I remember being pregnant with my son. As a soon-to-be first-time mom, people gave me a lot of unsolicited advice. One thing I was “adviced” of often was to get all the sleep I could get now because once the baby arrived, I would lose so much sleep forever. You know the comments: I’d “never sleep again” and should just “kiss sleep goodbye.”
But no matter what they told me, I was confident in what I personally knew to be true. And that is that sleep deprivation and motherhood don’t have to go hand-in-hand. After helping so many other moms overcome their own sleep struggles and conquer sleep deprivation with ease, I knew it was possible for me, as well.
As a sleep consultant and first-time mom, I made sure to practice what I preached, and it worked! By seven weeks old, he was consistently sleeping six hours straight at night and then 12 hours straight with a regular bedtime by three months old.
So, I am here to tell you that despite what they told me, as a new mom, I set the foundation early and never really experienced sleep deprivation. And I believe it’s possible for you to avoid sleep deprivation, too.
Here are the tips that worked for me (and so many other moms) to achieve blissful nights and motherhood sanity with a tiny little one:
So you may have heard from others that if you keep your baby up longer, they will sleep better. Well, I’m here to tell you that this is totally a mess. Keeping your baby up longer may actually cause them to become very frustrated and overtired, making it very hard for them to settle down for sleep. Aim for bedtime to be somewhere between 7 and 8:30 p.m.
Try swaddling your baby during the day and nigh, so that they sleep with their arms in and pretty snug. I’d recommend using a blanket or sleeping bag design for swaddling.
Tank baby up during day
Follow the EAT-PLAY-SLEEP cycle. Try to feed your baby every three hours from the start of the last feeding during the day. Don’t let them sleep through a feeding during the day. If they are sleeping, and it has hit the three-hour mark, wake them up to feed. Be sure your baby has a full feeding rather than snacks at every feeding. You can do cluster feeds in the evening right before bed between 4 and 7 p.m. and a dream feed around 10 or 11 p.m., or whenever you are headed to lie down for the night.
Help them through day/night confusion
Helping your baby learn to the difference between day and night is important. During the day, allow normal noise, let in the daylight, and there is really no need to whisper. At night, be sure not to stimulate them, use Lo/Dan lighting, speak with a low tone of voice (or try no talking at all), do not play music, and try not to give much eye contact. When you do feed in the middle of the night, there is no playing; it’s just all business. Everything after “bedtime” should be treated as a night waking. During the night, when their feeding session is complete, immediately put your baby back to sleep.
Turn on the sound machine
Use a sound machine/white noise that is as loud as a vacuum cleaner. Sleeping in silence is bizarre for babies. You can buy a sound machine or use a white noise app. on your phone.
Create a simple bedtime routine that happens in the space where the baby will be sleeping. The routine should be no longer than 15 minutes.
Teach baby how to self-soothe
When putting your baby down to sleep, put them down awake but very drowsy. Initially, you can start with trying to do this at least every other nap. Don’t be afraid to hold and cuddle your baby, but do not try to rock or feed them to sleep.
Sleep begets sleep
Allow your baby to rest when he/she needs to rest during the day. The more they sleep during the day, the better their night sleep will become.