Let’s talk about how my son fell asleep. We always regarded this as “a ceremony or ritual“. All books talk about this as a ritual without exception. A ritual with same activities so that the baby knows what is coming. At the beginning, I calmed him down for a while, since my son was a “spirited” type. We could never once thought of putting him into his crib without calming him down. We put room darkening curtains in his room. Our blinds were white and it was summer. Even at nights it was so bright in the room from the street light in the alley, he stayed awake to look around. We would go into his room 20 minutes before his sleep time, we sang lullabies and he went right into sleep.
I believe in the power mother’s voice. Your voice is a magical elixir in calming your baby down, even if you don’t think you are not American Idol. I had written in this post (Record your own Lullaby CD for your baby) that I had made my own CD of lullabies.
I sang lullabies until he calmed down and then put on my CD. This CD was so helpful since I got tired of singing lullaby and my lips got number from shushing for 10-15 minutes straight. I could get out of the room since the CD was running at repeat mode. Even though we made the room darker, we never tried to keep extremely quite so that he would not wake up.
We still apply the same method with some adaptations to his age. When it is time to take a day nap, he first drinks his milk, we turn the lights off and go to bed. When the blinds and curtains are closed, we sit in the room for awhile and talk. Then we place him in his crib. We put on a CD from Raymond Lap series and leave him alone.
“Blowing the lights off” is an important point we learned from our lesson Merry Music Makers, member of Music Together. Especially this was so useful for us since my son wanted to leave all the lights and the fan on. He blows the lights off like candles and then we turn the lights off. This way he was in control.
Before he goes to sleep, we brush his teeth, put on his pajamas. I place him on my lap on the nursing chair and let him blow the lights off. Then we start telling stories which we make up. We give him hugs and kisses, caress him (he recently started to fight the hugs off during the day) and then we place him in his crib with his teddy bear. We give a good night kiss, tell him to sleep until the morning, and leave the room. When he was little, we waited with him till he went to sleep. Since he was keeping himself busy with his teddy bear and with the help of music, we have been leaving him in his crib and leave the room.
We never stuck to strict hours bu kept our eyes on his signs and the time to notice when he is ready to sleep. We try to put him to sleep at 8, no later than 9. If we are out and about, we try to get back home before night sleep time, because my son is happy and peaceful when he gets enough sleep. Otherwise, he gets grumpy.
I also need to mention our lifesaver, the teddy bear. This was a gift we got from a close friend after my son’s birth. We lost him once, and we bought his cousin to be on the safe side. My son usually sleeps without a pillow, cover or spread on his bed, just his teddy bear. It was really painful experience to realize that our son can not sleep without it.
I recently, figured out that when my son wakes up around 6-7, he is able to go back to sleep, after I nurse him. He had to take a nap at 9 am anyway. This way we added his first nap to night sleep. While going from two naps to one, I would nurse him and tell him to sleep for two more hours and he would wake up at 9pm. If I forgot to tell him this, he would wake up earlier. I try not to forget to tell him “to sleep until the morning” when I put him to his crib at night. It does not work 100%, but it works most of the time. (See NLP)