Sleep- the one thing parents always seem to say they need more of, especially in those early kid years. When I first became a mom, I had people come up to me and say things like, “You must be so tired.” But I actually wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, those first couple weeks are ROUGH in the sleep department, but it got better very quickly. My son was sleeping 10-hour stretches at night by 6 weeks old. My daughter just turned 2 months old and she typically does 7-10 hour stretches at night. So, I want to share with you the things I do (or don’t do) to promote better night time sleep habits for my babies.
Stimulate during awake times.
When you baby is awake, that’s their time to play! Change up their location and the textures & sounds they encounter when awake to make the most of their awake time. We all know in those early months, they seem to be asleep more than they are awake.
Don’t pick them up & feed them whenever they make a single noise at night.
Babies make a lot of noises when sleeping. It could even sound like they are fussy, but that’s all normal & it does not mean they’re awake or that they’re wanting milk. Give them a minute and most likely, it means they were changing sleep cycles and are still sound asleep. A lot of times, new moms grab their babies after every noise they make thinking it means they’re hungry, but that’s not the case! You’ll learn your baby’s hungry cues pretty early on.
Lay down groggy to help self soothing.
Helping teach your baby to self-soothe at an early age is important, especially as you have more kids and can’t rock them all to sleep for 1+ hours; it’s just not feasible. If you lay your baby down when they’re tired and almost asleep, it’ll give them a chance to soothe themself the rest of the way. Obviously, if your baby is crying and super fussy, they need you so that’s not the time to try this.
Begin crib naps early on.
Getting your baby used to a crib early on will make the transition out of a bassinet and into a crib much easier! And if the first few times they only do 10-15 minutes, that’s okay! It’s a start and those naps in the crib will only get longer and longer.
Move to crib at night early on.
With my son, we moved him into a crib in his own room around the time he started sleeping through the night. I heard from someone once that you and your baby will both sleep better, so it’s not a bad thing to move them into their own room earlier than you’re told.
Don’t be afraid to make noise during their naps.
It’s actually going to benefit your baby for you to make noise during their naps. You want a baby that can sleep through loud noises and the best way to do that is to start getting them used to loud noises early on! An easy one is vacuuming while they nap or having them outside while your spouse mows the lawn. Having a baby that can sleep well through loud noises will be worth it as they get older!
Don’t sleep train.
So many kids will only sleep in certain conditions. For example, dark room, their own crib, sound machine on a certain sound, etc. And don’t get me wrong, these things will help your baby sleep better! But, if your baby relies on these things so heavily, they will learn to sleep only with these conditions. But the hard thing is, it will not always be possible to have all these conditions. For example, at a hotel, on vacation, at a grandparent’s house, etc. Get them used to not needing these things to make sleep better for years to come!
Get all the calories in before bed.
Babies will tend to cluster feed before bed. What they’re doing is “bulking up” so they can go longer stretches at night. This is normal and is a good thing!
If you don’t agree with all these things, that’s okay! Remember, every baby is different! These things worked to get both my babies to sleep well at night, but that doesn’t mean these things are the only things that work for every child. Ultimately, everything I do to help my babies is for their benefit, helping them sleep better and also for me to sleep better. We all want good sleep for the whole family. 🙂
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