Helping your baby sleep

Click here to check out my podcast episode all about this.

We were a little late to the game as far as sleep training. Research has shown that you can start building solid sleep foundations with babies as soon as they are born. It isn’t recommending to attempt to actually sleep train until after 4 months (until then, they are just too little and need those multiple night feedings).

When babies are first born, it is very common for them to have day/night confusion – they don’t know that day is for awake and night is for sleeping. I made sure that when our son was awake during the day, the lights were on, the curtains were open and it was bright! For naps and at night we use black out curtains in the nursery to make sure it is nice and dark. This helped his little body learn that night is sleeping and day is awake.

We started a bed time routine with him when he was about 4 weeks old. At that point that was, quick bath, lotion, diaper, jammies with swaddle, turn on white noise machine, bottle and then bed. At that point I was still rocking him to sleep and he was sleeping in a rock and play.

Also when they are first born, I didn’t realize they need to nap (a LOT) during the day. We learned that we needed to offer our son a nap at about an hour after he woke up from previous nap. So, he would wake up, we would feed him a bottle, change him and play a bit. Then back down for another nap. It is also important not let them sleep TOO long during the day. We want to make sure baby has a full feeding (bottle or breastfeed) every 2 hours to make sure they get plenty of calories in during the day. If they sleep too long during the day (3-4 hour naps) then they are missing feedings and may mean they wake up more in the night.

After working with a sleep specialist when my son was 3 months old, we were able to transition him to his own crib in his room. He was then taking his naps and sleeping at night in his crib. At this point my son was taking about 4 naps a day. We were offering him a nap every hour and 45 minutes after waking. At night, at 3 months he was still waking about 2 times to eat. We would keep the room as dark as possible with dim lights – unswaddle, change diaper, swaddle, feed bottle and then right back to bed.

His schedule at 3 months looked about like-
6:30am: wake, milk feeding
8:15 am: Nap 1
wake, milk feeding
11:00-11:30am: Nap 2
wake, milk feeding
2-2:30 pm: Nap 3
wake, milk feeding
4:30-6pm: Nap 4 (1 hour max, wake up by 5:30pm ideally)
wake, milk feeding
bedtime prep (bath, massage, book), right into last milk feeding and
7-8pm: Bedtime

At about 5ish months, he was able to stay awake longer and was down to 3 naps and he naturally went down to just 1 night waking on his own.

His 5 month schedule looked about like-
6:30am: wake, milk feeding
8:30 am: Nap 1
wake, milk feeding
11:30am: Nap 2
wake, milk feeding
3:00 pm: Nap 3
wake, milk feeding
6:30pm: final milk feeding, bedtime prep (bath, massage, book)
7:00pm: Bedtime

By about 6 months, he dropped his 1 night feeding and was sleeping through the night(and has slept through the night consistently ever since)

At 7 months or so, he went down to 2 naps and at 14 months is still at 2 naps.
His schedule now looks like-
6:30am: wake, milk feeding
8:30 am: breakfast solids
9:00 am: Nap 1
wake, snack
1:00 pm: Lunch
2:00 pm: Nap 2
wake, snack
6:00pm: dinner
Bedtime routine
7:00pm: Bedtime

Our son dropped to one nap at about 17 months.

His schedule now looks like
6:00am – wake, cup of milk and small breakfast (cup of cheerios)
9am- breakfast/snack
12pm- Lunch
12:45pm – Nap
wake, snack (we always wake him by 3:30pm)
6:00pm: dinner
Bedtime routine
6:45pm: Bedtime

We were lucky enough to find a great sleep specialist who helped me a couple times dial in my son’s sleep. After a few phone calls and some emails back and forth, we had him sleeping through the night and not waking super early in the morning. Her name is Xan and her website is below-

Below are some of our sleep essentials for our son-
Owlett Smart Sock

Swaddles we love-
Swaddle Me swaddle
Aiden and Anais

Our white noise Machine. We have 3 of these (1 for home, 1 for baby bag, and 1 for daycare). It is great because it works being plugged in or with batteries.

Once he was out of swaddle, we used the Halo sleep sack swaddle with 1 arm out and then 2 arms out. Once he was 2 arms out, then we switched to a standard Halo Sleep sack (which he still wears today). I really like that these come in a bunch of different pattern and thickness – they have muslin which is super thin for warmer nights/naps, standard Cotton, Fleece for cold nights and then quilted for super cold nights!

It is recommended to NOT use bumpers and to have NOTHING in the crib until after baby is 1. We decided to use the mesh bumpers to help keep his little legs and arms in his crib. Once he started standing, I felt they were too dangerous because he could try to “step” up on them and possibly hurt himself, so I removed them then.

Click here to check out my home page with lots of other great topics!

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