Baby Sleep

I had a few friends tell to me at how easy Nora was to put to sleep and then they would quietly ask me what my secret was.  I didn't realize what the big secret was but what I have learned about being a new mommy is that there is a lot of strong opinions about anything you do for your children. Before I talk about my baby's sleep story- I just want to say that this just worked for us and I know every baby is different and the best solution is whatever is the best for you and your family.  Nora has been sleeping through the night since she was about 3 months old.  Yes should would wake up in the middle of the night for feedings until around 4-5 months but didn't have much trouble going back to sleep. 

When Nora was first born, I didn't get much sleep at all.  When I was pregnant people would say "Get your sleep while you can." I was also convinced that if the baby co-sleeps with me I would roll on the baby or squish the baby or the baby would love co-sleeping so much that she would never leave my bed.  So I convinced myself that I had to be fully awake in order to nurse her or change her diapers- which meant that I was up all night.  Well that worked for awhile but then I finally fell asleep at the 3 am feeding and I got the best 5 hours of sleep in a row that I had in a long time.  So she would sleep in the swing for her first chunk of sleep and then sleep the rest of the night with me.  I would wake up and she would be all cuddled up and I could tell she was getting and I was getting good rest.  Ok I know people have mixed reviews about the baby sleeping in the swing but it worked for us at the beginning and I also knew that it's a short term solution.  She hated her crib.. hated the bassinet, but she liked the swing.  
I wouldn't call what we did co-sleeping because we never fully committed to it. We had her out of the swing at around 1.5-2 months and she was night sleeping in her bassinet but would still end up in bed with us by morning.  After a few weeks of Nora sleeping with us part of the night she started kicking me in her sleep or keep me all night by nursing.  I know it's important to feed her when she needs or wants it but nursing for 15 minutes then sleeping for 10 minutes then nursing again and sleeping again over and over and over- it's pretty exhausting! It turned into this cycle of no one sleeping.  It was time for her to sleep in her own room and with a monitor of course!  No more tip toeing around our bedroom.  No more whispering.  I would be able to get a real 4-5 hours of sleep with out waking up and feeling panicked because I should be feeding.. changing a diaper or doing something.

The best piece of advice that I received when my baby was first born was when they wake up in the night. Do whatever it takes to keep them sleep.  Don't turn on the light in the room they are in- try the hallway light.  If they need a diaper change warm up the wipes with a little warm water since cold water can wake up the baby even more.  If the baby is hungry- feed the baby where they are sleeping.  If she needs something- diaper change/feeding/binkie- do it quick and then get out of the room before she wakes up.  Most of the time if she wakes up beyond sleep crying because of me making too much noise.  I love cuddling with Nora and she gets as much cuddles, hugs and kisses as she wants but when it's time for sleeping she gets her nightly cuddle before bedtime but during the night it's meant for sleeping and she had to learn how to put herself to sleep. I don't pick her up unless it's necessary. Which was and is HARD! Typically once she got what she needed, she would go back to sleep.

The other best thing we did was have a night time routine. I am not a routine person but my baby is and I just paid attention to her signals. I didn't do this but her sleep cycle was sleeping from 7-12, 12-3, 3-7.  Give or take 30 minutes or so this was her sleep cycle for the first 3 months and slowing the midnight feeding dropped off at around 3 months and then it took some time but around 5 months the 3 am feeding dropped.  Our routine is and still is - we start bath time at around 6:45/7:00- and we do a bath every night.  Not because we have to but Nora loves her bath time.  A bath would calm her down and she loved the warm water. Then she gets a bottle and says goodnight to the pugs and daddy. Until recently we have incorporated story time while she finishes her bottle but we lay her down and she is fast asleep with in 5-10 minutes.  What does that mean for us? We are home by 6:30 every single night.  Even though it might not be convient with making plans but by making Nora's sleep a priority it has created her to have a good nights rest every single night.  Which means Momma getting a good nights rest and I have been able to get back in the studio.  We also have date nights at home which include yummy take out and a movie. 

Our secret to our baby sleeping? We created a firm sleep routine, paid attention to her sleep schedule and don't wake the baby! :) 


Alexa said...

You hit the nail on the head with this post. My daughter is over 2 now (and I'm expecting a boy next month), but this is essentially what we did with her. The first couple of months were ridiculous...she only wanted to sleep in our arms or the swing or the bouncer. My ped recommended a routine with a bath each night. We still do that now and she is a great sleeper. Having your child get the proper rest they need at night is one of the most important things I think!

Anonymous said...

Hi Erika! Thanks for visiting my blog... it's so great to meet another Portland blogger! Yay for having a daughter that is such a good sleeper! I have twin girls and as babies they were night owls just like their Mommy. ;) Hope you're having a wonderful week!

The Dainty Dolls House said...

Both my daughters slept in with us, it was easier with nursing and once they stopped or didn't need feeds as often and fell asleep on their own, we put them in the bed. But, doing what's best for you and the baby is what helped us the most. We got all kinds of advice and were told not to do this or that, but we had to do what worked for us. Getting the baby to sleep all night or close to it helps wonders. Love the baby bed, it's gorgeous x

Outcast said...

This is brilliant advice Erika, sounds like you guys have nailed it on absolutely perfect and that's testimony of how amazing a mother you are.

Johanna said...

Sleep routines makes life so much more normal. My 2 year old is a rock star and my 9 month old sleeps well altho the occasional teething gets her up from time to time. The key is self-soothing - you said it!