Anyone visiting a new mum and her baby is sure to ask the question, “Does he sleep through the night?” For a few lucky mums, the answer may be in the affirmative. But for most others, the reply is a vehement, “Not at all”. The wait for the night when your child finally sleeps as per your schedule could be endless.
Parents dealing with a difficult sleeper will possibly try every trick in the book to establish a sleep pattern, so that there’s time to finish chores and grab some rest themselves. We asked our wonderful MomStars how they sailed through their kiddie sleeping woes and received pretty interesting answers.
Mom to a three-year-old daughter, Momstar Sushree Ganu believes cutting down afternoon naps helped her daughter and her, sleep better. She says, “I usually don't put my daughter to sleep at noon. She is not much of a sleeping-loving person. Then by 10 pm, she is asleep. This helps me to have some good sleep at night.”
Shilpa Acharya agrees that afternoon naps wrecked sleep training for her son. She says, “My son has always been a light sleeper and never slept for more than 2 hours at a stretch even when he was little. He then started extending his afternoon naps to three hours so bedtime would be pushed to 12.30 am to 1 am and would he wake up by 9.30 am or even 10 am. This created havoc with our sleep patterns. Now, we have slowly changed his bedtime to 8.30 or 9 pm. He is then fully rested and we (husband and me) get a lot of time.”
Some moms felt minimizing daytime naps and lot of physical activity also helped their children sleep better. Nandini Aravind, a Bangalore-based Mom Star quips, “Up until one year, there were sleepless nights but since I was with my mom, we could take turns. This was until we moved into our own place. Then, hell broke loose. Getting morning chores done with less sleep the night before was a challenge. Though my little one was sleeping through the night, she would sleep at 2am and wake up at 11am.”
She continues, “After a lot of homework, I realised she needed a mode to vent out all that physical and mental energy. So afternoon naps were struck off and we hit the parks and play areas early evening and eventually I got her to sleep at an almost ideal time of around 10.30 pm. Flash forward, she’s 4 now and wakes up sharp at 6.15-6.30 am and doesn’t take a nap in between unless it's a weekend.” Momstar Tasnim Eran agrees, “Cutting afternoon naps coupled with lots of physical activity and a hot shower at the end of the day really helped my older son sleep better and night.”
Momstar Debashree Dinda swears that along with physical activity, a child needs a full stomach before bedtime to get a good night’s sleep. She says that she generally used to keep bottles of milk handy for her three-year-old and fed him twice at night, once at 2 am and then at 5.30 am. This ensured that he slept for longer periods.
Experts believe that whatever may be the activity, developing a routine before naptime is crucial to raise a healthy sleeper. Active Momstar Manveen Dua shares, “I have been very particular about the kids’ sleep time in the initial years, took them to bed come what may! Missed social events or joined in late, whatever worked. By the time they turned one, both my kids snoozed off by 8.30 pm. However, they are very early risers. They just understand night routine and know that a bath means snooze time.”
But how does one manage twins, if both operate on different schedules? Mum to 9-month-old twins and Mom Champ, Charu Sareen Gujjal shares her sleep management woes. “With twins, it's altogether a different story. Both my kids are light sleepers and so each one gets up at least 3 times at night. If one of them awakes, I feed the child back to sleep, while my husband keeps patting the other so that other doesn't get up. And if they both wake up at the same time, then all we do is juggle with both, feeding one, rocking the other or vice versa. It's been 9 months and though we have managed to put them both on a schedule for their daytime naps, we’re still figuring out ways of how to make them sleep peacefully for a longer duration at night.”
It may take a while for children to develop predictable sleep patterns, but as a parent, all we can do is try and be consistent with providing them with plenty of playtime, a full tummy and a bedtime routine to settle them down to sleep. Before we know it, our kids will turn into sound sleepers and who knows, we may miss cuddling them to sleep at night!
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