Simple Parenting

I Made These Bedtime Mistakes So You Don’t Have To

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Getting bedtime to go smoothly and making sure you’re getting enough sleep yourself is a nightly challenge—plus I made a couple REALLY BIG, all too common bedtime mistakes when my boys were younger, which really disrupted our sleep and sure didn’t help matters.

Mistake #1

First, I checked in on them too often.

Maybe it was new mom jitters, or the fact that my baby monitor was so good at picking up sound, but I ran to my little ones every time they made a peep.

And each time I showed up it basically started the bedtime routine all over again!

Eventually, I figured out that line between those perfectly normal baby coos…and the moment when they really needed me or things were gonna get ugly. Have you found that line yet for your baby?

The good news is that once babies are 6-9 months, they can start to self-soothe. So giving them a chance to work things out on their own actually helps them sleep and teaches them how to regulate their emotions (a skill you’ll be glad they have in the toddler years)!

It helped at first to set myself a timer—unless my son actually crossed that upset line, NO CHECKING IN! I started with a minute or two, and gradually increased it.

Eventually it became fun to listen in as the cooing and gurgling got softer and my baby drifted off.

Mistake #2

I rocked them to sleep.

At first I loved those moments together, but babies can get so used to the motion, they come to depend on it. Then some (like mine) can have a hard time nodding off without it.

For some families, that’s not a problem at all. But with my kids, I struggled because they wanted that same, prolonged rocking when they woke up in the middle of the night. Want to know how I changed the habit?

I slowly tapered back the rocking until it was mostly a cuddle just before I put them down to sleep.

It may take a few days, but if you stick with it, they start relying on the motion less and less—and with my second baby I tried swaddling before bed, and that helped him have that “getting cuddled by Mama all night” feeling.

If you’ve ever made the same bedtime mistakes, know you’re not alone—hopefully with these ideas you can get to sleep already!