So I’ve been trying to write this post about baby sleep for days, and well, I keep getting busy helping the baby to sleep.
I’d planned to have Caroline sleep in the bassinet in our room for the first three months or so. This is what we did with Andrew and it worked out really well. I exclusively breastfeed so I take care of all the nighttime duties, and it’s just easier to have the baby right there in the room.
But, Caroline didn’t like the bassinet.
So the first two months or so she mostly slept in her bouncy seat in our room or in my arms in bed. Then I started putting her down in the bassinet for the first part of the night, but I’d move her in to our bed after she woke to nurse.
I’d end up falling asleep with her in my arms and we’d both wake up hours later.
She loved it and I didn’t mind that much because I was sleeping, but now, well, she’s five months old and weighs 16 pounds, and I really don’t want her to sleep in our bed forever.
So I talked to my sister and she reminded me that I’d used The Baby Whisperer’s book with Andrew and that she’d used it with Reid, too. How did I forget this? Andrew was a good sleeper, but I did work to get him on a good, predictable routine and TBW helped a lot.
So last Friday I decided to give it a shot with Caroline.
The general idea is to help your baby learn to sleep and self-soothe without leaving her to cry alone. I like this because I just don’t think I could leave her to cry on her own for long at all. I know I’d cave in and then it wouldn’t do either of us any good.
I’ve also been trying to get her on a more regular Eat, Play, Sleep schedule during the day. She seems to be really liking her routine, but it’s hard to follow every day because we’re working around Andrew’s MDO and all his other activities.
But so far she’s sleeping better. The best part is that she’s going to sleep all on her own at bedtime. I’ve been feeding her a little before bed then swaddling her up and laying her down in her crib.
And she goes to sleep!
I was trying to rock/nurse her to sleep before and it was taking 30-45 minutes. So this is a great improvement. A few minutes of patting her back and she’s ready for sleep.
I’m using the same swaddle/ssshhh pat to get her to sleep for naps. She goes down pretty easily in the morning but it’s a little bit iffier in the afternoon. Maybe she gets too tired?
Either way, it’s a huge improvement over rocking/nursing for 30 minutes. I just don’t have that kind of time when I’m home alone with the two of them. And she’s been taking two 1 & 1/2 hour naps if I’m home and can get her in bed at the right time!
Now, the night wakings are still an issue. I can get her calmed down and back to sleep in her bed, but she’d still rather nurse and snuggle after she wakes up in the night. So I’m trying to only feed her twice and cut out the other two wake-ups. I think hopefully those will get better in the next week or so.
Y’all are probably laughing that this all sounds like such a novel idea, but I never had to do this with Andrew. He loved it when I rocked him or nursed him to sleep and so I just did it. And he didn’t wake up much at night so I didn’t ever change what I was doing.
He’s a good sleeper now, but our bedtime routine takes an hour. We read books (which are getting longer!) and he still asks us to pat on him before he falls asleep. He obviously puts himself to sleep, but not without lots of pleading on our part.
So I’m hoping that we’re going to instill good sleep habits in Caroline early on that will last for a long, long time.