Chances are if you are reading this, you have a baby and some sleepless nights under your belt. I’ve been there. And to show my sympathy and support and I am going to make this straight forward and to the point.
When I was in my final trimester I think I read about 634 articles and blog posts about baby, sleeping, breastfeeding, pooping, you get the picture. It’s been quiet a while now that I have been able to put all of these things to the test and I can tell you that some people make it WAY too confusing. There’s no need for a printable schedule to get your baby to sleep through the night. It is a BABY after all. So keeping that very important fact in mind, let me tell you the three steps I follow every night to get my baby to sleep in at minimum 6 hour chunks.
- Never let your baby sleep for more than 2 hours at a time during the day.
I know I mentioned there is no way to keep baby on a perfect schedule, but this is just rule of thumb to follow. Baby is likely confused on day and night times. This is how you help her figure it out. Wake baby gently after two hours. I usually scoop my little one up and start with humming and lightly singing to her to stir her. Then I talk to her, maybe set her on the bed and play with her arms and legs. She usually wakes up smiling and then eats after a diaper change. We play for a little bit and about an hour or so into play time she starts to fuss and I know it’s time to go back to sleep. So we rock or I walk around the house with her in my arms and she goes back to sleep. This is the routine we follow almost all day until around 8:30 P.M. The ONLY exception I make to this is the first time she goes back down in the morning. If she wakes up at 6:30 to eat, I may let
myself the baby sleep until 9 ish.
2. Always swaddle your baby at night.
The science behind why we swaddle babies makes this one a no brainer. Babies of course love the tight security a swaddle creates that reminds them of the womb. Babies also have a startle reflex that can wake them up frequently. Have you ever had that feeling that you’ve just gone off the edge of the worlds tallest roller coaster while trying to fall asleep? That happens to your baby. Alot. If my baby isn’t swaddled and you watch for long enough, you can see her little arms kind of flail in the air. This of course wakes her right up. The swaddle keeps this from being so intense for the little ones. I personally used the SwaddleMe Swaddler in the beginning and have recently moved to the Halo Sleep sacks. Both work great and the only reason I switched was because my little one had become strong enough to wiggle out of the SwaddleMe Swaddler. I’ve also heard great things about the Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit but have not tried it yet. I plan to give it a go when we are making the transition OUT of swaddle. As a side note I do not swaddle my baby during the day unless she has a really hard time going back to sleep and is on the verge of being really over-exhausted. In this case I will just to help her get some rest and for me to keep my sanity!
3. Dream feed with morning milk
I mentioned earlier that we keep the same routine going all day until around 8:30. At this time, our little one usually goes down for the night swaddled. Around 10:30 ish, we have our final feeding of the night. I un-swaddle her and she eats. Here’s the big difference. I do not breast feed her. Every morning I pump about 5.5-6 oz for her bottle feeding at night. The morning milk is much richer and has a lot more protein. This will help her get nice and full and sleep for another 6-7 hours. Once shes done eating, I re-swaddle her and we are both down for the night. Happy baby, happy mama :)Be sure to read up on how I doubled my breast milk production in 48 hours in order to keep those morning bottles coming!
Keep in mind that if there is something constantly waking your baby, none of these steps will work. I found early on with Emmy that the cause of her short sleep span was gas. We would eat, she would fall asleep and an hour later she would be up, fussing and pulling her legs to her tummy. I’ve outlined the 5 ways we helped her through her conquer her gas issues here.
I hope at least one of these steps helps you get a better nights sleep. There were alot of tips and tricks I read that do not work for us. For example, so many people suggested having a bed time routine that included a relaxing bath. Our baby gets so worked up and frantic when we get her out of the bath that it was taking us way too long to get her calmed down. Then once she was calm enough to sleep she was hungry and then she was over exhausted and crying more and it was just a big no for us. Again, this is a baby we are working with. Keep doing what works, stop doing what doesn’t seem to take you in the right direction. Follow your baby’s cues and celebrate each tiny step you take in the right direction. You are going to look up one day and realize it’s all just easier and you have figured it out. You’re doing an awesome job as a mom by taking the time to research the best ways to help you baby sleep! Sweet Dreams!