Baby Sleep (dun dun duhhhh)
Oh, gosh. I am approaching the topic of baby sleep with extreme caution. Because I know what a touchy subject it is. I’m there, right there with you. But I’ve read a million posts on sleep myself, and so I know it’s something I would want to read, and if it’s something I would want to read there’s a chance there are a lot of others out there who would also be interested in reading it? And so. Here we go. A post on baby sleep. Yikes.
I’m going to get this out of the way, first and foremost: Every baby is different. I know you read and hear it all the time, but as with all things in life that are clichés, there is a damn good reason. Because it’s true! (Shocker!) I know that’s not what you want to hear, New Mom Who Has Gotten a Total Of Mayyyyybe 2.5 Hours Of Sleep Last Night. I know. I’ve been there. It’s so not what you want to hear. You want a fix. A cure-all. A magic potion that will make your baby sleep at least 6 hours straight! That’s it, that’s all we ask. Maybe even just 4? I know! But the beautiful thing, is I’m finally kind of on the other end of all of that crazy-town-no-sleep-nonsense. So if you take anything from this post, take hope! There is hope! There is a light at the end of the tunnel! Somewhere! Maybe it’s nearer than you think, or maybe not, but regardless, you will get sleep back, some day. ;)
And now. Another thing I want to get out of the way first (or I suppose second): You are not a bad mom. Say it with me, “I am NOT a bad mom.” You are selfless and patient (or working on that patience, right? I know, it’s a struggle every day), and you are sweet and motherly and nurturing and love with all that you have, and guess what? That’s exactly what your baby needs the most from you. LOVE. And how beautiful is that? Because it’s so easy, isn’t it? To love this tiny creature that you made (high five). Almost stupidly easy. Almost scarily easy. But easy nonetheless. And it’s also maybe some days, the ONLY easy thing in your life. I get it. But you’re doing the best you can. And you’re doing a damn good job. And you’re a GOOD mom.
Alright. Now time for some more nitty gritty. PLEASE know, this worked for us, but it doesn’t mean it will work for you. And also, it changes constantly. And sometimes we have great sleep days and nights and other times, not so much. Such is life with a baby.
The First Few Months: Whatever Works
So the first couple months? We were basically running around like chickens with our heads cut off. We had no freaking clue what we were doing. We were taking turns sleeping on the couch with the baby so the other could get a somewhat decent night’s sleep, or at least nap since nights and days were all blurred into one. And I was solely breastfeeding (word to the wise: get yo’self a pump! Life saver!) so I was up whenever Baby was hungry, which was a LOT. So that was crazy. But somehow we survived. We got a Keurig machine that first week, which is another life saver that I highly recommend. (I have one cup of coffee a day, any more and I get the jitters, plus my doctor okayed me to drink a cup or two a day while breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor if you’re unsure!)
Our motto for the first 3 months or so was WHATEVER WORKS. Seriously. We got a yoga ball and Zack would sit on it with Sam, bouncing for half an hour to calm him or soothe him to sleep. He slept on our chests on the couch, he slept in his Fisher Price swing, which I HIGHLY recommend- he loved the rocking motion and it helped give us a break and get some sleep! One thing I took to heart is that newborns love being in the womb, so try to imitate that environment as much as you can now that he’s out in the big bad world. This means swaddling (we love these swaddle blankets!) (until he/she can roll over, and then switch to a sleep bag or sack (this one’s awesome!), since babies love the tight feeling and being wrapped up), using white noise, rocking, etc. We just downloaded a free white noise app on our phones and tablets and turn it on every single time he sleeps, both for naps and nighttime. This has made a huge difference, and I wish we had done it from day one! It also helps drown out any outside noises, which is a bonus as well!
Rough Schedule at 7 Months
So now here we are, at 7 months. And this is a loose glimpse at our schedule. We follow the Eat/Awake/Sleep routine, and have been since about 2 months old, and it works great for us! Setting some sort of routine has been a great thing for us, and lets us kind of sort of know what to expect. You know. As much as you can with a baby. Again, it’s loose, and I’m not super strict about the EXACT times, but it’s roughly this:
8:30- wake and eat, then play
10:30- nap (12:00 eat)
2:00- nap (3:00 eat)
4:30- nap (6:00 eat)
8:00- eat and then routine
8:30- bed [he stays awake a little longer between his last nap and bedtime]
He usually wakes once during the night to eat and then goes right back down, with no burping. He has actually been sleeping 12 hours straight through the night for the past week! Who knows if this will stay this way, but it is heaven!
Pro tip (LOL): Keep track of your day by writing notes on your phone of what time he wakes up, when he eats, etc. Your new mom brain isn’t going to remember, and this helps you figure out your rough schedule for the day!
Window of Wakefulness
The big thing is to figure out your baby’s “window of wakefulness,” or how long he can stay awake before getting fussy and needing to sleep again and also before he gets to the overtired stage (which is bad news!). Every baby is different, but Sam’s window was 1.5 hours up until recently, and now has switched to about 2 hours. Thus, I keep track of when he wakes up from his nap and plan to put him down and have him in his crib by whatever the time is 2 hours later. Make sense? Also, he eats about every 3 hours throughout the day.
Another thing we do is have a bedtime routine, which, jury is still out if this makes a big difference for Sam, but it kind of helps wind him down from the day. And we do a mini version of it before each nap. Baths get him all wound up and excited, so we do those a few hours before bedtime. As for our bedtime routine, we do jammies > sleeping bag > books > song > pray > bed.
Phew! There you have it. My post on baby sleep. What do you think?
Do you have a schedule you roughly follow, or no?
I’m always so interested learning how others do it! There is NO right or wrong! :)