Claire's Sleep Secrets

Since Claire has been born, we've been extremely fortunate to have her on a pretty great sleeping routine.  She basically was sleeping at least one four hour stretch from birth, and that + naps meant that Darrell & I have mostly always been able to get enough sleep to function.  Rested parents = good parents, in my mind.  Although I COULD just say that "we're so lucky" (and of course, I do believe that is a part of it) I've had more than one person ask me what we did to get her sleeping through the night be now, so I thought I would share some of what worked for us!  Read on for the things I think have really made a difference.*  

See those little half open eyes!  

1.  Putting baby down when awake.  

This is something that we've done since Claire was born, so if your kid is already used to being rocked......this is probably a useless tip.  We started putting Claire down in her crib awake when she was a newborn, because they are SO sleepy then that they fall asleep on their own a tad easier.  They might make a little noise, fuss a bit (this is not full on crying) but let them go.  Claire almost always fell asleep on her own without fully breaking into a cry, because like I said, newborns are super sleepy.  I know it's going to be really tempting to let your teeny, precious newborn fall asleep in your arms every time, but try to resist.  It'll create a better bedtime habit for the future.  Now Claire goes down for bed every night when she gets tired (sometime between 8-9:30) on her own.  

2.  Swaddle, and when that stops working, Magic Sleepsuit.  

Claire LOVED being swaddled from birth - in fact, the first two months of her life she didn't really like to be unswaddled at all, which means I have very few pictures of the cute clothes she wore during that time.  I firmly believe that swaddling helped her to sleep for longer stretches because she wasn't startling herself awake, so she only woke up when truly hungry.  Unfortunately, around 2 months old she started breaking out of her swaddle, and then we started to have a little sleep regression.  Re-swaddling a baby at 2 am is not so easy, especially when your eyes are barely open.  I got in touch with the Magic Sleepsuit people around this time and they sent us one to try.  It was instant love.  I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say it's "magic" (maybe it is for some people, I just don't want to make that claim because Claire was already sleeping well) but it definitely works wonderfully as a swaddle transition.  It got Claire sleeping through the night again, and she can't roll over in it because it's so fluffy, so I don't have to be stressed about her sleeping on her tummy.  Some naysayers think that much fabric will make baby too hot, but I can honestly say we've never had that issue, Claire's hands and feet are always quite cool when we get her in the morning.  

3.  If baby is having a bad night, don't be too proud to co-sleep.  

This is SUCH a personal preference and I realize this advice may be controversial, but some nights you just have to cave and let the baby come into your bed.  Claire is sometimes just in need of some closeness, or maybe more frequent nursing, and at that point it's just easier to let her come into bed with us.  We always start Claire off in her crib, but there are of course the random nights that she wakes up at 1, 3, 4:30, etc, and at that point the important thing is really just that everyone gets some sleep.  This advice is connected to my next point: 

4.  Follow baby's cues.  

This might sound insane, but babies are actually pretty smart.  A few anecdotes to prove it:

  Claire was sleeping through the night (8 hours) at about 2 months old.  She did this on her own - no cry it out, she just stopped needing a night feeding.  I figured out that she didn't need that feeding by popping a pacifier into her mouth at 2 am when she normally woke up instead of nursing her, and what do you know, she just started sleeping right through that time.  Then about 2 weeks later, she stopped.  She started needing that pacifier replaced at 3 am, 4:30 am, 6 am, etc.  I was about to lose it - convinced we had sabotaged ourselves by every starting her on the pacifier, we even resorted to trying to let her cry through it, which didn't work at all.  Then, she just stopped.  Started sleeping through the night again no problem.  

A few weeks after that, she started waking up at 4:30 am wanting to eat - nothing else would put her back to sleep.  I was annoyed, because she had dropped her night feeding a month before and now she wanted it again?  What?  But after only a few nights of this, she started sleeping through the night once more.  She just needed an extra feeding for a week or so, to do a little extra growing, and that's fine!  Honestly, it takes 10 minutes to feed her, and she's right back out.  No big deal.  

Currently she's sleeping through the night, but if she has a little regression again I will be choosing to just follow her cues.  She almost always gets over it, and going with her flow has proven to be MUCH easier than attempting to force her back to an uninterrupted night's sleep.  

5.  The Pause.  

When Claire wakes up at night, we wait a minute before picking her up.  This is not cry it out - I'm talking maybe 5 minutes of waiting - but it's an important technique.  We've done this with her since birth (more like 2 minutes when she was a newborn.)  If you pick baby up right when they whimper, I really believe they'll never learn to self-soothe.  Why would they - they've been trained to need you to do it for them!  I would say about 50% of the time, Claire goes back to sleep on her own.  Beyond 5 minutes though, if baby is under 6 months, you can consider any reason they're crying a "need" not a "want," and go pick them up.  

6.  Ignore the things that don't work!  

I cannot tell you how many people have given us the crazy advice of "keep the baby awake, they'll sleep better at night!"  This is just NOT TRUE.  It might be true for a toddler or older baby, but it's definitely not true for an infant.  All this will do is give you a baby that's overtired, and overtired is BAD BAD BAD.  Overtired babies are much harder to get to sleep and beyond cranky.  If an infant needs a nap at 6 pm, and bedtime is at 8:30, do not interrupt the nap.  I repeat: do not interrupt the nap.  As a testimony to this, Claire took a nap from 5-7 last night and then fell asleep at 8:30 pm and slept  until 8:30 this morning.  

*Disclaimer - ALL BABIES ARE NOT ALIKE.  Maybe some, maybe NONE of this will work for your baby.  Maybe your baby needs to cry it out.  Maybe your baby needs to sleep in bed with you full time.  Whatever you do, I place no judgement on where or how your kid sleeps - as long as your family is getting rest, that's all that's important!

Also, we were given a Magic Sleepsuit to try for free, but this post isn't "sponsored."  We actually loved it so much that we went out and bought extras on our own.  

No Comments Yet, Leave Yours!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...