KatieKatie Katie Parsons is the creator of Mumbling Mommy and is a freelance writer, editor and communications specialist. She works from her home office on the east coast of Florida. Most often she writes about life in a combined family of five children and what it's like being a work-from- home parent. You can contact her by emailing katie@mumblingmommy.com.

By Heather C.

No sleep for the weary, photo via thegloss.com

There is nothing worse than a long, exhausting day where all
you want to do is crawl in bed and pass out than that same day where you have
to put a young child (or children) to bed first only to have bedtime turn into
an hour long (or more) disaster. It’s just a fact of life. Bedtime never goes
wrong when you are full of energy and ready to practice patience!

With our oldest, we used a variety of bedtime routines, all
combined into one big “we are obviously new parents” mushy mess. We got lucky.
Even if I managed to explain what we did, it is unlikely that it would work for
anyone else. I can say though that we stuck to our routine. To me, that is the
biggest piece.
Routine. We left parties at 6:30 p.m. to make sure we were
home by 7:00 p.m. to start bedtime on time.

We gave her a bath every single
night. We did infant massage. We read to her. I nursed her. She had white
noise. She was swaddled until she was 10 months old. The nightlight was on. The
light was dim. Everything was exactly the same. No, she didn’t sleep through
the night but she woke, nursed for 10 minutes and was right back to sleep. Like
I said, we got lucky.

I suppose being so lucky with her was payment for what was
to come: Twins; Colicky preemie twins with acid reflux and bad latches. At some
point around month two, my body just adjusted. It didn’t really need sleep. 2-3
hour stretches for the rest of my life is totally doable. (Insert sarcasm.)
My good friend recommended a book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. She wrote all about it here. I have not gotten a chance to read it all the way through yet but I have it
checked out from the library and I’m hoping it gives me some good direction. She
gives it such positive reviews that surely there is something in there I can
make work for me!
The thing for us is not getting to sleep though. We stick to
our very strict bedtime routine, everyone goes to sleep and we do the same. But
they don’t stay asleep. Our three year old is going through nightmares right
now. She’s consolable after her nightmares and goes back to sleep but it
doesn’t change the waking up part. There’s a bit of information about the topic
here but for the most part, there isn’t a whole lot of good advice out there. Most
sites say, “It’s a phase.” And others suggest putting your child through
expensive tests. One extreme or the other, right?
On top of her nightmares, I have two six month olds. They go
to bed great, go back to sleep right away after waking to eat but when it takes
nearly an hour to nurse them both and bottle them both (see breastfeeding twins
blog) sleep is long lost.
Early on, we used many tactics learned from Happiest Baby on the Block teachings. It’s a program we love and would definitely recommend to
those around us. Swaddling, Shhhing, Swinging, Sucking, and Side-lying. It’s
amazing for naptimes. (If you haven’t noticed, happy naptimes are directly
related to happy bedtimes.)             
We’ve studied co-sleeping, the Ferber method, and a variety
of other things but still not found the exact method to stick with. Read what
everyone has to say, pick and choose what works for your family and just hang
on. Kids change as often as the moon. Whenever a bad phase comes along,
reassure yourself that something new is on the horizon.
So do I need sleep? Will I ever get sleep? Is there hope for
me? Nah.
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Tags: Heather C.