HOW TO TEACH YOUR BABY TO SLEEP

How to lose weight fast! <——— This one little sentence, is a billion dollar industry. Books, blogs, juice cleanses, you name it. A billion different schemes to “lose weight” like it’s some super classified secret nobody knows…even though we all know. Like we all know it’s diet and exercise, right? I mean there’s no one out there that actually doesn’t know how to lose weight. Basically you eat less In and Out Burgers, than miles you run. It’s simple math. No waist trainer, diet pill, shake weight crap is ever gonna beat diet and exercise. But we buy the books and read the blogs, hoping to find the true secret…(the one that doesn’t require cardio and you can eat ALL the burritos) Wanna know where else these genius schemers make money? Off of moms, specifically first time moms.

They know. They know we have no clue. They know that we’re hanging on by our mesh undies, desperately trying to figure out how to keep a tiny human alive and not go crazy doing it. They prey on us. Oh god how they prey on us…because unlike “losing weight fast” we have no clue how to do anything or we're too sleep deprived to figure it out. Here we are, full of self doubt and there they are, promising us the holy grail to help our child sleep. So we buy the swaddle, the rock n’ play, the noise machine. We buy it all. But I'm here to share something I've learned, having come out the other side with an awesome sleeper, the true holy grail. Ready for it?

Just be patient. And they figure it out themselves.

No seriously. I know it's not what you want to hear, but it's the truth...the diet and exercise truth. Ever look around to your friends and hear them say things like, "Ya I have to suck on my girlfriend's boob to get to sleep, because my mom nursed me to sleep and thats the only way I can now" or "I have no idea how to sleep because my parents never let me cry it out." No. lol You've never heard someone say that. Cry it out, nurse to sleep, co-sleeping, you name it, it doesn't matter. They ALL figure it out. No one goes to college sucking their thumb to sleep. I'm not saying some of the gimmicks don't work, I'm not even saying don't try them. But which methodology works or doesn't work, isn't the problem. YOU being force fed the notion that a newborn's sleep should be a certain way, is the problem. If no one told you about the "45 minute intruder", you'd probably just think babies took 45 minute naps, right? THEY create the problem so they can sell you a solution. Heres 5 things they said, that absolutely ruined me.

1.  Babies sleep through the night by 6-8 weeks of age. 
2. Never nurse your baby to sleep.
3. 45 minutes is a bad nap.
4. Your child should be on a 3 hour feed/wake/nap cycle
5. You need a schedule. Your child should nap at the exact same time every day. 

I read these things and went, "Oh holy shit I think my baby must be broken" Because he's 3 months old waking up 2-3 times a night, all his naps are 45 minutes and schedule? So many LOL's. I immediately started running around buying every sleep training book I could find because clearly Killian must be a bad sleeper. I researched. I lost sleep trying to figure out what was wrong with my baby, when guess what? Nothing was wrong. Babies are just shitty sleepers.

WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER IF YOU KNEW

1. "Sleeping through the night" is actually 5-6 hour stretches. Bet you didn't know that. I also bet your child did 5-6 hour stretches by 6-8 weeks, unless he was in the middle of a growth spurt. So your interrupted sleep? It's NORMAL. 3 AM wake ups? Its NORMAL. Ideal? Oh fuck no, but it's NORMAL. And when you know things are normal and that little Johnny isn't the ONLY one doing this, it makes things easier. (After pressing my own mom she told me when I was a baby "sleeping through the night", that she meant 11PM-5AM.)


2. Nurse them to sleep or don't...eventually they don't want your nipple in their mouth. AND it's a lot easier to wean a kid off your nipple than a pacifier. This is what your boobs were born to do...feed and comfort. Let them do their jobs and don't feel guilty about it. They scared me into thinking my son would never sleep without it. So I forced the Wubanub, played music and dodged his flailing boob punches until I gave up. They made me feel like a failure. I nursed him to sleep for 3 more months. Two weeks ago, I put him on my boob like I normally do, and he sucked for a minute, when all of a sudden he unlatched and moved his head back and forth like my boob was in his way. Not knowing what to do, I put him in his crib and jumping jesus if he didn't he roll over and go to sleep. And that's how it goes now. Every night, every nap he may suck for a minute or two, but then I put him down fully awake and he does the rest himself. No ninja escape exit moves required. 


3. 45 minutes is exactly how long your child needs to nap, if that's how long they nap. Between 2-6 months, this is a normal nap length because they're taking 3-4 naps a day. Once they widdle down to 3, they get longer...and then 2? 2 naps a day is golden. That's when life gets awesome. But you can't force your child to sleep if they aren't tired. Don't stress yourself and your baby trying. 


4. Babies are not robots. They don't care about your schedule. They will pee all over your schedule and laugh in your face. They are hungry when they're hungry and they're tired when they're tired. There's WAY too many growth spurts, mental leaps and teething to stick to a feed/wake/sleep. And lets be honest, we all know it ends up feed/wake/feed/sleep…and eventually you’re right back to nursing him to sleep anyways. And FOR THE LOVE OF GOD CAN SOMEONE PLEASE ANSWER ME THIS....How the hell do you put a kid on a schedule when they nap at different lengths, thus adjusting the entire schedule? How do I get him on a 3 hour schedule, when sometimes he naps 30 minutes and sometimes 2 hours? But wake time should only be 1 hour? I scoured the internet for this answer and could never find an answer. My son would wake up at 6AM some times...7AM...take 3 naps...4 naps. I read Moms On Call, Babywise, you name it. Trying to get a baby on a schedule is about as fruitful as trying to put a condom on a limp dick...it doesn't work. But guess what did happen? One day, my son transitioned to 2 naps and like a rare unicorn, a schedule emerged. He wakes up every morning at 7AM, takes a nap at 10AM and another at 3PM and goes to bed by 7:30PM. And we're talking solid 1-2 hour naps. I didn't do this. He just figured it out. So follow the queues... and live long and prosper or something. 

Babies go through a lot of shit the first year of their lives. Literately and figuratively. They are growing, learning, developing at the speed of light. They too are grasping at straws trying to figure out life. They do what they do because its whats necessary. They eat when they are hungry and sleep when they are tired. I read every book, blog and article in existence, until one day I snapped and shouted…and I quote “THERE ARE WOMEN IN AFRICA WITH NO INTERNET AND THEIR BABIES SLEEP SO WHAT-THE-FUCK-EVER I'M OVER THIS CRAP." I was so tired of the stress, the constant battle trying to force this tiny human onto a schedule, force him to sleep through the night, force him to fall asleep with no coddling. So I came up with my own plan. I called it “whatever is easiest”. I relaxed, let go and simply followed his queues. Sure I foster a calm environment when its nap time. I turn the lights off and put him in his zippadee zip, but no more dog and pony shows. And time passed…he got older…and it all worked itself out. I no longer have to nurse him to sleep, gently place him in the crib and then maneuver out of the room like I'm training to be a stealth ninja in the night. 

Everything is a phase. Do what's easiest. Trust your instincts. I know the first year is rough...I'm living it as I type this, but the truth is no matter what you do or don't do.... they. figure. it. out. I say this as someone that tried every gimmick on the market and failed miserably. I wish someone had told me that he was normal. I wish someone told me that I wouldn't sleep through the night for a while... and that it was normal. I'm writing this to tell you it's all completely normal.

FULL DISCLOSURE: The only thing I swear by, and science backs up, is a bedtime ritual. Since birth it’s been lights out and no talking after 7PM. Even for middle of the night changes, I did it in the dark and didn't talk to him. And at 6 weeks we implemented a bedtime routine at the exact same time, every day, down to the minute. I believe this helps specifically in the early months to distinguish day from night, since babies have no circadian rhythm. Additionally, I have always strived for a feed/wake/sleep schedule because it does seem better for digestion. And every now and then, if he's fighting the good fight and daddy overstimulated him before a nap? I'll let him cry.