Oh, sweet sleep. I was explaining to my husband the other day that pretty much 94.8% of the things I do each and every day are focused on getting the toddler and baby to SLEEP. Whether it’s getting my toddler to take a nap or making sure nighttime goes as smoothly as possible with the baby, right now my life’s work is making sure we all get enough sleep.
My babies haven’t been naturally awesome sleepers. You know those people who are like: “My baby slept through the night at 3 weeks.” BARF. But, because my girls and I have struggled, I’ve tried a whole lot when it comes to getting sleep in the first 3 months.
I know it seems crazy, but sleep is something your sweet babe has to learn how to do. Remember, she was just snug as a bug in your belly, all warm (and in water – how do we not talk about that more?!) and happy in a consistently safe environment. Now, she’s here where it’s cold and bright and new.
Eventually, she will learn how to fall asleep on her own, but the first 3 months can just plain suck when babe is trying to figure it all out. So, today I’m sharing our sleep must haves for the first 3 months and beyond.
(Oh, and when all else fails? Chalk it up to a growth spurt or a regression and get yourself one of these. And this. And then sweetly reminisce about the days you could just go to bed and sleep all night long.)
What are your sleep must haves? Share the wealth. 🙂
(Thank you to Dockatot for providing their product. As always, all opinions are my own. Post contains affiliated links.)
WHITE NOISE MACHINE When Harper was a baby, I struggled so much getting her to sleep, I was at my wits end and hired a sleep consultant. We ended up sleep training her (read all about that fun here) before I even met with the lady (Oh, Suz.), but she did give me one solid recommendation: this white noise machine. You can change the level of white noise and it’s not too loud.
SWADDLE Both of my babies didn’t love to be swaddled right away. They fought it, so I thought it wasn’t for them. Wrong. I stuck with it and now Ev loves it. We’ve been using this swaddle. It truly is different than other swaddles. It pins baby’s arms down under the swaddle for extra baby burrito power.
BABY SWING This thing is a Godsend in those early morning hours when baby girl has just about had it with sleep and gas and burping. (I swear it builds up all night and by 6 am she’s pretty hard to please.) She finishes up the night in her swing and mama gets to work in her office. Not a bad gig.
BABY BATHTUB (No, don’t let your baby sleep in the bathtub.) I love a scheduled routine, which comes in pretty handy when it comes to sleep. A good nighttime routine is key when you’re trying to get your baby to sleep. We give Ev a bath every night at the same time in this tub, and then move to the nursery for feeding and rocking.
DOCKATOT This is hands down THE best and most used item in our home when it comes to getting baby girl to sleep.Funny story: I ordered the SNOO (at a whopping $1200 price tag. My husband is a trooper.) and had planned on Ev sleeping in that for the first 6 months. Well, after trying it out for 3 weeks, we decided it was a no-go and back it went. I was crushed and convinced I wouldn’t sleep for the next 3 months. Enter: The Dockatot. It looks like a little baby docking station, which is cool, but I couldn’t imagine how it would help baby girl sleep. The first night we used it, she gave us her first 4 hour uninterrupted stretch. I was sold. It’s safe, breathable and free from harmful chemicals and substances. I plan on using our Deluxe Dock until Ev is 8 months old, and then we can move onto the Grand Dock until she’s 3 years old.
“Fool, you think you’re going to get a good night’s sleep ever again?”
We LOVE our Dockatot.
MORE SLEEP TIPS FOR THE FIRST 3 MONTHS:
- It can be easy to rush through the nighttime routine when you’re tired and you want to get to sleep ASAP, but I’ve found that taking the time to make sure all burps are out and baby is calm and ready to go down is super important. That first stretch of sleep is going to be the longest, and that’s the one you want to focus on stretching.
- You need to sleep during that first stretch, too, so make sure it doesn’t happen at 4pm! Ev takes a nap on me in the carrier between 5pm and 6pm, and then is awake by 7pm for her bath. She goes into the Dockatot between 8 and 830pm. (Bedtime will keep moving up as that first stretch of sleep gets longer.)
- Babies are NOISY sleepers. Unless your babe is crying, don’t rush in to pick her up. Most likely it’s gas and will work itself out. Harper grunted in her sleep for the first 3 months and I was freaked out. Everything was fine and it all sorted itself out with time.
- For the first 3 months, try not to worry about setting a precedent. Right now the goal is to GET SLEEP, so you need to do what works. Whether that’s nursing, rocking or bouncing to sleep – DO IT.
- Consistency is KEY. Even if your babe doesn’t like something right away, that doesn’t mean it’s not going to work. They like to call your bluff. Give something a week or 2 to see if it works.
- I know you’ve heard it before, but it truly does GET BETTER. Your sweet babe will eventually sleep longer and you will, too, mama.
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