Sleep is the thing that new Mom’s will do anything for, pay any amount for, and spend half the night googling.
Why? Because sleep deprivation is a form of torture lol.
My son is currently 2 (almost 26 months). So here are 14 things that have ACTUALLY worked for us. Yes 14.
Toddlers are intricate little humans.
1. Go up in diaper size/use diaper booster pads-This was one of the craziest things we learned that was interrupting sleep. First of all, half the time diapers don’t fit correctly if you go by the child’s weight on the box (diaper makers—get it together, this is SO confusing)! It’s like a guessing game. You just have to try a bunch of different diapers until you get a good fit. All diapers fit differently and fit each kid differently. Side note—thankfully Target will take back opened diapers if they don’t fit.
The big trick we learned when it comes to diapers is to go up a size when they start peeing through their diapers at night. This sounds like common sense, but when they aren’t even close to hitting the max weight on the box, that doesn’t even cross your mind as a new parent. The smaller diaper still “fits” fine, but the absorption is what you need more of. So go up a size. If that still doesn’t solve your issue with leaking at night, you can try this awesome invention called a Sposie Diaper Booster Pad. They are so good and have helped a ton!
2. Limit liquids at night—for older toddlers (I wouldn’t recommend this for little guys who still nurse or get a bottle before bed), you can start limiting the amount of liquids they drink before bed. This has been another big key to preventing night-time leaks. We try to get a lot of hydration in during the day, and after dinner, we start limiting liquids. You just want to make sure they are still drinking plenty and getting enough hydration in overall.
3. Sleep Train-I’ve talked about this before, but gentle sleep training has been great for us. If you co-sleep and that works for you, awesome! I’ve heard Mamas who love that too, but it wasn’t working for us. We wanted to go a different route, so we used TakingCaraBabies guides. Although it wasn’t perfect and didn’t guide us through all issues—especially for Toddler Sleep issues, it gave us a good base. I’ve heard other forms of gentle sleep training work well too.
5. Blackout curtains/blinds/film—Most babies and toddlers sleep the best in cool, dark rooms—like adults. We initially just bought blackout curtains, and light was still coming in the top and sides, so then we got blackout shades to go underneath. He still was waking cranky, super early in the morning when the sun was coming into his room, so lastly we got the blackout film. We use all 3 to make the room super dark, but you may get away with curtains and the film. We like these for travel: portable travel blackout curtains.
6. Make sure they are well-fed—sometimes toddlers go through little growth spurts and need extra calories. Make sure they are well fed during the day and have balanced meals containing protein, carbs, and healthy fats.
7. Dinner timing—I noticed that my son seems to do better if he eats dinner about an hour and a half before bedtime. If he eats too close to bedtime, he doesn’t seem to sleep as well.
8. Limit screen-time—We try to limit any screen-time before bed. I noticed that this can affect sleep.
9. Limit sugar—This is something we do in general, but if he is going to have any type of treat, we try not to do it close to bedtime. Occasionally we have been at a birthday party late, and he has had something late, and I definitely notice some disruption in sleep.
10. Prioritize naps-Naps and night-time sleep go hand in hand. I know for us, if naps are bad, night-time sleep is bad. We make naps a priority as much as we can. We try to always be home for nap-time. It’s not always the most convenient thing, but it makes for a much happier kid.
11. Time naps and bedtime properly-We also try to time naps and bedtime right. We are still flexible, but another big mistake we were making was putting him to bed too late (and by too late I mean 8/8:30). We went a few months (months of torture), where he was up every other night for hourssss. It was horrible. We then tried moving his nap-time up by a half hour and his bedtime up to 7/7:30pm and everything changed. He started sleeping 12 hours solid a night. Now that he is older, he can be a little more flexible again, so sticking to a consistent bedtime and nap-time in general has been super helpful. This tip and the larger diaper tip seem to be the biggest things that help him sleep the best.
12. Get plenty of exercise/outdoor time-This one speaks for itself. Kids have a TON of energy and they need to spend time playing and running, not in front of a screen all day.
13. Wind-down routine-Our wind-down routine consists of bath-time, PJs, brushing teeth, and then reading a few stories every night. This is short and sweet and helps him know it is time for bed.
14. Pray-Each night, right before bed, we take a few minutes to pray together. This helps him relax and we also pray for him to have a restful, sweet sleep.
I hope this gives some new Mamas some helpful tips for sleep. There are so many things that can interrupt sleep, but if you stay consistent, you will sleep again and your baby/toddler will thank you too!
What are your best sleep tips for babies/toddlers?