Go the F to Sleep!

When I got pregnant, there was one thing that scared me more than anything else:

Loosing my sleep! I loooooved sleeping in, staying up late to watch “my shows,” and just basically having the freedom to sleep when I felt like it, especially precious naps.

With my first pregnancy, sleeping (for me) was not a problem!

After all, I didn’t have a child to look after (unless you consider my dog who sleeps 23 hours a day) so I slept like a sloth.

If I felt exhausted or run down, I’d nap for a few hours and meet clients at night, which they liked anyway because they worked during the day. It was a wonderful routine.

During pregnancy, your body needs sleep for various reasons because making a baby is exhausting. Not to mention all of the eating you must do in order to grow that baby – Eating can make people tired too!


Throughout this time, I became a “Sanctimommy” before actually having a baby. Yup! ME! I had it all figured out without even meeting my child yet.

“Oh my kid will never sleep in my bed.”

“My baby will go into her crib straight from birth, at her bedtime and that will be it.”

I also said I’d never entertain my kid with an iPad…haha that’s funny too now!


Finally, Baby Comes….

There is that “honeymoon” period where a newborn will just eat, sleep, poop, repeat and for us, this lasted almost 3 weeks. I felt so proud of myself and told everyone how wonderful of a “sleeper” I had.

Sleeping everywhere but the crib!Oh how things look with rose coloured glasses on!

I was already setting myself up for failure because of my high expectations.

She basically HATED sleeping after the three week period ended.

What started out as a blissful motherhood experience turned into total survival mode after the first month:

My husband didn’t want the baby in our bed, neither did I.

He didn’t want her in the bed because he was terrified of rolling over and suffocating her which is legit.

•That can happen to ANYONE no matter how safe you are but co-sleeping during the first 3 months has many benefits so try to come up with a compromise.

So we compromised like this:

I slept on our sectional couch so she could sleep ON ME so she wouldn’t roll off or be smothered. For 6 weeks, we did this for naps and bed time. From her second week or so alive; we began a solid bed time routine with a bath around 6, bottle at 630 and boom! Out by 7 pm.

One downside, I could not move or do much other than lay on my back and binge watch Son of Anarchy or Breaking Bad. If we tried to move her, she would wake up.

This was not great but again, those first few weeks are just about SURVIVAL.

Trying to force your family into a hardcore routine will result in parents screaming at each other about who slept more or less, who did what, who sucks as a parent, etc.


The Real Sleep Solution/Routine:

After 5-6 weeks of sleeping on our couch, I was over it.

READ: Baby’s Fourth Trimester

Babies start “waking up” after the first month ends so she became more alert anyway. The “Fourth Trimester” with those milk drunk, coma-like sleeps do not last forever!

Not to mention, I was practically getting bedsores on my butt from only sleeping in one position all night too.

Get the Book: GO THE FOK TO SLEEP

HOW TO GET YOUR KID IN A CRIB & GO TO SLEEP: NAP TIME

NAPS AT HOME:

You may not like what I have to say on this one but naps in the car seat don’t count for “real” naps. Those types of “out and about” naps are NOT the same type of sleep a baby has in their crib. It sucks I know but if you want this to work, please take my advice so you don’t learn the hard way.

See – I mess up and get to tell you all about it so you can avoid my mistakes!

I made all of these 10 BIGGEST NAPPING MISTAKES

This one is hard because we all have lives but consistency with the Naps being at HOME IN THE CRIB, not in a car or in a stroller if you can try.

You can eventually graduate to taking them out and about but if you really want this to work then unfortunately you need to stay home for naps to build that routine.

READ: How to Avoid the Dreaded “Car Nap”

NAP SCHEDULE:

For the for 6 months, babies typically can only stay awake for 60-90 minutes so expect naps to be along that timeline.

Example: baby wakes at 6:30 am, first nap would be around 8 am.

Afternoon Nap should be longest: 2-3 hours, usually around 11-2pm

Last nap at 4-445pm, then “dinner” bottle, play time etc. until 6 pm depending on naps starting/ending.

Sleep Guide From Parenting Ace


“NIGHT-NIGHT!”

READ: Sleeping Through The Night

We wanted to start a bedtime routine as soon as possible so we started early with the bath routine at 2 weeks old, gradually to a full bedtime routine by the end of the 1st month.

Bedtime Routine Should Start at 5:45/6:00 pm: We choose to bathe our babies every night, not out of necessity but for their hygiene, comfort and relaxation.

No judgement here from me if you choose not but here is why I do bathe every day, a Mommy Friend said this to me when I had my first child:

“Think of all the milk dropping down their necks and poop, pee, etc. Wouldn’t you want a bath every night?”

ME: Good Point! Not to mention “Daycare Dirt.”


Read a story, play a little lullaby with the lights down low or off: For sleeping & bonding; this worked VERY well for us. It is still a big part of our bedtime routine.

Get baby ready to sleep with some milk but not a FULL BOTTLE: we learned this the hard way! Overfeeding a baby actually hinders their ability to sleep because they are just too full. Dinner should not be part of their “bedtime routine.”

Make sure room isn’t too hot: We all worry about our babies getting cold but they are actually MORE likely to overheat than to freeze!

Get a Fan & Humidifier: white noise, circulating air and nice moisture for baby to avoid a dry mouth as most babies sleep with their mouths open.

This leads to a Dry Mouth…..

Then they “Need a Drink,” so they wake up!

Nothing crazy – just a simple $10 fan and Humidifier like this one!:

BUT PLEASE…..

Do not even bother with “Sleep Training” if they are sick, just had their shots or teething badly.Just throw all of this advice out the window and snuggle your baby as much as they need.

The best medicine is a Mama’ or Papa’s LOVE and Skin to Skin.


Sleep Training? Cry it Out? What’s the Difference?

Only when baby is healthy, well fed, washed/changed and was not recently vaccinated or teething should you establish a “Sleep Training” solution.

We made some BIG mistakes at first while trying to get our kid to sleep through the night.

Our first child didn’t sleep thru the night until 10 months old because of our mistakes like over-feeding, wrong types of formula and switching it, not burping enough and over-reacting to her hunger cues but not her “I’m tired” ones.

What you read above about getting into the crib happened around 5 weeks old but actually “sleeping through the night” was another beast of burden:

  • We Overfed with the bottle which led to gas and bloating: Our mothers told us “just feed the baby until she sleeps” so we did, thinking “feed the baby” was the way to make her sleep.
  • We listed to advice like adding oatmeal or other fillers to the bottle. For us, it only worsened the problem of bloating and overfeeding.
  • Make sure you have the RIGHT SIZE nipples for your baby bottles: we used the same size throughout her first year, not knowing you need to go up in sizes as they grow.
  • Using a newborn nipple for a 3 month old is NOT GOOD. They suck too hard, get too much air, not enough food, get gassy.
  • By 6 months, babies shouldn’t need to eat thru the night but we continued thinking she was hungry but she was really just “addicted to the routine”
  • According to our Doctor, we had become slaves to her “old” routine. She created her “own” by waking up all night like a newborn does because she was addicted to the comfort of the bottle.

She couldn’t “self-soothe” because we hadn’t taught her yet!


“Self-Soothing Tools”

These are things babies can use to create their OWN ability to associate things with actual bed time and sleep.Some websites say these are “Props” as well but come on, babies need SOMETHING.

Personally, I sucked my thumb and had a “blankie” until 9 years old….my thumb was my “something” for a little too long 🙂

Here are some of the things we did for our babies to help them LEARN how to sleep on their own, in their crib:

  • Elements of nap or bedtime routine: a warm bath, PJ’s, talking in a lower tone or humming
  • White noise: we use a basic $10 fan which is nothing special but cannot live without
  • Swaddling: didn’t do this with 1st but 2nd loved to be swaddled up tight.
  • Pacifiers only if they can re-insert or that stay put: both babies use pacifiers at night. My oldest had two – one for her to actually suck and the other to “self soothe” by rubbing it on her cheek which simulates Mommy/Daddy rubbing her cheek.
  • Used one of my T-Shirts worn all day so she could smell me as a “blanket/lovie”: This worked INCREDIBLY well for my girlfriend and then it worked for me too!
  • Lovies”: soft stuffed animal/blanket thing kids love:

  • Their Room & Crib: turn the lights out or down low, setting the atmosphere: both babies will ONLY sleep alone now. My oldest has never asked to sleep with us and on the rare occasion we have had to share a bed, she doesn’t sleep well and neither do we.


Things We Did “Right:”

  • We implemented a solid bedtime routine REALLY early so I’ll pat myself on the back for that one lol.
  • By 5-6 months, we introduced REAL SOLIDS by using this chart. Do not be afraid to get creative either!

  • These are wonderful “starters” but as babies age, add in your own mashed veg and fruit for more density/calories
  • Offer at least 3-4 times a day along with bottle/breast. If bottle fed, make sure you use the right sized nipples!
  • Do not stop formula/breast until 1 year of age no matter how much “real” food your baby eats.

Try a Mambo Baby Feeder for fruits and veg if you don’t want to purée or cook but don’t want them choking either!

These are hard to find, I found mine at Sobey’s (only in store) in Canada for $8.99.

Do NOT buy the Mesh Ones unless you are ok paying $10 for a one use only thing. They never washed well for me after one use.

7 month Baby girl LOVES Banana’s and her “favourite” Breakfast: some Oatmeal with a little peanut butter or Kefir mixed in.


Our Actual Sleep Training Method:

And I don’t mean “cry it all out” either….

  • You have to be a team for Sleep Training because it can be emotionally difficult to hear your child cry and one parent will always want to go in, take baby and rock to sleep.
  • How does baby like to sleep? On the tummy? On her back? My babies are both “tummy sleepers” and that is ok.
  • If they can roll over, lift their head from side to side, you should try tummy sleeping because most babies hate sleeping on their backs.
  • Simply put: I let both babies past 5 months, cry it out (or just be awake and cooing) for 3/5 min and then I go in, reassure with a rub on cheek/face/back and leave.
  • They were usually out by 10 min. The longest was 40 minutes with my older, “spirited” child.
  • If it takes longer, which it did with my first daughter, don’t give up. It took us 3 days to accomplish this and tons of going back and forth, reassuring.
  • No MATTER WHAT: do not take baby out of crib or turn on lights. Just a rub on the back, don’t really talk, just “shhh” and leave.
  • My oldest responded to this really well and By Day 3, managed to sleep 10 hours straight vs. Waking up every 3 hours for a bottle.
  • Our 2nd baby actually figured out our routine and went to bed In her crib by 8 weeks (this time I did breastfeed and did sleep on the couch willingly for various reasons like prematurely waking a 3 year old)
  • Both kids did require the same “Sleep Training” but the 2nd was by far easier because she just fell into the routine already established with our oldest child.

What about “PROPS?” Or Real “Cry It Out?”

“A sleep prop is something a child associates with sleep that requires you and your presence, or is something that a child can’t control on their own”. From A Mother Far From Home

Remember how I said “Naps at Home?”

Babies LOVE routine and they are looking to you for guidance.

Just placing them in a crib, walking away and letting them cry until they pass out accomplishes NOTHING other than breaking the emotional bond of trust they so desire!

When I read this article and realized some of my errors which hindered my daughters ability to “self-soothe:”


Sleep props can become quite addictive (hence why my first child required a bottle every three hours to settle back to sleep)

All babies need to learn how to “self soothe” and fall asleep on THEIR OWN without the use of “Props”

Props can be considered as:

  • nursing to sleep,
  • rocking to sleep,
  • pacifiers if they can’t re-insert them,
  • car rides to settle, or
  • swings or vibrating chairs (if they won’t sleep anywhere else but there)

Another valuable resource I used:

Sleep Training Solutions


Final Thoughts:

Happy baby after a nap! She loves her “body pillow.”
I’ve been asked a few times if I provide a pillow & blanket in the crib. My answer is yes but it’s this longer, hard one like a body pillow. She uses it in a variety of ways but mainly it’s preventing her from sticking her hands out of the corner of the crib or smacking her head at the top while she sleeps.
Nowadays it also gives her something to “play” with when she wakes up which gives us another 15-20 minutes of precious sleep.
I highly recommend the fans FOREVER as for us, it blocks out the noises each other makes when we wake up or move around, or talk. I advise Trying one if you want to drown out noise and provide that “white noise” for baby. It works!
As for the blanket, I do use one on her but again, only you know if your baby is ready to have one. She can pull it off her face because she knows how to but it’s also not that big because a big, heavy blanket isn’t the best for babies.
Good luck friends!

Remember: if all else fails, make sure you nap when they do.

NEVER wake a SLEEPING BABY! (Unless you are actually ordered to do so by a Medical Professional.)

❤️

3 thoughts on “Go the F to Sleep!

  1. Miss A says:

    She look so peaceful and cute ! Mine doesn’t have trouble falling asleep but I’m still waiting for the first night when she sleeps through without a feed..zzz. Happy days, give me coffee

    Like

  2. Krystal Sullivan says:

    Okay, this is the ULTIMATE sleeping guide. Wish I had this advice when Jordan and Charlie were younger! And you know I’m gonna have to buy that book now, lol!

    Liked by 1 person

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