Raise your hands if you function better after a good nights sleep! I bet every parent reading this just raised BOTH their hands, am I right? In addition I bet one of the most common threads in parenting is that we don’t have nearly enough sleep for a few years after baby is born. The first weeks after baby comes home are so foggy and sleepless and I remember wondering if I’d ever have a full nights sleep again. Sleep Training was a permanent phrase on my google search bar.
Every family has different views and needs when it comes to sleep schedules and I’m definitely no expert and I’m certainly not here to question what works for other families. I just thought I could share a bit about our experience in sleep training and how we managed to have 4 babies that were good sleepers.
One thing I read that really stuck with me was that babies need to be trained to sleep. It really made sense to me. It takes consistency and a bit of hard work but in the long run learning to go to sleep on their own is important for their long term development
Give it Time
The newborn stage is going to be sleepless, I had to come to that realization and just roll with it. Their days and nights are going to be mixed up for awhile, they need to eat every few hours, and babies are just not typically going to sleep a long stretch during this stage. I remember getting so anxious thinking something was wrong, and I’d never sleep through the night again and then with every baby it was just a matter of time and a natural sleep schedule started to take shape.
I learned not to fuss about whether baby was sleeping in the crib or bassinet and instead took advantage of that precious phase where baby would spend many nights snuggled in my arms. Sometimes it was just the best way for me to have a chance at any rest and it was short lived so we just went with it
Even during this stage we would start setting up a bedtime routine even though sometimes it felt like it wasn’t helping, in the long run it was slowly setting the tone for a good solid sleep schedule.
Start a bedtime routine
Babies seem to love routine or atleast all of ours did. Again, every family will find their groove and I simply want to share what worked for us. Very early on we started a bedtime routine to help differentiate between days and nights and help baby settle into a sleep routine.
Here is what worked for us:
(Please note these times have an “ish” after them. We were never THAT regimented LOL)
- 7pm: Bath, Lotion/Massage (we used coconut oil and would lather it all over and give a massage from head to toe)
- 7:30pm: Feed
- 8pm: Awake time, (read books, sing, etc.)
- 8:30/9: swaddle, lights turned low, rock to sleep
In order to get baby used to their crib, we always tried to offer the crib first whether it was daytime naps or bedtime. Again, I always found myself getting frustrated and thinking it was never going to work, but it was always just a matter of time and our babies learned to sleep in their crib. Once again, it was all the process of “training” our baby these sleep habits.
Every baby has preferences about their sleep environment and what sets the tone for their best sleep. The following is a list of items and routines that seemed to work for us over the years.
Baby Monitor – This is more for your peace of mind but we absolutely LOVE the Lollipop monitor. You can see baby while they are sleeping (or not sleeping), it can connect with multiple smart phones and you can monitor the camera right from your phone. It has sounds and music that you can remotely turn on so that you’re not disturbing baby or making matters worse by entering the room. I highly recommend this baby camera system!
Swaddle Blankets – We really love the cotton muslin swaddles for their size, quality, and adorable patterns! There is nothing sweeter than a cozy swaddled baby
Sleep Sacks – Once baby is out of the swaddle stage, we love using a sleep sack. It keeps them warm and cozy without multiple blankets scattered around their sleep space. We love the sleep sacks from Little Nest and co.
Essential Oils – Our absolute favourite is Gentle Baby from Young Living. We diffused that every night and its been proven that even consistency in scent can help train your baby that its sleep time.
Music – This has been a key part of all of our babies sleep training. I still get a bit teary eyed when I hear this one song that one of our daughters listened to every night to fall asleep. Being a musical family, we have always incorporated it into our bedtime routine.
The exact time frame was different with all 4 of our babies, but the exciting part is that it eventually just happened. Usually by about 6 months we typically had a baby that would consistently go down in their crib and sleep through the night. By about 6-8 months we found that our babies could go down around 7pm and sleep until around 6am. Off course there is always little phases that come and go such as growth spurts and teething and thats just all part of the journey of parenting!
I wish you all the best with your sleep training journey and please don’t hesitate to drop me an email or comment on this post if you have any questions at all! As I mentioned before, I know that every family has a different experience when it comes to sleep training or sleep environments in general. Find what works best for your family:)
Until next time,
Photography by my dear friend Bernine Marie