And now, for an updated post on baby sleep (see my other post here!) Sophie is an amazing sleeper. I feel like I’m allowed to say that after having dealt with a not so amazing sleeper in Sam. I’ve earned it dammit. I’ll be the first to admit that sleep has a LOT to do with temperament, and some babies are just innately great sleepers and others… Not so much. Just know that if you have a more difficult one, to remember the saying that should be a motto of motherhood: this too shall pass.
Amen and amen.
With that being said, I have gotten a lot of questions and requests for my sleep tips! So ohh boy, here we go. My tips. Take them for what they are.
First off let’s discuss the 4th trimester for a sec. There are 3 trimesters of pregnant and then Baby is born, but the 4th trimester is those first 3 months of baby’s life where they are just adjusting to life outside of the womb. It’s the 4th trimester for baby and for mama, with everyone adjusting and settling in to the new norm. This is when the all night cuddles happen. The extreme sleep deprivation. The zombie mode. The pains of beginning breastfeeding. It’s all part of it. Figuring things out. Adjusting. And because of this, I firmly believe there should be no schedule. No rules. Do what’s best for you and your baby (while being safe of course). Furthermore, it is just crazy to think that there can be structure for the first month or so. You’ll drive yourself mad if you try.
Okay now that I’ve said that, lets move on to my tips…
Swaddle! This is HUGE! We swaddled our babies from day one, and I feel like it is such an amazing tool that if you aren’t using, you should!!! There are so many swaddle options available, try different ones and see what you and your babe prefer. We start off with the Muslin one’s (we love aden and anais, little unicorn, this one was Sophie’s first swaddle and the stretch is amazing!) and then moved on to Velcro ones after the first couple months or so, once baby gets strong enough to break out of the other ones (currently we are using the nested bean and she loves it!!! Best sleep ever with this thing! Read why I love it in this post).
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White noise! Another thing we started the first night home. We are already used to sleeping with it (and can’t sleep without it now!) since having Sam, so this was a no brainier for us. It imitates life in the womb, where it was anything but quiet! Don’t tip toe around. Don’t whisper when baby is sleeping. Go about your day. Make noise. Baby will adjust and come out a better sleeper because of it. Plus, the womb was totally noisy. Baby is used to it already. There are machines you can buy, but we just use an app on our phones. :) You could even just turn the radio to white noise and voila!
Pacifier. So with Sam, they tried to scare us away from this in the hospital, talking about “nipple confusion.” I’m calling BS on that. We used a paci with Sophie from day one (since she was in the NICU we didn’t have a choice!) and she latched on great from the beginning and has been the best eater! Plus, when baby is fussy and just wants to suck for relief or for comfort, why deny her that?! We love Natursutten and Soothies that are the ones the hospital supplies. We also love these little paci clips– lifesavers when out and about! And even around the house. Because I swear, there is a black hole where socks and pacifiers go to die. We are always losing them.
Schedule. Okay, go back and read my paragraph above on the 4th trimester of you didn’t already. Now know that I’m not talking about that. We started a very loose schedule around week 6 or so, and have fallen into a very predictable schedule that Sophie literally follows to the “T.” We’re always saying she’s like clockwork, and it’s true! We know how long she can stay awake before getting cranky and overtired, and if we didn’t, she would let us know. It’s pretty much the only time she cries. ;) Figure out your baby’s wake time (right now, at 4 months, that’s about 1-1.25 hours) and put baby down, swaddled and with a paci and white noise going.
We also follow the Eat/Awake/Sleep schedule (feed baby right when he wakes, then put him down after he’s been up for his time, then he sleeps and that’s your time! Then start all over again.) This has been huge for us! Also, we’ve noticed that stretching her wake time right before bed is huge too. If she’s used to being awake for one hour at a time, keep her up 2-2.5 hours right before your designated bedtime. Also! We try to keep bedtime and wake time in the morning about the same- which right now is roughly waking at 8:30am and bedtime at 10:30-11pm. To keep track of when she woke/ how long she napped, etc I record it all in the nifty app called “Baby Tracker.” It’s awesome.
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Bedtime routine. Pick something quick and calming that is possible to do each night before bed. With Sam (our toddler), we do a bath , jammies, bottle, brush teeth, bedtime diaper, books, sing, bed. And he knows the order now and so he knows it’s time for bed when we start doing these. With Sophie, it’s much simpler. Bath (only on some nights, definitely not every night!), jammies, diaper, I nurse her (sometimes to sleep, but lately we’ve been putting her down awake but drowsy- although I am absolutely not against nursing to sleep! Talk about the sweetest moments!!), read a book, sing a song and put her down. Swaddled, white noise on, paci in. Give her little gentle rock and she’s out in a few minutes.
Sneaking back in to take photos or just to stare at your baby is totally encouraged, and highly recommended. :)
DockATot– We love this thing so much I’m devoting an entire section just to it. It makes it safe to co-sleep if you put it in the bed with you (which we have done), but we actually place it in our bassinet and that’s what works best for us! That way she is right next to me and I can easily take her out for any night time feelings, and place her back in without any fuss. But this thing, you guys. Gosh I wish we had it with Sam! It is plush and also nice and snug so that it hugs your baby, which we all know they LOVE. It’s like they’re sleeping in your arms, the best place they can be, clearly. And it’s totally portable! We took it with us on our road trip, and bring it with us when we go to family’s houses for the day, and she naps amazingly, because she gets to sleep in her bed that she’s used to! I cannot recommend this enough! I’m convinced it’s helped immensely in making our good little sleeper.
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Baby wearing! When all else fails, if she is fussy or just not napping today, strap your baby on and go about your day with her in her favorite spot- close to your heart. I think it’s safe to say it will be your fave spot too. ;) My favorite baby carriers are solly, happy baby and Ergobaby.
Another great tool? A swing of some sort. We love the Mamaroo for when we need to get something done and set her down in a safe spot for a bit. She loves the calming motion and the mobile up above. Everybody wins! She’s even been known to fall asleep in it, which is never a bad thing. ;)
A few favorite items mentioned in this post:
DockATot (+ toile cover)
Pacifiers and Soothies
Bassinet (full review here)
White noise app
Solly, Happy and Ergobaby wraps/carriers (recommend them all!)
Above all, remember that you are doing incredible. And your baby is perfect and will sleep, eventually. And you will sleep, eventually, too, and how boring will that day be, right? ;) ALSO. In the meantime, whatever works is usually a great motto to have.
Okay, that was a lot. I could talk baby sleep forever, I swear! Let me know if this was helpful! And if you want me to cover any more baby topics- this was fun. :)
I hope this helped you! If it did, please share with your sleep-deprived mama friends! ;) On Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!
Thanks so much for reading, and happy sleeping, friends!
We were so lucky with our Sophie too! She’s been a really good sleeper so far at night, her naptime is always a toss up. I’m really glad we didn’t have to swaddle, she never stayed in them, and as she got older it was easier to put her down because she didn’t need that constant holding security, but don’t get me wrong, she loves being held and carried, but bedtime is shorter now that she can cuddle with a stuffed animal while falling asleep.
These are such great tips, I have to send them to my friend who is expecting her first!
liz @ j for joiner
Exactly my point- really all babies are different and what works for one may not work for another! Thank you for sharing a different perspective. Glad you found something that has worked! :) Thank you for sharing with your friend, too!
I 100% agree about not trying to schedule your baby in those early months. We found that our little girl naturally fell into her own schedule around 4 months. Soothers and swaddles made all the difference at the beginning. (I also have a little girl who spent her early days in the NICU where she was given a soother and a bottle and she has been great at nursing so I’m skeptical about the whole nipple confusion thing too!)
YES!!! You can driver yourself absolutely mad trying to get a baby who isn’t ready for it on some sort of schedule! I know I did with my first. Live and learn, eh? ;)
I’m totally agreed with you on this! I still how frustrated I was when sleep training my Emily.
Thank you for writing a post about baby sleep! My sweet Thomas is five months now, and while a great bedtime sleeper, is not so great at naps. Which can be frustrating for me and him! Your encouragement that we as mamas are doing incredible is so valued. It’s hard to not blame yourself for your strong-willed baby’s sleep struggles, so THANK YOU for reminding us all that we are doing more than enough! Your words are a real blessing.
Ahhh I’m so glad this post helped!! :) You are so so sweet for saying what you did, that makes me incredibly happy to know my words were encouraging. We are all in this together!!!
Thank you so so much for this post! I am due June 22nd with my first and am so nervous! I have been planning to Swaddle and use the halo sleepsacks and sleepsack swaddles. But recently I have saw that they are saying not to now?!? That it can increase sids? I didn’t know if u had heard anything? Also any advice for us on going to the beach for vacation the last week in august? She will be about 2 months old and we are going with my inlaws.
Ahhh congrats Haley!!! So excited for you! :) I’m glad this post helped! I heard about that too and definitely think the news sensationalized it (as always)- It’s perfectly safe to swaddle a baby, arms in, when they can’t roll over and are put to sleep on their back. It’s what they did in the hospital. You can read a really great article on what you’re talking about here, I think she sums it up perfectly: https://www.preciouslittlesleep.com/swaddling-is-terrible-according-to-science/ As for vacation, I’d say keep your schedule flexible and go with the flow! She should be easy peasy on vacation- we went to Tahoe when Sophie was the same age and she was a piece of cake- it was her older brother who was the hard one ;) haha! You can read my post on that here: https://www.katiedidwhat.com/traveling-with-babies/
I have been following your blog and loved this post.
I have a 6 months old baby boy who still wakes up every 2 hours and won’t fall back without breast milk. I tried giving him bottle he refuses, doesn’t take paci because its too late for him to adapt these new things. I used to feed him everytime he used to wakeup initially and now I am tired all the time. Please help.
I don’t think I have ever commented on your posts before, but decided it’s about time :) I have been following your blog for years. At first it was because I have spent some time in the States (I live in Finland) and follow a few blogs over there; and now it is because I share a somewhat similar situation in life, have a toddler and hoping to have another baby one day.
What I have wanted to thank you for sooo many times is how you write about breastfeeding. I think it is super important for the well-being and heatlh of your baby, and yourself too, and I do appreciate how natural (and that is exactly how it is!) it is to you and your babies; and how naturally you write about it. You mention it and advocate it, yet I believe your way is also a way that does not freak ppl out. As we know, talking about breastfeeding may do that too sometimes. :D
All in all, I think you give a great example of holding your babies close and letting them feel safe, loved and cared for. And still, telling it like it is some days; not at all easy, fun or pleasant. But how else could we do it? It is our babies childhood and the most important time for them to develop sense of self, sense of safety and self respect.
So thank you. Keep up the good work. I hope your and your family’s summer is full of love, laughter and sun!
I just love reading these types of posts. Rylee is 14 months and she is now becoming a good sleeper/follower of a schedule. For the longest time I struggled so much trying to basically force her to sleep and I just kept failing. My daughter definitely drums to her own beat and one day it just clicked for us. I think these tips are helpful and will definitely reference them in the future when we have our next baby!
Hey Katie! My little girl will be 3 months old on Sunday. I have recently started putting her on a more strict schedule with eat, wake, sleep and it’s going great! My question is what do you do if they wake early? Sometimes my little girl will wake before the 2 hours is up from the last time she’s eaten and I try to put her back to sleep but it doesn’t always work. Before starting the more structured schedule she was eating roughly every 2.5-3 hours and now she’s eating about every 2. Should I try to give her some time after waking up before feeding? She’s a big girl (almost 15 pounds) so I don’t want to over feed! Thanks!
Hey girl! Here’s the thing about babies: they don’t follow your schedule. lol. They have no sense of it! They are hungry when they’re hungry, and tired when they’re tired. We’re just here to help them along and give some guidance, but really, my advice is to not get too caught up in the numbers on the clock or the hours it’s been since ______. It can drive you crazy if you do! I know- I’ve tried! I’d say, if she wakes up super early from her nap, try to stretch her a bit. Change her diaper, play with her a little, maybe bounce her around in your arms until she starts fussing and definitely wanting to eat. That might help get a bit of a longer stretch in between feedings. But if she’s upset, just feed her! Babies know when they need to eat, and she could be going through a growth spurt or just need the comfort. :) Hope this helps!
Thanks girl! I think I’ve been too focused on eat, wake, sleep and not listening close enough to her clues. Parenting… Ya live and learn :)
I’ve been following your blog for awhile as I had a little one a few moths after you! It’s been nice to follow along and get all these good tips right before I need them!
My LO just turned one month and I’m interested in starting a nightly bedtime routine. Do you do your bedtime routine before you put her down at 10:30 or do you do it earlier like at 7:30/8 before an evening nap?
Also when do you suggest starting a schedule?
And lastly I’d love to see a post on a day in the life of. Like what your schedule is like during the day!
I know I should not worry about schedules yet just trying to prepare for when I go back to work in August! I want to have a good schedule and a good sleeper! (Although we’ve really lucked out so far!). I’m torn about what time to let her wake up so I can get ready and nurse. I have to be at work by 8:15 every day. I’m a teacher so it’ll be nice to have the 8-4 work schedule!
Which wrap is your favorite or go to? Wanting to get another. I have the boba now but want a lightweight one for summer.
Thanks so much! I’m sure I’ll have more questions later!!
Aww I’m so glad I can be helpful!!! :) Okay, to answer your questions, we do the bedtime routine before we put her down for bed, so around 10:30. Start a schedule as soon as you can, I think! Whenever it seems right to you! I know for me, having somewhat of a schedule keeps me sane and also I think Baby likes knowing what’s coming, too. It makes everyone happy. :) Just know that it needs to be VERY rough, and you can’t let yourself get too caught up on the numbers on the clock! Some days it will just not work out, and that’s okay! Stick with it and you’ll fall into a routine soon enough!
I just did a day in the life: https://www.katiedidwhat.com/a-day-in-the-life/ and plan on doing more every once in a while, when the schedules change more!
Check out this post for all my baby favorites: https://www.katiedidwhat.com/must-have-baby-items/
Also this post has more favorites: https://www.katiedidwhat.com/45-baby-registry-must-haves/
Thanks so much for reading and following along, girl!! :)
Hey Katie! I’ve been following your blog, when you were pregnant I was a few months behind you do it was nice to see your posts right before I needed them!
I had a few questions for you…
1. With the wraps. Is there on you prefer over the other? I have the boba and it’s been a learning curve for me! I didn’t know if you had one that was lighter weight that you prefer?
2. You talked about a bedtime routine. My little girl is only a month old but I want to start some loose routines that will become more of a regular routine later. When you do bedtime do you do it before you put her down at 10:30/11 or before the evening nap time?
3. You also mentioned that you keep her up longer at night. Is that so she will sleep longer?
4. You mentioned not starting a daily schedule until 6 weeks or so. Could you do a more elaborate post on your daily schedule? I want to follow the eat wake sleep routine but haven’t yet cuz she’s still little.
Thank you so much for your posts! So helpful!!
Also where does you lo nap? Mine loves napping on me at the moment and screams if I put her in her RnP or bassinet.
Well ignore my second post! Haha. Didn’t realize the first one actually posted!!
Elizabeth J. Johnson
Aww I’m so glad to see this post cause’ we used to be the exhausted parents who didn’t find the best way to manage our baby’s sleep!! :) These are such great tips, and I also want to share some of my experiences with you and other mommies to have a single free moment for yourself. Read more here.