Are you completely spent at 8 am? Just want baby to sleep a long enough stretch for you to feel refreshed again? Are you a mom who rolls her eyes when someone mentions “resting while your baby naps” (I mean, really- what kind of mom actually rests when there is heaps of laundry to fold, bottles to sanitize, oh and that shower I was supposed to take YESTERDAY?)
This is the number one topic I get asked about from new moms, and I have been answering their questions privately, while feeling like it was such an injustice to all the other moms who could benefit. Truthfully, that is what sparked my whole blogging journey.
I can still remember the first night I slept from 11 pm -5 am with B and it was GLORIOUS! Literally, the best 6 hour stretch of sleep I ever had! Seriously, I felt like I could conquer the world!
Honestly, I have been putting off this post because it truly is my PASSION and I knew it would take a while to get it “just right”. I know how much sleep training save my mind, body, marriage; ultimately- it changed my whole ability to be a good parent- LIFE CHANGER!
I highly recommend the book Twelve Hours’s Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old, by Suzy Giordano (click the photo to purchase from Amazon). I started implementing her suggestions the day we brought little man home from the hospital! A lot of the ideas I will mention are also found in the book.
Note: True sleep training should not take place until the baby is older- the book suggests around 8 weeks and at least 13 lbs. The first 8 weeks (and sometimes longer) are useful in identifying your baby’s natural patterns, but not for official “sleep training”.
Each baby will be ready at a different time, contact me below and I can help determine your baby’s readiness and create techniques to promote sleep!
Here are some things that worked for me (keep in mind, each child is an individual and this will only serve as a template, not a specific plan)
Choose a bedtime
The book ( see above) suggests choosing a 12 hour window for sleep. Make sure you choose a time you can stick with- if you know 7 pm-7 am is too early for you, adjust it to work for your family. Any wake ups in these 12 hours are considered “nighttime wake ups” (see #4 for how to treat them).
Create a bedtime routine
Consistency is key here. Do the same things at bedtime, this time should be quiet and dim, letting baby know it’s time to relax. Our bedtime routine was (and still is) warm bath, change, feed, sleep. Make sure you start this early enough to put baby in bed at your selected bedtime.
Make the most of daytime feeds
The more calories your baby gets during the day, the less he or she needs them at night. You want to try to get baby to stretch his feeds to more ounces and less often throughout the day to promote longer times without feeding. You want to feed the amount required for baby to be content for 3-4 hour windows.
Nighttime is ALL BUSINESS
Your baby is cute and all, but at 3 am? Not that cute. Change and feed, then back to bed during each nighttime wake up. We didn’t turn on lights or make eye contact, but you can use your discretion on what works best for you.
Put baby in bed wide awake
When I had B, I was told to rock her for about 20 minutes (or until she was fully asleep) and then put her down. BIG MISTAKE! I was holding her for most of her naps just to keep her asleep, which meant nothing else could be accomplished while she napped. She required lots of transitions to get used to sleeping without help, and it was hard. Fast forward to almost 3 years later- we never rocked Little Man to sleep. He has been putting himself to sleep since night #1 and he has done GREAT! His naps allow me to get things done, such as blogging (he is literally sleeping while I type).
Pay attention to sleepy cues
Look for signs that baby is tired BEFORE crying begins. Every baby is different, but some examples include rubbing eyes, yawning, grunting, overall, just not seeming content. When you notice these, put baby in bed.
It is hard to read a blog and feel like you have a solid plan that really works for your family.
I say it all the time, there is no one right way to be a good parent. Just do what feels right, take advice when it’s given, then go home and change it to fit your family.
This parenting topic is so important to me that, in addition to my blog, I will be offering sleep coaching options tailored to your specific needs. These sessions will take place over the phone, via skype, or in person. This said, I will ask (TONS) of questions and work with you directly to create your personalized family sleep plan!
Fill in your name, email, and briefly tell me what’s happening with baby’s sleep. I will send you all of the information on how we can get started!
Mama, through the exhaustion- remember, you got this! (And if you need an advocate, contact me!)
With Love ♥
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