Before Leo was born, I did a lot of research on how to get the baby to sleep. I was a little nervous about how much sleep I was going to get and I didn’t want to be so exhausted that I couldn’t enjoy his newborn days. I needed a couple (or a couple hundred) tricks up my sleeve incase he was having trouble sleeping!! Well…I quickly realized you can plan ahead as much as you want, but you can never really be fully prepared for what’s to come. Luckily, my preparedness failed in a good way. I was worrying for nothing! Leo has been a great sleeper (most of the time) and I would even find myself wide awake even when he was sleeping (I’m guessing from all the adrenaline). Lo and behold, there have definitely been a few nights that just aren’t as easy as others. These are the nights where I took out my bag of tricks and tested them out. Some worked and others didn’t, so I thought I would share my 5 tips to getting baby to sleep.
Naps, Naps & More Naps
I read that for the first 6-8 weeks babies aren’t able to stay awake more than 2 hours at a time. If they are awake longer than that, they may be getting overtired. One of the biggest reasons babies can’t get to sleep and cry instead is because they are overtired. This is your time to get those long lasting sleeping snuggles in while they last!! If your babe is beyond the 2 hours of awake time, try looking for signs that they are sleepy, like rubbing their eyes, pulling on their ears or acting more fussy than usual. Then try some of these tips to get them to sleep!!
While my preference is to have Leo skin to skin, sleeping on my chest or in my arms, let’s be real…we can’t do that for every nap. I try to get one skin to skin nap in a day (as well as Justin) but otherwise Leo is on his own in his bassinest or in his MamaRoo. Swaddling has been praised and poo-poo’d, so I think this is one of those things where you need to follow your parental instincts. Some babes may love it, some may hate it, but if it works (like it does for Leo) then roll with it!!
Distinguishing Day & Night
Leo has started (almost) sleeping through the night already, waking up only once on his own for a feeding. Now don’t get me wrong, this is not EVERY night…but we have been making an effort to play with him and keep him ‘active’ while he is awake in the day and when it is night time to keep activity low as well as the lights and noise so that he recognizes this routine and hopefully I’ll be sleeping through the night some day soon!
Putting Baby To Sleep While They Are Still Awake
Leo is still a little young for this step, as he falls asleep so easily on his own but this is a tip that I plan to use with him (if he let’s me!!!). Putting your baby down to sleep while they are still awake so that they don’t get used to falling asleep in your arms and rather recognize their bed as their sleepy place. Ok, I haven’t really been able to practice this yet, so I can’t fully endorse it right now but I know of friends that used this technique and after a few days of practicing, it took them no time at all to get their babes to sleep.
Fill ‘Em Up Right Before Bedtime
This may make more sense when Leo is not eating as frequently as he is now (he is a feeding MACHINE!!) but I always make sure he gets a good feed in right before bedtime so that he is not waking up from hunger. If your babe is having trouble sleeping longer periods of time you may want to try limiting their feedings in the evening and then fill ’em up right before bedtime!! This way their tummy will feel full longer.
These are all tips and suggestions and by no means will they work 100% of the time but I love the idea of parents sharing their experiences and what has worked for them so other parents can try them if needed and hopefully benefit from! I realize Leo’s sleep patterns will change over time and what is working for him now may not work down the road, so I’m hoping you all will let me in on your own parenting secrets along the way!!!