we slept because Nat would just be feeding and then sleeping most of the time. So our “night owl” habits could still happen.
Then came the period after the confinement nanny left, HJ would struggle every night to put Nat to bed because he was just so awake at 9/10pm. That was when we had to figure a way to help Nat differentiate between day and night because at 4-5 weeks, babies are still not attuned to the concept of day vs night.
- Exposing him to natural light during the day vs. keeping the curtains drawn (which is what I like to do)
- Wind down and wash him up immediately after dinner (8pm), which apparently is not early enough so we have shifted it forward to 7pm (though this does not happen everyday, mostly weekdays)
- Maintain a consistent bedtime routine that is favorable for sleeping early i.e not having loud sounds and bright lights switched on (this was and still is tough because we are both night owls that only start doing our things after 8pm!)
- Adopt consistent bedtime cues such as praying with Nat and playing his Disney piano classics that gets him into snooze-land almost every time
The above coupled with the eat/wake/sleep routine in the day somehow enabled Nat to sleep by 930pm after the 6th week. There were no more nightly struggles from 10pm to 12am!
Then from last week we experimented with waking Nat up for his first feed every morning at 630am, though in reality it would happen around 645am.
We also tried shifting his bedtime routine earlier so instead of washing him up at 8pm after his evening nap, we figured why not wash up after his evening feed then just let him nap/sleep in PJs after that. So even if he wakes up at 830/9pm for a feed, he can go back to sleep after that and not be disrupted by us washing him up. The only time it succeeded was yesterday because we came back by 7pm. Realistically for us, I think washing up by 7pm can only happen when we’re not out for dinner and mostly on weekdays.
After all the above was said and done, there was one thing left to do —- sleep train Nat to snooze in the crib in his own room because for the past month, he’s able to sleep in the following places:
- His basket/rocker during the afternoon when I’m at the dining area doing my stuff
- Our bed for the 2nd afternoon nap when he finds it harder to fall asleep on his own in his basket/rocker
- The travel cot next to our bed at night (we co-sleep) in the same room at night for ease of looking out for him because I’m a very heavy sleeper haha
- My mum’s bed (in the day) and sofa (in the evenings) when we bring him over for her to babysit at least 1x a week
But…… we have stopped letting him sleep in the crib in his room ever since the nanny left – we have come to use it more as a diaper changing station!
So for the past 3 days, after the first morning feed and after his diaper change, we left him in the crib to snooze. I felt that the morning naps were the easiest to get him used to his crib because he is the drowsiest in the mornings.
Completing our mission to help Nat be able to nap/sleep at as many places possible! This is so that we are not really restricted to any one spot and going forward, making our babysitting arrangements whenever he goes to our parent’s place easier.