Baby Sleep… It sounds like a bit of an oxymoron to some. Even though all newborns seem to do is sleep, you some how managed to only ever be exhausted. That is because babies sleep only a couple hours at a time, which means you only have a couple hours of a time to sleep. And if you are anything like me, you don’t fall asleep quite as fast as your newborn. Or if your baby is like mine their favorite place to sleep is on top of you and so you never manage to get in a good nap along with them.
Now I am not going to pretend to be any sort of baby sleep expert. While my baby sleeps pretty good most nights at 4 months, we definitely don’t have nap times down pat. She naps in the car, she naps on me and will fall asleep briefly when I lay her in bed if I nurse her. But at nights she wakes once to eat between 4 and 5, and then again at 6 or 7 then sleeps till about 9am.
But we struggle greatly with nap times. I have a couple theories about why that is. With such a tiny house it is hard to get our room quiet enough, it is bright and sunny in the room which also makes it warm and it is nearly impossible to cool it down and get it dark.
But it also leads me to conclusion that what I am doing at night that fixes those things really are working.
So here are my top items to help my baby sleep:
1. Sound Machine–
We keep a sound machine running in the bedroom. I like to use the ocean sounds. To me it is the most soothing white noise so I can still sleep while it blows out all the background noise of sirens, cars, and shouts throughout the neighborhoods.
This one has six different sounds you can choose from so you can choose the one that is right for you and your baby! Babies are so used to constant sound that silence can actually make it harder for them to sleep. Before babies are born they never experience silence as the inside of our bodies are quite noisy with all the blood rushing through the veins and arteries. That is why shushing helps. So yo prevent you from having to spend your evening making sushing sounds to help baby sleep, invest in one of these to help!
Babies are not supposed to sleep with lose blankets to help reduce the risk of SIDS, but you also want to help keep them warm throughout the night. Also my baby is very active so having a sleep sack helps keeps her legs from flailing and keeping her awake. When she was itty bitty we used the zipper sleep pods, then because she was a very long baby she lengthed out of them pretty quickly so we moved to the velcro sleep swaddles. Then when she needed her arms out we moved to sleep sacks. It keeps her warm and I think it helps weigh downs her legs so she doesn’t lay in her bed and continue to play with her feet when she should be napping.
Ok, so I know not all babies take a pacifier, some never will. And that is ok. But if your baby does it can help so much. My baby loves her pacifier and often time when she is nursing at night she falls asleep when she unlatches she will often start rooting around. Not because she is still hungry but because she loves to suck- it is kinda what babies do. When I offer her the pacifier she takes it and drifts right off to sleep.
4. Full Belly
Babies sleep so much better when their bellies are full. However your schedule works whether you nurse the baby to sleep or feed her, get her ready for bed and then lay her down, just make sure that the last feeding of the night is a full feeding and baby has a full tummy. This will help baby sleep longer at night because they won’t be hungry as quickly.
This is probably the number one reason why my baby sleeps so great at night and hardly at all during the day. No matter what I do, I cannot make her bedroom dark in the day and keep it cool enough for her to sleep. If I close the windows the room will be super hot, and then she won’t be comfortable, but light streams into the room with them open.
When all else fails I know it can make the days long, and the nights even longer. But they are only that little for that day. When they wake up they will be bigger than you remember from the day before. And one day they won’t need or want your cuddles to fall asleep. So if you can just snuggle them. Baby’s crave physical contact. It makes them feel safe and secure and will in turn sleep better. And then as if the baby is a stick of dynamite, move them into their own bed as carefully as humanly possible! And with a little bit of luck hopefully you will get some sleep too!