A Well Rested Babe and One Happy Mama

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I started back to work a couple of weeks ago and I swear there is one question that I get asked every single day, "are you sleeping at all?" This is usually followed by some giggles, as if we're all in on some private parent joke and they know that theres NO WAY I could possibly be getting any sleep with a new baby in the house.

Now, I'm not sure if I'm putting out some vibe that tricks people into thinking I'm not getting enough sleep, or maybe it has something to do with the fact that since Kensington sleeps so well at night she is bright-eyed during the day (leaving me little to no time to get ready before work) but people seem genuinely surprised when I tell them that by two months she was generally sleeping around 7-9 hours straight through the night.

I'd like to attribute this to a little bit of being blessed by the sleep gods, and being lucky to have a baby who is naturally a content little sleeper no matter where she's at, but there are also a few things that we routinely do that I think have helped keep her down at night. I would like to start out by saying that we did not read any books about baby sleep schedules (I tried one and it read like a school textbook and put ME to sleep just trying to get through it) and we are first time parents so we are by no means pros at this. This is what worked for us, but ultimately you may need to try different things to find out what works best for you and your little ones.

Supplement formula before bedtime. In the first few weeks after Kenzie was born I was exclusively breastfeeding. However, I was having difficulty keeping my supply up and shortly after having her I ended up getting a breast infection that was giving me a 102 degree fever. The fever made nursing almost impossible and I made the decision to buy some formula to supplement her feedings until I recovered. To my surprise, she started feeding less often because she was much more full from the formula than she was from my breastmilk. If I had known this would have been the case I would have been giving her a small amount of formula from the very beginning. Today we pretty much give her an equal amount of breastmilk and formula throughout the day but we ALWAYS end the night with a formula bottle. Even if she has only two-three ounces before bed it generally keeps her full enough to sleep up to 9 hours if she's really tired.

Swaddle, swaddle, swaddle! I cannot stress enough how much a swaddle has helped us keep this baby sleeping restfully through the night. When she gets too tired her little arms and legs just flail all over the place and if she isn't swaddled she ends up smacking herself straight in the face and waking herself up. Before she was born we bought all kinds of swaddle blankets and actually the cheapest ones we found seemed to be the most effective. We LOVE these Swaddleme Original Swaddles and they're only $20 for a pack of three. These are the best ones we've found because they velcro and it's so easy to get her in and out of them when she's asleep or awake.

Co-sleep only as long as your baby really needs it. We co-slept for the first 5 weeks or so. Part of it was due to the fact that we were brand new first time parents and we were unsure about ourselves. Another part of it was that because of my labor complications I couldn't safely carry her through the house (for fear that I may pass out) and having her next to me for night time feedings was a much easier solution. And of course, we could hardly bear the thought of her not being in our sight at every second of every day in those first few weeks. We purchased a dockatot and kept it between us on the bed during the night. When she started sleeping for longer stretches, we decided to move her dockatot into her crib and we haven't looked back since. Her room is incredibly quiet and peaceful and we keep a light fan running in there for some white noise for her. We are also sleeping so much better now that we have our bed back.

Take your baby out. We've been taking her out and about since she was a week and a half old. I know this isn't necessarily the popular opinion to do so, but at this point she can sleep anywhere. In fact, she loves taking a good nap in a noisy restaurant or on a trip around Target. She doesn't mind the lights or the sounds and she's pretty content to sleep anywhere we go.

Don't be tricked by the cuteness. When Kenzie has a really long stretch of sleep, she wakes up in the happiest mood ever. The second we put her on her changing table she is all giggles and big smiles for mom and dad. The problem is that sometimes this happy baby decides to make her appearance at around 3:00 in the morning if she went to bed too early, or didn't get enough to eat before we put her down. It can be so tempting to keep her up to play with her when she's in such a good mood, but it can also really mess up whatever semblance of a sleep "schedule" you may be working on for your baby. Keep the lights off, change and feed your baby if they need it, and then soothe them back to sleep so you both will wake up feeling completely rested and ready to play come morning time.

Try all the things. Find out what works best for you, it may be completely different than what works best for us, or someone else you know. Experiment a little because the worst thing that could happen is that you end up tired in the morning because something didn't work out during the night and you can try something new the next night.

How does your baby sleep at night? What tricks do you use to make sure you're all waking up well-rested and happy? 

2 comments

  1. I know you read my post so we are on the same page about taking baby out in public early. I really think it benefits them. They learn to adapt and adjust to any situation.

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  2. So so so glad that you have a great sleeper! It's incredible how much of the first year is defined by sleep, and it sounds like you're rocking it!!

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