sleep in heavenly peace
“your baby is so cute! how old is she? are you sleeping at all? HAHA!”
thank you, she’s two months, and yes, i’m actually sleeping fine.
we just celebrated storie’s two month birthday on sunday, and we celebrated her sleeping 8 hours straight through the night two days prior. i am NOT a baby expert by ANY means, but i can’t help but share what has worked for us in regards to storie's schedule and getting her to sleep at night. we follow adaptations of the principles outlined in the book “baby wise”, which i highly recommend reading. brandtly and i don’t follow everything to a tee; we adjust to what works best with our schedules and storie's personality. however, having this book blueprint our schedule (and yes, babies NEED a schedule!) has been a complete lifesaver. i really haven’t gotten less than 6 hours of sleep since she’s been born. she wakes up once a night and then goes right back to sleep. she naps for 2-3 hours at a time during the day, which gives me the opportunity to complete calligraphy orders, run errands, make dinner, etc. maybe i was blessed with an angel baby, but i believe that it has more to do with nurture than nature :) here is what we do with our sweet storie:
1. no co-sleeping. harsh, i know. it may be tempting to snuggle up with your newborn and it may be terrifying to have them more than two inches away from you at all times, but having storie sleep by herself has worked out wonderfully for us. she sleeps in her moses basket. this functions as a portable bassinet and we keep it in our room right next to our bed because she is still so young. we can hear her right when she wakes up, but she is very much separate from us when she sleeps. this has taught her skills of self-soothing and independence. she doesn’t need brandtly or myself to hold her or lay next to her for her to fall asleep and stay asleep. this is huge because newborns sleep SO much— can you imagine if you were completely chained to them for the 18 accumulative hours that they sleep per day? she can fall asleep almost anywhere when it’s time for her to nap: in the car, in her basket, in her swing, etc. there are times where i have napped next to her or fell asleep with her on top of me as we cuddle, but it is not habitual and not necessary for her to get some shut eye.
2. follow a pattern. i shy away from using the word “schedule”, because babies are babies and life is life and you can’t always follow something so strict and rigorous. but there DOES need to be a pattern: feed, wake, sleep. this pattern repeats itself every 2-4 hours for the first two (ish) months of your baby’s life, always in this order, each step right after the other. when your baby wakes up, you immediately feed him or her. this takes anywhere from 30-60 minutes when they are still so young. after they eat, keep them awake. this is beneficial for several reasons. one, it gives their sweet little tummies time to settle. they can spit up, go to the bathroom, and have time to thoroughly digest their meal and get comfy for nap time. it’s not fun for you or for them if they can’t sleep because their stomach hurts. two, it makes them SUPER tired! this makes the next step of the pattern, sleep, so much easier. because you have kept them awake, they will be exhausted and sleep long and hard during their nap. they will then wake up nice and hungry for feeding time! if you decide to breastfeed, they will eat more efficiently and give you proper stimulation to continue to produce enough milk.
i can’t recommend this enough! when storie cries, i pretty much know exactly what is wrong with her because we follow this pattern. if she cries thirty minutes into her wake time, i know that she must be fussing because she’s tired, because that’s the next step. i can then make the decision to swaddle her, give her her binky, and help soothe her so she is able to fall asleep. if she wakes up crying, she’s obviously upset because she’s hungry (I DO THIS, TOO) and i can immediately feed her. parenting really doesn’t have to be a hopeless guessing game; you CAN make things easier on yourself and your baby!
3. i pretty much exclusively breastfeed. it’s free, has antibodies to keep her healthy, doesn’t require any prep or storage, and allows me to connect with my baby. MY body can be OUR body. i love that!! i say “pretty much” because we do choose to give her a bottle of formula after she breastfeeds for her last feed of the day, usually around 9:30 or 10:00 PM. we decide to do this for several reasons: my milk production seems to decrease towards the end of the day, and i want to make sure she has enough to eat. i don’t want her to get hangry. THAT’S THE WORST. also, our pediatrician told us that the best way to help your baby to sleep is to pack them full of calories! this extra boost of milky goodness helps her sleep a little bit longer and helps her grow nice and strong. again, this is totally a personal decision that we have found works best for the three of us. to each their own :)
4. swaddle dem babies!! i sometimes forget this little tip and always feel like i’m shooting myself in the foot when i do. wrapping them up nice and tight in a soft blanket—besides being hecka comfy— keeps their little bodies nice and tight as well. storie is a KICKER and loves to have her arms up so she can suck on her fists (weirdo). however adorable, the downside is that movement of these little limbs can wake them up. when she’s wrapped up, she literally can’t move and she’s forced to just sleep. plus, it’s probably so toasty and warm for them!!! low-key wish someone would swaddle me. brandtly? anyone?
5. make them nap in sleeping conditions that aren’t “ideal”. since the day we brought her home, i made it a point to have the lights on whenever she napped, whether it be in the kitchen, our room, or her room, so that she would learn that when it was dark, it was nighttime and that’s when you STAY asleep. it would be tricky if your baby needed total darkness and/or silence to sleep and the slightest deviance would wake them! storie can sleep pretty much anywhere. i’m able to full on vacuum in the sam room that storie sleeps in and she won’t budge.
6. find a nighttime system that works for you and your partner! i’ve heard of couples trading nights, splitting the nights into shifts, etc. just find something that you both agree on and is equally beneficial! for me and brandt, he’s naturally more of a night owl and i’m more of an early bird. after i feed storie for the last time for the day, i go right to sleep. he stays up with her until she falls asleep (usually an hour or so) since he doesn’t have to get up and feed her. then when she wakes up for the day (usually around 6:00 or 7:00 AM), i feed her and take care of her so that he can sleep! this works for us; it might be a horrendous idea for you and your partner. just find what works so that you two can be on the same page and expectations are clear.
AGAIN, i am in no way a baby expert. but i am not a sleep-deprived zombie mom that so many people expect as the norm, either! i wrote this post only with the hopes that it can help another cute mom with the overwhelming task of taking care of a tiny human. i’m interested to know how/if these same steps work for you and your family. if not, let me know what does! it takes a village to raise a child, and there is no reason it can’t be a virtual village. let me know what helps you and your babe sleep in heavenly peace.