Something that I will tell every new mom – the hardest part does not happen in the hospital. No no, by far the most difficult part of being a new mom is successfully taking care of a newborn in a zombie-like, sleepless state with craziest hormones you’ve ever experienced. It’s a wild ride especially after going weeks with two middle of the night feedings and no REM sleep. There are a lot of moments of helplessness and loneliness, and I often felt discouraged and overwhelmed. Will I ever sleep again? I wasn’t sure how it was going to happen, but I was determined to get sleep as a new mom. It took educating myself and a little mom intuition to get there, but we made it happy before Benentt hit three months old. See how we were able to get Bennett sleeping through the night with the newborn sleep tips in the full post.
Keep Reading Newborn Sleep Tips
1. Create a Schedule
From the very beginning, I knew that I wanted to use a daily feeding and sleep schedule, and I was prepared to stick to it. I read both Babywise and Moms on Call after two of my close friends had success with the suggested newborn schedules in those books. We have been using the Moms on Call feeding and sleeping schedule since we got home from the hospital, and I refer to this book religiously when I have any questions on feeding or sleeping. It does require dedication, and I stuck to the routine almost exactly for the the first two months. Bennett has gotten to the point where he can basically predict when it’s time to wake up from his naps!
2. Stimulation Before Night Time Routine
Before we start his nightly routine, we try to make sure that he has exerted enough energy to be tired. This usually means tummy time or interacting with him on his play mat. Anything that encourages him to be active rather than just sitting in a bouncy seat or in lounger will mean he’s going to go down more easily at bed time.
3. Create a Calming Night Time Routine
We created a soothing bedtime routine for Bennett, and we do it every single night. Our routine goes as follows:
Activity Time – Bath Time – Feeding – Soothing Time
We started bath time almost immediately every single night as a signal that it’s time for bed. It also helped him get used to water and being wet. By the time we moved him from the sink to the tub, he LOVED bath time which makes our nightly routine very calming and enjoyable for him now. During bath time, we put on the heater, the least bright bathroom light, and play calming music. (Highly recommend Disney Lullabies station on Spotify.) During bath time, we try not to have on any bright lights or loud television noises going on in the house. This way everything is calm as we walk him from the bathroom to his room.
In the beginning, we used this flower bath pad in the sink and now use it as a changing pad in the bathroom. We lay his hooded towel down on top of it, and that’s where we dry him off and put on his pajamas. We do this in the bathroom with the lights on because once we go into the nursery, all the lights will be off.
White Noise Only + Cool Temperature
We do the very last feeding of the day in his nursery with the lights off and his white noise machine on. The only light is his Hatch light on the lowest setting. We also turn down the temperature in the house so that he will be nice and cozy warm in his swaddle/sleepsuit.
4. Try Out Different Swaddles
Cannot recommend enough the importance of trying different swaddles. I literally registered for every single kind of swaddle out there! (See my FULL Amazon registry post here.) What works for one baby is not going to work for all babies! We had to try several different ones before we found the ONE swaddle (SwaddleMe) that worked for Bennett, and even then, he hated being swaddled. He would kick and swing his way out of even the velcro ones. Once he reached the weight minimum, we moved him to the Magic Merlin sleepsuit, and it has been a miracle product for us. He loves being able to move his legs and arms around.
After feeding and burping him, I put him in his sleepsuit and then give him a little bit more to eat. Once he is in the suit, that little bit of extra milk puts him OUT like a light. And if not immediately out, I’ll rock him a little bit longer to soothe him.
5. Solve Baby Tummy Issues
I did an in-depth post on our decision to use baby probiotics, but ultimately consult your pediatrician. And if you still have questions after reading this post, feel free to email me! Solving Bennett’s tummy and gut issues sped up his ability to sleep through the night. We started probiotics at two months and will be using it until six months.
6. Pick Up Cues
Is he crying because he is actually hungry? Or crying because he woke up naturally between sleep patterns?
This was actually something that Jordan discovered when I went out of town which then immediately led to Bennett sleeping through the night at 11 weeks. I had been getting up with Bennett every night for that middle of the night feeding, I just assumed that he was crying because he was hungry. So while mom was out of town, Dad popped the pacifier in his mouth instead of immediately feeding him. And guess what, he fell back asleep and didn’t wake up again until 6 am. He wasn’t hungry. I kicked myself because both books said this would happen, but I didn’t realize it would be so fast! So since then, we have dropped the middle of the night feeding. If he wakes up and cries, we give him his pacifier. Nine times out of ten, he goes back to sleep only to wake back up in the morning.
Setting babies on a schedule WORKS, y’all, but you have to be diligent and patient with it. It’s not only helpful for babies to be able to anticipate what’s next, it also prevents day/night confusion. Once they get into the rhythm you set for them, they adjust and adapt to it!
That’s it! Those are all the steps that we took to start sleeping through the night. If you have any questions at all, feel free to to email me or reach out on Instagram!
Photo by Lainey Reed