How do I get my baby to sleep through the night? Probably the most asked question ever.
As a mom of two sleepy heads, I am often asked what kind of routine I followed, to have my babies sleep through the night by the time they were 4 and 8 weeks old. Yes, most of you probably hate me right now, but my babies were sleeping through the night at that young age. My firstborn, Jude, was sleeping eight hours straight when he was 8 weeks old and eleven hours when he was 11 weeks old. My daughter, Reagan, was sleeping twelve hours when she was only 4 weeks old! Crazy, I know.
The reason why, could be a myriad of things, but I will share the routine I used with both babies and maybe you can give it a try if you’re one desperate mama, and see if it works. I am well aware that no baby is alike and maybe I was just lucky and it had absolutely nothing to do with my routine, but because it worked so well with my first, I decided to give it a try with my second and once again, it worked like a charm.
I am someone that believes in motherly instincts. I didn’t buy a single book on how to raise a child, how and when to feed them solids or how to sleep train them. I merely trusted common sense along with the pediatrician’s advice. The routine below is solely based on my previous experience and it is not scientifically proven.
Routine started on day one. We came home from the hospital, and my son had his own bedroom with a crib waiting for him. I didn’t buy a bassinet and I did not share a room with him. Now, I understand this will not work for many of you, and that’s ok, sleeping through the night has absolutely nothing to do with whether you’re co-sleeping or they are in their own room. It’s a personal choice and each parent should do what works best for them and their baby 🙂
Because we were not sharing a room and I was a first-time mom, I was a train wreck when it came to SIDS. I purchased the item that I have since, treasured the most and gift to all friends that are expecting, the Angelcare Movement Monitor. I cannot say enough good things about this monitor and will be posting all about it soon (not sponsored).
Here’s why I came up with my routine: I needed to have adult quality time, so I figured that 6:30pm was a good bedtime for a baby and that’s what I stuck with. They still do it to this day, and they are 6 and 3.
The daily routine started around 5:30pm. I would prepare his [daily] bath and dim the bathroom lights (I had these installed to create a relaxing mood). I had his bathtub on top of the sink and would bathe him with this organic lavender bubble bath, as I knew lavender promotes relaxation.
Once the bath was over, I would bring him to his bedroom with the lights dimmed (also installed in his room), and would massage him with this organic baby calming cream. I would get him dressed in a fleece onesie (yes fleece and I live in FL) and wrapped him up in this fleece swaddle. Once he was all wrapped like a blue fluffy burrito, I would bring him to the rocker, where I would breastfeed him, or give him the warm prepared formula.
Jude always loved his formula to be around 100-110 degrees. The warmer, the quicker he would drink it. My son had terrible reflux and I had to add thickener to the breast milk and give him the AR formula, but that’s a whole new subject for another day.
Once in the rocker, I’d sing to him while he would eat. At that point the lights were 95% dimmed and I am singing as quiet as I possibly can, to get him relaxed. Low and behold, I had to nudge him in the chin to have him finish his bottle as he would fall asleep every 12 seconds. This was very important for me: I always made sure he finished his bottle. I didn’t want him to fall asleep after 2oz if his eating habits were 4 or 5oz. I would nudge his chin with my pinky to get him to finish his bottle. Once he was fed, I would burp him and keep him upright against my chest for about 15 minutes [because of his severe reflux].
I would turn his sound machine on (heartbeat sound was his favorite), lay him in the crib and walk away to enjoy some [well needed] quality time with my husband.
So here’s a quick recap of what I believe that helped with his sleep habits:
- Sleeping in his own bedroom (only because my sleeping noises/movements probably didn’t wake him up and vice-versa)
- Having a spacious crib instead of a bassinet (my son moved around a lot)
- Have a daily relaxing bath
- Swaddle him tight with warm clothes (our a/c is always set for 68-69 degrees, and I personally sleep better when the house is cool but I have a warm comforter over me) – I think this was an important step
- Warm formula/pumped milk
- Sound machine – this one was another important step in our household and still is 🙂
When he first came home, he was sleeping 3-4 hours, so he would wake up around 10pm and I would stay awake until then. I would change his diaper while his bottle would be warming up in this wonderful bottle warmer [not sponsored]. I would be in bed around 10:30pm and he would wake up again around 2:30 am. That’s when I would head over to his bedroom, and again, while I changed his diaper, the bottle would be warming up in the warmer. I never did a trip to the kitchen in the middle of the night. This warmer would keep 2 cold bottles in the cooler, and saved me a trip to the kitchen at 2:30am, as I would prepare both bottles before bedtime, and keep them in the cooler all night. After that he would get up at 6:30am and that was our wake-up time (still is). At that time, only waking up once in the middle of the night, was a big win for me.
The more he grew, the more his feedings increased. By the time he was 8 weeks old he was eating 6-7oz and by sticking to the routine, he started increasing his sleeping habits. Also, having the AR formula helped him a bit because it made him feel fuller. Jude was never a colicky baby, but when he was crying from an upset stomach or gas, this homeopathic Colic Calm was a LIFE SAVER!! I want to kiss the creators of this gripe water!! If you have a colicky baby that cries for hours, please do yourself a favor and try THIS Colic Calm. It’s uh-mazing!!
During the day, I did not allow my babies to sleep more than 2 hours straight as I didn’t want them to get off schedule. They would nap around 9am and then again around 1pm. No naps after 1pm as I needed them tired and ready for bed by 6:30pm.
Just so you know, I stayed home with Jude for the first three months but with my second, I went back to work after 3 weeks, so I know how hard it is to stick with a routine. It doesn’t matter whether you are trying out mine, or have your own, when it comes to babies and having a good night of sleep, it all boils down to ROUTINE! So stick with it and you will be glad that you did. Always remember, you’re a good mama and you’re doing your best!
If you have any tips or tricks that can help other tired mamas, please feel free to add it on the comments, as we all love a good sleeping baby 🙂