Why does 5-7pm feel like 2 years long when 8pm-6am feels like 30 minutes?
Welcome to the land of sleep-deprived parents. Last you checked, you haven’t turned into an actual zombie. . . yet. Until your baby gets the memo that a happy parent is a well-rested one, you will be trying every trick in the book to get your wee one to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Babies thrive on routine, so one of the best things you can do is create a consistent, reliable schedule that revolves around naptime and bedtime. Be predictable. You and your little cutie will be happier and healthier because of it.
In the midst of this new regimented lifestyle, your baby is anything but dull. There’s always sleep regression, teething, and other developmental shifts that will upend your best-laid plans. Try to stick to your routine throughout it all (though you may need to tweak and experiment along the way). The more consistent you are, the more your baby associates certain actions (like bath time, dim lighting, soft music, and rocking) with bedtime. It’s called reinforcement, you may remember it from your Psychology 101 class (thanks, B.F. Skinner!).
For more on parent sleep deprivation, here's Hello Bello's "Mom," Kristen Bell delightfully chatting about it with her friend Melissa McCarthy. During the dog days of parental exhaustion, a good laugh is sometimes the greatest gift ;)
PRO HACK: Routine. Routine. Routine.
SUPER PRO HACK: When your little monkey wakes up during the night for feedings or diaper changes, AVOID EYE CONTACT! You can still give her all the snuggles, but don’t look her in the eye. She will think it’s time to play and may not be able to fall back asleep.