Ah, the parenting dream: getting your baby to sleep through the night! I am going to be posting a list of tips to help you get your baby to sleep through the night soon. Be sure to subscribe with the form to the right so you’ll know when it’s up! For now, here’s the one big change that got us over the edge and got William to sleep through the night.
How we finally got him to sleep through the night
At our old house, William’s bedroom was at the front of the house and our room was at the very back. We didn’t feel comfortable having him so far away at night, so he stayed in a pack-n-play in our room the entire time we lived there – and he was 13 months old when we moved. He rarely – I mean extremely rarely, if ever – was able to sleep through the night while we lived there. When we moved to our new house (the first one that was really “our” house, not renting – yay!) we moved William to his brand new room as soon as we moved in. Instantly he was able to sleep through the night!
I still remember the morning I asked my wife, “how many times was he up last night?”
“…none!” she replied.
Man, what a good feeling. Neither of us had woken up with him! From that point on he has slept through the night 99% of the time we are home. Of course he still has his off nights, where he gets up once or twice, but usually we can just give him a bottle and he’ll put himself back to sleep. I can’t really fault him for that though, I’ve woken up so hungry that I had to get a midnight snack too!
Now when I say we get him to “sleep through the night,” I don’t mean the 6 hours that experts deem “sleeping through the night.” Let’s face it, night isn’t just 6 hours and most of us want to sleep more than that, right? William’s bedtime is 9pm and he’s usually in bed pretty darn close to that. We get him ready, give him a bottle and lay him in his crib. He drinks for a bit and then passes right out most nights. For sake of this post, let’s say he’s usually asleep by 9:30. He then wakes up the next morning between 9 and 11 most days (yes, a two-hour window is a bit much, but I don’t want to force him to wake up if he’s extra tired). Let’s call that an average of being up by 10am. That means William really does sleep through the night – that’s 12 and a half hours! Talk about a good night sleep. Well… until we had our second child, Alexis. There goes sleep for the parents, but at least he’s getting a good night’s sleep lol.
The enemy of sleeping through the night: travel
Of course, he doesn’t always sleep through the night in new situations, but that’s normal. There are full-grown adults who have trouble sleeping in new places. When we travel (and we just traveled A LOT over the holidays) there are two different sleeping situations we find ourselves in.
1. The family bedroom
I’m sure you gleaned from the title, but situation one is when all four of us share a room. William can see sissy and he can see mommy and daddy. Most places we stay when we travel (hotels, brother in-law’s, my parents’) are this situation and I’d be willing to bet most of you have the same experience.
Since the trick that got him to finally sleep through the night was giving him his own room, we knew going into this that it was going to be a struggle. When William went to bed before us or napped while we were doing other things, we had no problems getting him to sleep. You know, because it was effectively his own room. But once we all went to bed, it was a different story.
Lexi (6 weeks at the time) would wake up crying like newborns do and that in turn woke William up, who also cried. So when our newborn got up 3-4 times in a night, so did William. Even without the crying, sometimes William, during the normal half-awake moments when he’d usually just go back to sleep, would see mommy, daddy or sissy and want to be picked up. There’s all sorts of loved ones around and he wanted to spend time with us. Forget sleep, he wanted to cuddle and play! Little man needs separation for his own sake and ours… which brings me to situation 2…
2. William gets his own room
This is a rare and precious commodity.
At my in-laws’ house, they have a spare bedroom and a crib ready for us when we arrive. They give William his own little room where can take his daily nap and sleep through the night. This situation is very much like being at home, since he’s in his own space cut off from everyone else, in a crib and we simply watch him with a baby monitor. The room is peaceful, he can stretch out, and he usually has no problem falling asleep and staying asleep.
After struggling with situation one, we came up with a way to get William his own room at my parent’s house, too. My parent’s have a large laundry room right down the hall from the room we stay in. We moved the pack-n-play into the laundry room and did our best to make sure everything was out of reach. My parents even put a comforter over the window to black out the room to help him not get up with the sun. Man was this an awesome setup! With his own room, William was able to sleep through the night like a champ, further proving my point about giving your little one time away from mommy and daddy for bedtime.
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