I don’t claim to be a sleep expert, but I do have a great mom hack for the process of getting the baby to sleep!
I love sleeping. A lot. Making sure my daughter was given every opportunity to sleep well was high on my parenting list of Things To Do. So high, that I invested $50 in sleeping early on and have never regretted it for a minute!
I knew I wasn’t ever going to be the cry it out parent (i tried it once for like 7 minutes and it was the worst thing ever for me). I also knew I wasn’t going to be the cosleeping, rock-you-to-sleep-every-night parent (actually never even tried it). But I knew there had to be a middle ground: a sleep-training parent that I could be!
I learned a ton from researching online, the sleep course I purchased, and from observing my baby. Armed with all this knowledge, baby sleep training began at about four and half months (you know, when baby starts actually waking up from the womb).
My plan was to gently help daughter learn how to put herself to sleep. This meant some rocking til drowsy. Then putting in her little bed for a tuck in and popping out the door. BUT, if she started crying I gave her just a minute or two of low-level crying/fussing (and less than twenty seconds of high-level sadness–I really couldn’t do it). Then, I’d go back in and start comforting again until she was able to fall asleep on her own.
People, this was a process.
When I write it down it doesn’t seem like much, but the first several nights this took close to an hour or more. And I was going a bit crazy. It was hard for me to just sit and rock with my mind going all “is this ever going to work?!” Also, the rubbing of the back to get close to sleep…I kept stopping way too soon and having to start all over again.
Enter: My Best Mom Hack.
Listen to podcasts while sleep training your child.
Okay, I realize this is not rocket science! But it has saved my sanity through this process. I’ve logged hours and hours of podcasts and daughter is a great little sleeper.
When she was just a wee one I’d pop my earbuds in and rock and shush all while getting caught up on Sorta Awesome, my favorite podcast. I’d get some mom-support from listening to Coffee + Crumbs while rubbing her back seemingly endlessly. And I mustered up patience to keep going back in again and again while getting great parenting tips from Unruffled.
Listening to podcasts also saved me during all the random sleep disturbances that come up through early childhood: illnesses, teething, growing pains, the I-don’t-need-to-nap phases. I’d just put my headphones on and calmly rub her back til she could sleep. This has become an engrained habit for both of us–in fact, when my daughter sees me with my headphones on now, she asks “nap?” (i suppose most kids might assume their mother was going to the gym, but no worries about that in this house).
This mom hack is really just a distraction to get through something rather difficult about childhood. I like to think about something else so I don’t get so focused on my child crying because she doesn’t want to learn how to sleep. But at the same time, it also felt like a team of women on my side, whispering through the earbuds: “you can do hard things!”
What are your best mom hacks? Do you ever use this mom hack to get your babes to bed?