(FYI, this is a bit long, if anyone can hang in there I'd appreciate your tips/suggestions/etc.)
The biggest complaints I hear from moms (not just new moms but experienced moms as well) is bedtime woes. Horrible stories about how their babies don't sleep and in turn how they don't sleep. Let me tell you, I don't do well with no sleep--I will be a bad mom if I can't get sleep. I understand in the beginning things will be tough and I can suck it up for a little while, but honestly, it will be a very little while.
Here are a couple of examples of the horror stories I hear.
One of the nurses I work with (she has a 7 year old little boy and a 13 month old little girl, so not a new mom by any stretch of the imagination) has not slept through the night since her ;ittle girl was born. The baby wakes up not once, but twice if not three times a night, she gives her a bottle and then she goes back to sleep but heavens! I am not waking up three times a night with a kid older then 1 to give them a bottle, it is unnecessary (not to mention, this mom is EXHAUSTED!). Anyways, she is going to try getting her to sleep through the night by doing a bunch of things such as moving her into her own room (she is still in their bedroom), getting her a sound machine and honestly, I hope she lets her cry it out a night or two (but I cannot imagine how hard it would be to let your baby cry it out).
A friend of mine has a beautiful little girl, she is probably about 4 month old now and she is having the roughest time at night. Apparently her little girl is the happiest little girl during the day and then at night she turns into a terrible, unhappy, miserable baby. I feel terrible for my friend because she has this fantastic baby all day and then she turns into a different baby at night time. She is at a loss as to what to do. I contacted another friend who just got her 8 month old sleeping through the night to see if she could give my other friend some advice. We'll see where that goes. Hopefully it helps her.
As for me, being a first time mom, I have no idea what to expect. I mean I've been a nanny before, I've done the bedtime routine, but it was only once in a blue moon that I did the overnight thing. I think I am in for a shock doing this mommy thing 24 hours a day. I am making a list of things that I plan on doing to make night times as perfect as possible. Here's what I've got so far, please comment with any additions you have to my list. :) TIA!
Baby's own space--my parents will be in town for the first week of baby's life so they will be sleeping in the nursery in turn baby's pack and play will be in our closet, as soon as they leave baby will move back into his/her nursery. I know it may be harder for me at first but I think baby being in their own room is important to the overall sleep, not to mention, I don't want to have to worry about the cats trying to get into their pack and play.
Sound machine--this baby is used to noise, if not me working at night, to hubby and I talking, to the dogs barking, to even when it is quiet my tummy growls. I also think the baby getting used to the sound machine will help when we are out of town or even just when we are home and they are napping it should help drown out the dogs barking or the vacuum running or whatev. This is not a silent house. ;)
Black out curtains--I want the baby to learn they sleep at night. When the baby is awake, we will open the curtains and let the light in at night time or nap time the curtains will be drawn closed. Not to mention, early bedtimes 1/2 the year lead to the baby going to sleep when it is actually still light out.
Routine, routine, routine--Tentative bedtime routine, feeding, bath time, massage, story time, swaddle them and then them laying down to sleep.
Tete, paci, binky, etc.--The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends tetes as a way to help reduce the incidents of SIDS, I kind of baulk at them but with that being known, I think I'll definitely try it. I think a couple of useful tips for them are to use the soothies because they are soft and if the baby rolls on them it wont hurt them and a wake them up. Another tete tip is to take it out of their mouth once they are fast asleep before you go to bed because the baby will learn to sleep without them and most importantly, they will not wake up in the middle of the night when it falls out!
Dreamfeeds--it is a cute little term to describe waking the baby before they wake to eat. Basically you put them down at bedtime, then 2, 3, 4 hours later (depending on how old they are) you wake them up give them a bottle, the boob, whatever to satiate them before they wake up ravished.
Bedtime--I am a big fan of early bedtime. I am pretty sure we will do a 6:30 bedtime. With that bedtime, it will insure I'll be able to feed the baby and do bath time (which I love, love, love) and then hubby can finish out the rest of the routine when I leave for work.
Alright, that's all I've got for now. Let's try to prevent me being a frazzled, sleep deprived mom (and nurse), any tips you have are greatly appreciated!