5 Things Nobody Told You About Bedtime with a Baby

For adults, bed time is easy. You turn off the light, put your head on the pillow, close your eyes… and that’s it. Babies on the other hand have an entirely different set of finicky, ridiculous rules about bedtime. Oh,and the best part? Every baby is different, and they can’t talk to tell you what you’re doing wrong. So have fun with that one. Here are six things nobody tells you about putting baby to sleep.

1. Don’t linger. Do not stand over your baby, do not make eye contact, do not sit and gawk and stare at how precious they are. Put your baby down, turn on their little music thing, and turn and run. In my experience, if I stay in the room, my baby will lose her mind. I can almost hear her screaming at me “DAD WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME.” So, no, I don’t stay around. Once I have left the room, she will calm herself down and go to sleep.

2. Let them cry a little. It took me a long time to be okay with doing this, because the sound of my baby crying used to utterly destroy me. But I’ve learned that it is completely okay for little lady to cry for a couple minutes before falling asleep. She isn’t in pain, she isn’t uncomfortable, she will be just fine. A few minutes of tears doesn’t hurt.

3. If they wake up, wait and see if they go back to sleep. Having the “knight in shining armor” mentality can really suck sometimes. It’s so easy to want to rush to your baby’s side, and when you hear that they are awake, it’s no different. But please, I urge you, just wait. Give it just a couple minutes, see if they put themselves back to sleep. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, you have saved yourself some trouble and have encouraged your kid to do something for themselves without depending on you.

4. It’s probably going to take more than one try. Sometimes, my princess will fall asleep on the couch, I’ll carry her up to her crib and put he down without her eyes ever opening, and she’ll sleep for six hours. Other times, if you breathe on her wrong, she’ll wake up screaming. That’s just the way it goes. Putting a baby to sleep can sometimes be a brutal task that takes multiple tries, so stay patient and you’ll be fine. Just be prepared for the battle. Don’t give an inch or that tiny person will take a mile.

5. Pick them up only if necessary. Now, I’m not saying never pick up your baby. After all, they’re just babies. Sometimes they need to be held. But if they are just a little cranky and don’t want to go to sleep, they don’t always need for you to pick them up and coddle them to sleep. It’s my experience that this actually makes things worse in the long run, and causes them to basically use you as a pacifier. You really don’t want your baby to be dependent on you for them to fall asleep.

As much as you wish and hope they your lovely little peanut will just go to sleep, know that it is perfectly acceptable if it is a chore to get them to bed. Do the best you can, set expectations, follow through, and …. that’s about all you do. Good luck!

Do you have any tips for bed time? Please share them in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “5 Things Nobody Told You About Bedtime with a Baby

  1. wifeandmotherinoneday says:

    YES to ALL of these! I learned after one time of not following each of these rules- to just follow the dang rule. LOL Totally agree- put them down, make the musical thing play, turn and run out the door. You hear a cry- you wait….no matter what. I have found going in and trying to soothe him makes it a million times worse. As far as advice- I feel like you really covered it all. Be consistent and remember that not every night will be the same. I feel like this first year we get a good 2 weeks of good “routine” sleep and then it’s a total crap shoot for another 2 weeks. It is what it is. To get Elliot ready for bed we read him “The Going to Bed Book” it settles him and he knows what’s up- thankfully he’s been able to fall asleep with or with out it, but it’s nice to have a little bed time routine when possible 🙂 Sounds like you’re doing a great job!!!!

    • jcw0623 says:

      Hey there, friend! So glad you agree. Isn’t it funny how contradicting it is to feel like we should run in and coddle them, yet knowing this makes it worse? So funny. You hit it on the head – it’s always a crap shoot. Between growing, teething, illnesses, etc., there is no such thing as consistency. We just do what we can. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!! Oh hey, I would love for you to follow along on my writer’s facebook page as well at facebook.com/findingfatherhood. 🙂 Hope you’re well!

  2. Jonathan says:

    Great set of tips. I’ve started to do bedtimes a lot more over the last few months with our two year old son, which has been a bit of a challenge as my wife normally feeds him to sleep. What works for me is often not putting him straight into bed if he’s tired. I generally put him in a sling, sing to him and walk around for a bed until he nods off. If he’s really fast asleep, it’s normally pretty easy to get him out of the sling and into bed without waking him.

    • jcw0623 says:

      That’s a great suggestion! Music definitely helps my little girl in a big way. I need to broaden her musical exposure for bedtime.

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