Bringing baby home is one of the greatest days in a parents life… it’s also the day when things. get. real. Pint sized diapers need changing, feedings need to be had, pumping done, naps held, and of course sleep training.
For me, this is baby number 2. As with most first time moms, I did a lot of those stereo typical no-no’s we’re always warned against – rocking baby all the way to sleep, nursing baby to sleep, not putting baby down while still awake, etc – and I swore I would not do the same with this new little addition and boy am I glad because the baby already sleeps soundly through the night… ON DAY TWO!!! WHAT?!?!?!
Here’s what I did, first thing’s first…
SORTING OUT NIGHT AND DAY
Our first night home from the hospital, Christmas day (yes my child’s birthday is Christmas Eve), was A-W-F-U-L! My postpartum was off the chain and I had the holiday blues, my oldest child was adjusting, and my husband was exhausted. We were all looking forward to a return to normal… hahaha… and a good night sleep in our own bed. WELL… there was nothing good about that first night!
We did whatever the baby wanted to do; sleep, eat, wake, gawk at his cuteness, whatev’s… that was our mistake – letting him run the show. Fast forward a couple hours… he screamed all that night, I couldn’t nurse enough, I couldn’t put him down, I couldn’t sleep. The only thing that made him happy when being held tightly to MY chest in an upright position. If I wasn’t standing and holding him then he was yelling. This wasn’t going to work for me. On the other hand, it may have been a good birth control tactic for my older step children… hahaha… so there’s our silver lining.
The next day, I decided a change was going to be made. I put the baby on a flexible schedule: I woke him up (did not let him sleep in) at 7 – the time he was supposed to eat – got him dressed and kept him up until HE wanted to go back to sleep – 3 hours and 1 feeding later. Once asleep I only allowed him to sleep for 2 hours before waking him up. Kept him up for an hour and a feeding and let him sleep again. This nap was only 1.5 hours long before I woke him for an hour. Then another nap for 1.5 hours before being up for his last hour, pj’s, feeding, and finally bed. And guess what…
He slept through the night!
Naps were taken in a room full of sunlight and my older child/ren were not required to “tone it down.” The baby’s crib is located in my bedroom. This helped to make night feedings more tolerable for me. Bed time was the quiet time of the day, lights out anywhere from 8 pm – 11 pm, and the room was kept dark…. like really dark… no night lights, no Netflix, no Facebook… D-A-R-K, dark!!
Note: Let me clarify something that I did not understand with my first child: When I say “sleep through the night” I DO NOT mean skipping your night feedings or changes. I am not a doctor but I also don’t believe in skipping these two essentials in trade for sleep because infants can easily become dehydrated.
SLEEP FEEDINGS & CHANGES
As the term implies, the goal was to essentially feed and change the baby while he was remained asleep or just barely awake. Not as crazy of an idea as I originally thought.
With LO1, I was a new mom and would wake up my child in order to feed him, change him, and keep him on some (dreaded) schedule I found online. What was I thinking!!!
When LO2 would fuss during the night I simply picked him up, nursed one side, changed his dirties, nursed the other side and laid him back down. I used this order specifically – nurse, change, nurse. Nursing first calmed his little belly, changing second kept him awake after the first nursing and going into the second, and finally a good final nurse to help sooth him back into that sleepy state. I found he hollered a lot more when I changed him right off the bat, kept him awake if I did it last, and he would fall asleep (not feed well) during the last half of his “meal”. This order prevented all of that.
So there you have it… those are the key things that helped me get LO2 to sleep through the night by night two. I hope you found some of this helpful. What are your experiences with sleep training? What has worked for you and what hasn’t? Let me know below.