sleeping baby

I’ve mentioned on Twitter a few times that Bee sleeps through the night, and a few of you have asked for tips on how this miraculous event has occurred. I will say that this is the one area Bee has always excelled in, as she started sleeping through the night at six weeks. (My theory is that she burned up all of her energy screaming at us during the daytime, so she really had no choice but to crash at night.) I will also say what everyone says: every baby is different, so do what you will with these tips. They’ve helped tremendously for us, so I can only hope they’ll do the same for you!:

1. Swaddle.
Oh man, Bee loves to be swaddled. The Miracle Blanket is the most, well, miraculous invention in the world. Trust me on this one – it looks like a straightjacket but acts like a straight-up lifesaver when it comes to soothing your baby to sleep. The tighter, the better, and I hear that men are better at swaddling than women. So gals – give the baby to your husband and make yourself a bowl of ice cream, OK?
UPDATE: Bee transitioned from The Miracle Blanket to a sleep sack once she started using her hands to self-soothe and learned to roll over (around 3 months). We were anxious to see if the lack of swaddling would make a difference, and luckily, she still slept her usual 8-10 hours straight. (This sleep sack is amazing – super breathable but with a bit of weight to it.) So, if your baby doesn’t love to be swaddled, a sleep sack is a fantastic alternative. Also – I realize that swaddles can get pricey, but in my opinion, this is worth a serious investment. Sleeping babies = sleeping mamas, right?

2. Sound machine.
Our sound machine malfunctioned when Bee was 2 days old, so we used a white noise app on our phone until we made it to the store for a replacement. The original wasn’t in stock, so we picked up this one instead, which offered a projector and is also the most amazing thing in the world. We used the projector when we transitioned Bee to her crib (around 6 weeks) and she’s loved watching it as she falls asleep ever since. (We also turn on the ‘lullaby’ option because I can’t carry a tune!)

3. Temperature.
Our home is pretty warm (78 degrees) most of the time, and her nursery is well-insulated. We also be sure to dress her in long-sleeved pajamas with footies every night just in case she breaks free from her swaddle. (Polarn O. Pyret has some super great pjs that are cozy and adorable!)

4. Routine.
We start getting Bee ready for bed anywhere between 7-9pm, depending on her signals (she’s a pretty obvious eye-rubber!). As soon as she gives us her “sleepy sign,” we head back to the nursery for a diaper change, turn on the projector/lullaby sound machine and swaddle her. I then nurse her (I only nurse her in her room at night, so she’s beginning to associate that this means bedtime!) until she falls asleep. She always, always wakes up when I transition her from the rocking chair to the crib, so this is why the projector is particularly handy to soothe her back to sleep. (Note: Sometimes this takes 2-3 tries before she falls asleep for good, and until she’s a bit older, we’re fine with bedtime taking 30 minutes or so.)

A few more tips:
-I’d read somewhere that a common mistake many parents make is to try to keep their baby awake, alert and active during the day (sometimes skipping naps) in an effort to tucker them out enough to sleep through the night. We noticed the opposite: if Bee has had an exceptionally busy day and hasn’t napped well, she generally doesn’t sleep well because she’s overly tired. So, we tend to keep her on a pretty basic schedule with plenty of naps during the day. (Secrets of the Baby Whisperer has a great adaptable schedule that we swear by!)
-I have a fast milk flow that makes nursing frustrating for Bee, so when she was a bit younger, I’d pump and give her a bottle at night so she could eat slowly and calmly. This helped tremendously, because she could eat more before becoming frustrated, thus “tanking up” for the night.
-I’ve heard great things about bathtime before bed, but Bee hates baths, so we cut that out of our bedtime routine. Try to find an activity that your baby finds calming (i.e. reading, lullabies or a baby massage after a diaper change) and incorporate those into your routine instead.
-Bee also doesn’t enjoy pacifiers, so she uses her hands to self-soothe. This is perfect for the nights she sometimes wakes up around midnight – she stirs, but we wait for her to find her hands and then she falls back asleep, sucking away! If you can, work on self-soothing sans pacifier during the day so baby can practice!

Any tips you seasoned mothers can add to the mix? I’d love to hear, and good luck to all of your sleep-deprived mothers out there! Until you have a sleep routine mastered, might I recommend some caffeine-free secrets in the mean time?

p.s. 31 ways to get baby to sleep!

Photo Credit // Woodnote Photography

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