Ok, so I’m no sleep expert and trust me when I say by far do I get a good nights sleep but I get sleep. TJ had asked me from the get-go to sleep train Jasper. I told him he’s too newborn to be on a schedule when he was first born but we would get to it after a couple of months.
Babies need to feed every 2-3 hours in the first few weeks of life. Getting adequate sleep was not really an option. Jasper had issues gaining weight in his early weeks. As a result, he would sleep through a feeding. I literally had to set up a timer and do everything I could to wake him up to try to feed him (unswaddle, undress, tickle his feet, turn on the light, cold towel, you name it!). I thought he was the perfect sleeper because I was the one needing to wake him up. This was not the case.
About 4-5 weeks in, he started to adequately gain weight and sleep regression set in. No more were the nights we could get away with 4-5 hours uninterrupted. It was like every 2 hours he would wake up. Wake. Feed. Sleep. I was exhausted.
I am a lover of cobedding. Although this may be frowned upon, it works for us, for our family, and it feels natural. I won’t let anyone shame us for it. I love the closeness and the ease of night time feedings. Your babies won’t cuddle you forever (Kato just started to distance himself from cuddling and he is six years old). Enjoy the cuddles while you can.
Around 7 weeks I decided we could start some type of sleep “training”. I wanted my bed back, I wanted my sleep back, I wanted to be able to cuddle with TJ without worrying if the baby was going to fall out of bed.
I read article after article, tip after tip, poked my nose in a baby sleeping book or two. There were many consistencies and so I took the most consistent tips and applied them.
Consistently I read to swaddle your baby to create a womb-like experience and to protect the baby from waking himself up with his newborn reflexes.
I got mixed messages from the public health nurse about swaddling and apparently you should swaddle but allow your baby to touch his face. From what I understood, the jerk-like movements act as a SIDS prevention for babies.
Jasper is a squirrely baby (best way I could describe his movements) and he never stops moving.
A tight swaddle worked best for us. The tighter the better. We love the Halo sleep sack swaddle. It works the best for us. Jasper loves a good swaddle and he has the strongest little arms and this keeps him nice and tight.
2.) White noise
This was also consistently mentioned in the various articles and books I’ve read.
Personally, I can fall asleep under any thunderstorm, that’s my jam. Jasper, not so much.
We use the Natural Dohm White Noise Machine by Marpacusa. This runs from when we start our bedtime routine until we wake up in the morning.
However you do it, whether it be by white noise machine, app, or YouTube, white noise definitely helps drown out any noise or conversations we have in our room where his crib is.
Set up a bedtime routine. Doesn’t matter what it is or what order you do it in but keep it the same.
We do a bath and a feed before bed. This starts at approximately 7:00pm – 7:30pm and bedtime is 8:00pm. Bedtime used to be 9:00pm but after experimenting between 8pm or 9pm, we found that the earlier bedtime yielded a slightly better outcome. We usually try to keep Jasper up for an hour to 90 minutes before bedtime.
However you choose to train your baby– crying it out, no-cry method, etc.. keep it consistent! Consistency is key and will help your baby make sleep associations. Jasper loves his swaddle and white noise (static noise and not thunderstorms). He will cry while putting him into his swaddle but once he is in the sack and the white noise is on, he tends to calm down. I did the cry method with Kato and while it worked, it hurt me to hear him cry so much. Jasper we will let cry for a minute or so but I usually try to get to him within that first minute or two.
5.) Daytime naps are sooo important
Newborns nap all the time but I have found after 3 weeks, your baby may not nap anymore on his own. You actually have to learn how to put your baby down for a nap. Do not skip these naps thinking that if you baby stays up longer they will be more tired at night. HUGE MISTAKE. Better daytime naps make for better night time sleep. Seems counterintuitive but it’s the truth.
“The night is the hardest time to be alive and 4am knows all my secrets.”Poppy Z. Brite
We started our bedtime routine around 8 weeks and tracked for two weeks:
- Day 1 – 3 fills hours spent swaddling and shushing and rocking and putting down. Result – 3 hours uninterrupted sleep 9pm bed time
Day 2-3 – 2 hours spent swaddles and shush – result – 2 hours of sleep 9 pm bed time
Day 4 – 1 hour of shush – 4 hours of sleep 8pm bed time
Day 5 – 30 mins of swaddle and shush result – 5 hours of sleep 8 pm bed time
DAy 6-11 – 1 -2 hours of swaddle and shush – 3.5 to 4.5 hours of sleep 8pm bed time
Day 12 – shots woke up every hour for 3 hours. 1.5 hours of sleep. Cobed for rest of night
Day 14 – 15 min of shush. Result – 4 hours of sleep. 9pm bedtime.
Fast forward. We had been doing this for nearly a month and it’s been a total game changer. Jaspers bedtime is 8pm. Will usually get up within an hour, we will wait 5 minutes to see if he will settle himself. If not, I will give him a feeding after rubbing his chest or head for a minute or two. Then he will sleep until 1 or 2 am for another feeding until waking for a diaper change around 5-6am. Another feeding until I either get up around 9 or if I’m feeling lazy, we lay in bed until 11am. Either way, our sleep life has changed so much and I never thought I would feel so “rested”. Well worth investing the time to sleep “train” your baby.
Some nights we still wake up every 2-3 hours and that’s ok. It’s not perfect but it’s progress and we are getting closer and closer to that full night sleep every day 💕