"How?" I can't count how many times I have heard that question. Throughout this blog post, I will walk you through everything that I do regarding Ella's sleep. There is no one singular thing that I did/do to make Ella sleep through the night.
What works for my child may not work for yours so take all this information with a grain of salt.
I never followed a specific method of sleep training or any of that. The only thing I really did was implement a bedtime routine EARLY on and watch for tired cues throughout the day.
I never use the crib for naps unless she's already asleep in my arms. Now, this will change when she starts being more mobile and rolling a bit more consistently because I use the Boppy lounger, swing or her playmat for naps. And before you come at me about the Boppy lounger getting re-called, I just want to say, she isn't left unsupervised and she's also older. As a newborn, I would have her use the flat baby lounger to take naps.
I keep her in a bright and noisy place for naps throughout the day. I'm no expert about how babies minds work but when I put her down in her crib at night - it's dark and the only thing she'll here is ocean sounds (thanks Alexa) - then it seems like she knows its bed time.
Her naps range anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and half. Not very consistent but it's not something I typically care about as much as night time sleep. When we all get enough sleep at night, we are much happier during the day, haha! At night, she started sleeping about 7-8 hours at first and progressed to 10-12 hours. It varies but she's still giving us pretty decent stretches throughout the night.
Watching for tired cues was a little vague to me at first. I didn't know how to determine what Ella's cues were. We started play time around a month old and it helped me determine them fairly quickly. Ella's specific tired cue is, and this may be every baby but maybe not, putting her hands to her eyes like she's rubbing them.
I lay her down when she's awake. That's something I read online and tried. I was floored when she fell right asleep after going with my gut feeling of watching for her tired cue. It may, also, be something you have to try again and again until you figure out what your baby's cue is. The reason you lay them down awake (or half awake) is that when you transfer them to their crib or bassinet, they may feel like they're falling and you'll see that startle reflex that may wake them up and result in getting fussy.
Ella's Bedtime Routine
- bath every night (I don't use soap on her every night because it can dry her skin out) - while she's in her towel, I rub her down with unscented lotion and apply Calmer essential oil from doTERAA on her feet and chest; I also take this time to get any lint or hairs that didn't come out of her toes in the bath - transfer her to her onesie - feed her a bottle (they may start to fall asleep the bottle but try your hardest to keep them awake so they will sleep in the crib/bassinet) - once she's done feeding and I burp her, I swaddle her up - occasionally she'll fall asleep as I wrap her but not always - as I go into her nursery, I tell Alexa to "play ocean sounds", lay her in her crib and put the Paci in her mouth (if she's still awake) - about 30 minutes after I lay her down, I check to see if she spit the Paci out (she usually does), I'll move it away from her so she doesn't wake herself up by nudging it
***as I write this blog post, this is the order we follow BUT when she is done with Leap 3, I will put 'bottle' before 'bath time' because I don't want her to associate a bottle WITH bedtime like she has to feed in order to go to bed. Again, I don't know how babies minds work but that's just how I do it.
I just want to reiterate that I am NO expert and what works for me may or may not work for you. But I hope you got some insight on possibly how to treat your baby's sleep schedule.
Do you follow a specific method? Do you do anything similar to our schedule? Different? Let me know in the comments.