Baby sleep. It is SUCH an obsession!
Well, at least it was for me...and maybe you if you're reading this...or you've reached the end of your netflix queue and have nothing else to do, ha!
In this post, I will go over baby sleep from 0-3 months. If you haven't read part 1, then get on with it and then come right back! In Part 1, I go over our sleep story and the methods that we used to get our babies sleeping through the night.
This post will be broken up into two parts: 0-6 weeks and 6 weeks-3 months.
NEWBORN STAGE (0-6 weeks)
Newborns sleep A LOT! Usually people are totally okay with newborn sleep and just let their baby dictate the day. Which is totally cool but for me it was different because my babies were both jaundice. I had to wake them every 2 hours to feed and then put them back to sleep until the next feed. During those feeds, I googled the heck out of baby sleep and once they were at a healthy weight and the jaundice was at bay, I put this stuff into practice and they started sleeping in 5-6 hour stretches.
Here's what worked for us:
SLEEP, EAT, PLAY, REPEAT. You can't really put newborns on a schedule but you can put them on a routine. Try to get in the routine of feeding after they wake up (I'd always nurse 15 mins on each side so they get a good fill).
Then it's awake time, which for newborns should be about 45 mins to an hour max, then it's time to sleep.
SWADDLE. I am a HUGE believer in the swaddle. Newborns have the startle reflex and their arms need to be held down or they'll wake themselves up. These swaddles are my absolute favourites. The velcro ones actually hold their arms down. You can use swaddle blankets but honestly they aren't fun to try to do at 3am. We weaned from the swaddle at 4 months.
DOCKATOT. Luca didn't have a Dockatot but London did. They both were amazing sleepers but I feel like the Dockatot helped London settle easier and she napped way better than Luca did. We took the Dockatot away at 4 months.
WHITE NOISE. It's loud in the womb. It's loud in the hospital. Babies are used to noise. I highly recommend getting a white noise...one that goes all night. It will also help disguise your noise when you sneak into bed! I don't love the one we have (not very durable) but I've heard great things about this one!
HEATING PAD/BOTTLE. During the night I would always pre-heat the bassinet/Dockatot. It helped to keep them calm and settle back into sleep after nursing. Just remember to take it out before you place baby in obvs!!!
SWING/BOUNCER. In the early days, I would nap them in the swing/bouncer a lot. We have an older version of this one. I like it because you can remove it from the swing and take it from room to room. I wouldn't do a swing/bouncer overnight because I'm a bit paranoid.
SOOTHER/PACIFIER. Both my babies weren't big on the soother but they did use it for the first 6 weeks. I remember placing London in the dockatot, and then holding her soother in with one hand while I placed the other on her chest. It got her to sleep very quickly!! I recommend these ones.
GET DAYS + NIGHTS ON TRACK. Often babies get their days and nights mixed up. It's a common thing but it's not hard to fix. During daytime feeds, bring your baby to the living room. Go outside during the day. Talk to your baby while nursing during the day but at night, keep the lights low and your voice quiet.
DARK ROOM. Some babies can sleep through anything but some can't. Mine needed dark to sleep so by two weeks, I usually had them napping in their own rooms with blackout curtains.
WAKE UP AFTER 3 HOUR NAP. I would usually wake them up after 3 hours. If they sleep all day, they'll be up a lot of the night!
6 Weeks to 3 Months
After the 6 week mark your baby technically isn't a newborn anymore (cue all the tears!!!) but they are still little and snuggly! And by this age they are probably awake to the world a whole lot more than they were! This means that sometimes sleep is harder but it isn't impossible. Luca started sleeping 8 hour stretches by 8 weeks and London was sleeping anywhere between 8-11 hours STRAIGHT.
Here's what worked for us:
We kept doing all the things listed above: swaddle, white noise, heated dockatot, but at this point I really tried TO NOT NURSE TO SLEEP.
PUT BABY DOWN DROWSY. As I said above, at this point I really tried to not nurse to sleep. It's a super easy and natural routine but it can bite you in the butt at 4 months when they can't go back to sleep unless they're nursing.
FUSS IT OUT. At this point, I would put them down drowsy but awake and then I'd close the door and wait ten minutes. Often times they'd go to sleep. Other times they'd fuss a bit more and sometimes I'd go in and either nurse again or settle with the soother/hand on chest. If I heard a cry in the night, I would check my clock and then wait TEN minutes before entering. Usually by then, they'd be fast asleep. I never let them cry hysterically at this point, just a soft cry/fuss.
ESTABLISH A BEDTIME + ROUTINE. I'd try to put them down at the same time and wake up 12 hours later. Usually 7-7 at this point but most people do about 8-8 at this age. For routine, we'd do a bath, nurse, cuddle lay down in crib.
MOVE THEM TO THEIR OWN ROOM. We moved both out babies to their own rooms at 7 weeks and they slept waaaay better. I was crazy paranoid but had a video monitor so I could watch them breathe! They could always smell my milk or me tossing and turning would wake them up. For us, we slept way better in separate rooms.
NAPS ARE IMPORTANT. An overtired baby is NOT a fun baby. This chart from Precious Little Sleep is a life saver. At this age we'd usually do 2 out of the 4 naps on the go (car seat, stroller, wrap or carrier).
If you have any questions, please let me know! I'm no expert but I have two babies who sleep through the night ;) I'll be posting part 3 soon!!!