This is a sleep post. About babies and sleep. More specifically, about MY baby and sleep! :)
I want to start off by saying the reason for this post is two-fold. First of all, if we decide to have another baby, I want to remember what I did to get Hannah to sleep! The second reason is because so many people have asked me what I do to get her to sleep and I hope to help someone. I also want to say that it might not work for everyone. It is simply what we do. It is what I have done with all three of my kids and it works for us!
When Hannah was first born, the first few weeks were TORTURE!!! She HATED to be swaddled so I didn't swaddle her. She would sleep all day long and be awake all night...you know the brand new baby routine. Hannah would wake up as soon as you laid her down. There were several nights when she would be awake for several hour stretches. It seemed like I fed her all night long and I was up some nights from 12-5 or 6. It was just awful!
We finally went to the pediatrician and she gave us some reflux meds. That same night I decided that part of what was waking her was her startle reflex so I swaddled her. It was like a brand new baby. Oh, we also got a wedge for the bed! She slept in 3 hour increments and went right back to sleep!! WAHOO!!! She did that for about 2 weeks with each stretch seeming to be longer and longer. At about 5 or 6 weeks she was sleeping 6 and 7 hours at a time. The first time she slept "through the night" was from about 9:30-5:00! It was AWESOME!! She did it consistently after that and now sleeps from 8:30/9:30-5:00 and sometimes as late as 7:30. She also usually goes right back to sleep after her early morning feeding which is nice. I will blog about what we do and our routine in a second but first...
WE HAVE SERIOUS DAYTIME SLEEPING ISSUES!!! Serious! Hannah is a super fussy baby in general. She is getting better but there are times when she just screams and I have no idea why. I do feel like I am starting to "know" her better and can tell the difference between when she is in pain with tummy troubles or sleepy or hungry. Her sleepy cry and hungry cry are very similar but I have realized that she is not hungry all of the time but she is sleepy a lot of the time when she is crying hysterically. During the day, we are in survival mode. She might get a good 2 hour stretch in her bed at some point during the day and she might not. I do have to swaddle her in the bed though or she will not stay asleep. She recently started liking her swing and will fuss herself to sleep in it. She likes movement and to be bounced and she will almost always fall asleep in the car after what seems like an eternity of screaming (she hates the car seat but that's another post for another day)!! So...I don't feel like I can complain too much because she sleeps so great at night but sometimes our days are filled with screaming and tears and frustration!
Okay, I mentioned that the first few weeks were rough and I will admit, we survived...that's what our "routine" was. I will tell you that we co-slept (something that scares the tarnation out of me), we slept in the recliner with me holding her, we fell asleep nursing in her room...we slept just about in all kinds of situations. Life was rough...I will not lie. But, after she got the hand of it and we got things straightened out, we were on a roll. :)
I try my hardest to keep Hannah awake after 7:00 PM. Sometimes that is extremely hard because of her poor sleeping habits during the day but I only let her sleep for maybe 30 minutes if she does sleep after 7:00. During the day, I wake her if she is asleep after 3 hours to eat. We are on a 3 hour eating schedule during the day. Sometimes I feed her a little early but I try to wait until at least 2 1/2 hours. She is doing pretty good on this schedule. I will take tonight for an example for you. It's been a rough sleeping day. She ate at 6:30 PM. I wanted her to take a nap but she didn't. I put her in the swing and she played for about 30 minutes and then started screaming. From 7:00 - 8:00 I bounced her, fought the pacifier with her, bounced her on my knee, etc...she was fussy off and on. Around 8:15, I took her upstairs to get ready for night time routine. I got her bath ready and we took a bath. She LOVES taking a bath!!! She has really bad eczema and I think it soothes her skin. After her bath, I took her to the changing table. At this point, the lamp is on, the sound machine is on, and the radio is playing soft music. I have the door closed and we talk quietly. She coos at me for a little bit and I rub lotion on her arms, legs, and belly. Then I put on her eczema cream on her arms, legs, and face. I get her dressed and then turn off the light. I do keep the little blue light on the sound machine on because I need it to see her mouth. :) We sit in the glider and I nurse her (this works for bottle feeding too). I usually feed her on both sides, then swaddle her, then nurse her again to calm her down (she doesn't love being swaddled), and then put her in her bed. I TRY to put her down awake but sometimes she is already asleep. She has learned how to go to sleep on her own though...this is a key thing! If babies can learn to soothe themselves to sleep, they will sleep better through the night because they don't need you to do it for them! :) I put her down, kiss her cheek and leave the room. If she cries a little, I monitor it but mostly let her just go to sleep. Tonight she went to sleep at 9:00 and we will see when she wakes up. Last night she went to sleep at 8:30 and woke up at 7:00! Oh, and we use swaddle blankets from Swaddle Me. I just bought a Woombie and I will see if that works...hoping it will be easier.
She is in her crib, not a bassinet. I just feel like she and I both sleep better when she is in there. We have a monitor that has a movement sensor but with the wedge it won't pick up her breathing so I can't use it right now. She also sleeps with the door closed. All of my kids have since birth and now the older ones don't want the door open at night.
That's what we do in a nutshell. Many could/would and do criticize many aspects of it but my babies have all slept through the night around 7-8 weeks. I, by no means, am an expert...just a mommy who wants to encourage and help other mommies that might need it! :)