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Our Baby Sleeps Through the Night

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First things first. These photos were taken by Jeff Cho. Please check out his website!

 

Walking around with a baby is kind of like being famous. Everyone either stops you or tries to avoid you. The ones who stop you always ask the same questions or make the same comments: How old is he? Wow, he’s big! You should definitely make more of those.

 

People have really nice things to say about my (IMHO) super adorable baby, but the one question I always seem to get is “Are you sleeping much these days?” You can imagine the surprise when I tell people that yes, my baby sleeps through the night! People typically follow with the usual response: What a good baby!

 

When people remark that I’ve been blessed with a good baby, I am tempted to snicker to myself. If only they knew the hard work and mindfulness it took to make sure my baby was getting good, restful sleep. The truth is, my baby may be naturally “good”, but it’s hard to tell, because I believe that my husband and I really worked to create an environment designed to help our child achieve sleep success.

 

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1.) Develop a schedule and stick to it. There are several books available to help parents develop schedules. No matter what it is – Babywise, Ferber or Baby Whisperer – find a book you are most comfortable with as a guide. Most of them follow the same pattern: Eat, Wake, Sleep. We went with Babywise, because it emphasizes the importance of the strength of the marital relationship and also that the schedule is parent-led and adaptable to your best judgment as a parent. Think babies can’t adhere to schedules? Well guess what, babies put themselves on schedules in the womb! I was also told by lactation consultants that breastfeeding doesn’t really work on a schedule. Tell that to my breasts. Like clockwork, they are ready every 3 hours to feed the baby. Whatever schedule philosophy you choose, remember that it is simply a guide. It’s good to maintain a strict adherence at first to lay a firm foundation, but once everyone is with the program you can be a little flexible based on the needs of your baby and your family.

 

2.) Make nap time different than bed time. From day one when we took our baby home from the hospital we made sure that sleep time during the day was much different than sleep time at night. During the day the baby sleeps in the Rock-N-Play in the living room, the TV or music is on, the room is bright and the baby is not swaddled. At night the baby sleeps in his crib in the nursery, the house is quiet, the room is pitch black and the baby is swaddled.

 

3.) The baby sleeps in his own bed, in his own room. When we first brought the baby home, he slept in the Rock-N-Play next to our bed. He would wake up every 2-3 hours to eat, but for the most part slept pretty well. Babywise recommends that babies sleep in their own cribs by 4 weeks, so at 3.5 weeks we tried it. We laid the baby down around 11PM and were awakened by his cries at 4:30AM. I couldn’t believe it – in fact, I was almost scared that something was wrong and he had slept too long! It was almost as if we were the obstacle to our baby sleeping through the night. Keep in mind that we do have a pretty ideal nursery situation. It’s connected to our bedroom as if it’s a really large walk-in closet, and we keep the door open.

 

4.) The baby gets full meals, not snacks. During the day when the baby is scheduled to eat, he does so for at least 30 minutes at a time. This was a real struggle. Breastfeeding did not come naturally for me or the baby, and it took a good 3 weeks to get it down. Once we were breastfeeding, it was easy for the baby to become sleepy after about 5 minutes. To correct this issue, I stripped him down to his diaper to feed him and often implemented a cool, damp washcloth on his back to keep him awake until he could stay awake during feedings (which happened around 6 weeks). If the baby gets good, full meals during the day, he is less likely to wake up for a midnight snack.

 

5.) Don’t underestimate the power of the Dream Feed. For us, the last feeding cycle of the day is around 7PM, then the baby goes down to sleep in the Rock-N-Play at 8:30PM. By this time the sun is down and he goes into a really deep sleep. Between 10:30 and 11PM I’ll pick him up and “wake” him into a dream-like state to eat. He’ll suckle for 10-12 minutes, and after that we swaddle him and lay him down in the crib for the night. It’s just the snuggle and full tummy he needs to not wake up until 7AM the next morning.

 

So that’s how we got the baby sleeping through the night. I can’t emphasize enough that I am not an expert – this is mine and my husband’s personal experience. We are new parents, and this is our first child. As he grows, we’ll have to shift things around a bit, but even through major development stages when the baby has real trouble napping, he’s still sleeping straight through the night. One thing I’ve heard from a lot of parents is something similar to “my first child thrived on a schedule, but my second child doesn’t take to it as well.” This absolutely could be a personality thing, but I tend to believe that new parents have much more focus to aggressively stick to a schedule with their first child than with their second. In any case, making sure your baby gets good, restful sleep is vital to the health of his or her growing body, and making sure Mommy and Daddy get good sleep is vital to fostering a happy home and a healthy marital relationship.

 

Disclaimer: EVERY BABY IS DIFFERENT, but more importantly, every couple is different. My natural inclination and strength is to develop strategies for success, and I am committed to sticking to the strategy, even if the tactics have to change. I am also schedule and routine oriented. For a mom or dad who doesn’t naturally gravitate towards schedules and the like I can see how my strategy may seem very difficult. Also know that I do not subscribe to the attachment parenting philosophy, and I find that those who do make up a loud minority. I’ve heard horror stories of loving moms being accused of child abuse for putting their little ones on a schedule. For this reason, the comments section will only be open to people who are genuinely interested in making this strategy work for themselves or other positive comments. Any negative or judgmental comments will be promptly deleted.

45 Comments

  1. Pingback: Miri in the Village » Mommysentials

  2. Pingback: Easy Russian Swaddle Tutorial (VIDEO!) | Miri in the Village

  3. I just love this article. Very very similar to what I have done with both my girls. And I’m glad you’ve written it. Very humble in the way you’ve written it. Schedule is so important but it doesn’t mean I don’t get out and do things! Once baby is sleeping well it frees you up to get out and do more because you know that your baby can cope with a bit of a random day because they are getting the sleep they need. Such great tips. Thanks

  4. Mrs.Momof7 says

    Did it with my first, worked like a charm! Tried to do my second, but had forgotten some of the necessary elements, and gave up. 3-7 I didn’t even really try. Now baby 8 is on the way, and I just CANNOT do another “baby led” schedule. We homeschool, and my oldest is dual enrolling at the local community college, but can’t drive yet. Baby MUST conform to the schedule. Thanks for posting this, it’s just what I needed to remind myself of the necessary elements!

  5. Serena says

    I love this article! The only thing I’m not doing with my 6 week old baby is putting her in her crib at night. She’s still sleeping in her bassinet next to our bed. The hard part right now will be getting my husband to agree to put her in her room at night. We’re already doing everything else. I too have a “good baby”!

  6. Autumn says

    I absolutely loved this article. My little one was kept on a schedule since day one. She was born full term but swallowed meconium when she was born. So, being in the NICU for the first 13 days of her life really got her started on a schedule. She was sleeping for 4 hours at a time and was already on 4oz. by the time she left there. She’s now 11 mths and sleeps for 9-10 hours through the night.

  7. Keeping it real says

    Perhaps you shouldn’t snicker or take full credit. You’re doing the same thing every other blog post suggests. And what tons of other mothers do and have tried to do. It worked for you because you have a good baby. Be grateful for this. Be thankful you have a baby who eats well that early and who is big enough that the doctor doesn’t tell you that you have to wake him up every few hours tonfeed him. Be thankful your kid slept
    In a rock and play as a lot of kids don’t. Be thankful dream feeding doesn’t wake your kid up likecot does for a lot of people. Don’t be so full of yourself mom for doing the same thing every other mom has tried and written about. Thank whatever gods may be for your perfect baby. And if you want to come off as humble, try not to explain how you are so great that you did it- instead just give the tips and mention that it worked for you.

    With that said, my kid slept through the night on his own at 4 weeks. So by your logic I must be some sort of Hero.

    • Omar'sWife says

      Hero? No.

      Certified douchebag? Absolutely.

      Climb of your self righteous soap box for a second and realize that she’s JUST A MOM POSTING A BLOG POST TO TRY AND HELP OTHER MOMS. Now go crawl back under your rock, troll.

      Jesus, I hate people.

  8. Jessica Ervin says

    Our son started mostly sleeping through the night when we got home from the hospital. Normally 9:30 pm to 4:30 am. Number two is definitely something we started right when we got home. Also our son automatically cluster feeds around 7 pm 8 pm and 9 pm (some nights vary) and I believe that’s how he sleeps so well at night. Great article! Thank you for your insight and helpful tips! P.S. he’s still not in his own crib but I just think that’s from me wanting him close for night feedings. = )

  9. Kate says

    I still find it tricky to get my bub to feed any longer than ten minutes at any time of the day. Sometimes it is five minutes and he seems like he has had enough. I have a pretty quick let down and I hope he is just an efficient feeder! I know if he just fed a bit longer he might not wake every 2-3 hours in the night. 🙁

  10. Andrea says

    My son is 3 weeks old and I have been following this routine. It has worked pretty well so far. The 10:30pm time is our most difficult. He sleeps well after the sun goes down but then after the 10:30 feeding he often wants to be awake until midnight. Do you do a diaper change with that feeding? I have been changing his diaper before the feeding (and after if needed). It seems to wake him up but I am wondering if it might make him too awake to go back to sleep easily. Any suggestions?

  11. Merranda Lippold says

    I beraly did my pregnancy test, it came out positive. This would be my first baby and I don’t really have an experience with children. Do you have any other tips or articles I could read to gain a little more perceptive?

  12. Britt says

    I’m pregnant w baby 3 and I find this article very helpful. I love schedules but never knew you could guide your infant like this. I am definitely going to use this.

  13. Addie says

    My in-laws swear by Babywise! Now, I do think that my husband and his sister truly were unnaturally easy babies (Rachel slept through the night at 3 weeks I mean that’s not normal!) but still, they swore by a schedule. While my parents didn’t use Babywise they strictly stuck to a schedule with both of my siblings and myself and really felt like that was best for the whole family even if it meant we had to miss out on things sometimes. I’m anxious to implement these techniques with my little one here pretty soon! Thank you!!

  14. Meghan says

    Really well written. I love that you emphasize many times that this is your strategy and may not be the exact same for everyone else. I think you have some great points. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Nyissia says

    what was your schedule? What time did you bathe and nap your baby? We have twins that are now 13 weeks. I only have one home but I love this article and while I only have one I think this will work for 2. And schedules are a blessing. My 4 yo was a good baby and she did sleep all night for us and is great now but that was a long time ago and before this is a challenge and lose my mind from lack of sleep we will get this under control.

  16. Heather says

    I could not agree more with this article. I did the same thing and used Babywise as my guide. My daughter slept 12 hours by week 6. The book even talks about other methods and how it affects the child’s behavior. I saw this to be true with friends children. That’s when I knew the author knee what they were talking about. At first it’s hard but stick with it, it is so worth it!!! Thank you for writing this super condensed and helpful article.

  17. Tracy A says

    I love this article and I am really interested to see how our route goes. We are due in two weeks and my husband and I have been trying to narrow down the last final things. I am very much the same as you in terms of routines and I like schedules because I can’t stand being unprepared. My husband and I have a 1 year old border collie who is also a breed that thrives in a scheduled environment. When we adopted him, all of our friends with dogs told us we wouldn’t make it a week without letting him sleep in bed with us. We never did actually, and he is such a good dog, well mannered and very loyal. I know dogs are nothing compared to babies (haha) but we keep getting the same comments when we mention our parenting thoughts for our baby. Reading your article has just solidified to me, that if we are diligent, then we can make our parenting experience what we want it to be. Thank you!!

  18. This is great! I’m hopeful my 3 week old will be sleeping at least 8 hours uninterrupted by 6 weeks. We also have our baby in a separate room, and I can’t imagine doing it any other way – we’re all sleeping so much better!
    I need to work on breastfeeding ‘meals’ – we’re going through a cluster feeding phase with lots of ‘snacking’ at the moment.

  19. Jessica says

    My baby is 8 weeks old and I am still up feeing him about every three hours. I’m going to try the dream feed tonight, wish me luck!😊

  20. Florine says

    When my baby girl was 4 months old I tried the Hold With Love method by Susan Urban from her HOW TO TEACH A BABY TO FALL ASLEEP ALONE guide ( http://www.parental-love.com ). My daughter has always been a pretty terrible sleeper so I thought it is going to be a long trip to get her to sleep properly but after a few days we made it ( ONLY A FEW DAYS!!!!!!!). After the HWL method she started to sleep all night long! Before she was waking up like every hour and we were exhausted!
    I am glad I decided to change my daughter’s sleeping habits and we are all much more happy now.

  21. Paige Hurd says

    I have a 7 week old and have become so starved for sleep I succumbed to letting him sleep in our bed. When we first lay down he sleeps for 4 hours and it is heavenly for me. Is it too late to turn things around and start trying a schedule? He literally only naps alone and sometimes I can’t even get him to do that.

  22. Joshua says

    Having a baby that sleeps through the night early is a combination of a lot of factors. While it sounds like you are doing a great job, there are also parents who do a great job but are not as lucky to have such an easy baby. Even reading that your baby would sleep for 2-3 hours from birth made me a bit envious. Our baby was very gassy and had bad stomach cramps until she got older and was better able to pass the gas by herself. A 2 hour sleep was a huge success for us in those early days as most sleeps only lasted half an hour. Sometimes it would take hours to settle her to sleep as every time she fell asleep she would wake from the stomach cramps. The result was an overtired baby and hours of screaming. So I’m glad you have got your baby to sleep through the night but count yourself as one of the lucky ones!

  23. I totally agree! I think I’ve been blessed with a good sleeper, but my method is very similar to yours. My little one is 5 weeks old and has been doing her 3-4+ hours of sleep at night since week two. She sleeps from about 8pm- 8am with only 3 hours maximum awake (during 3 feedings, one is back to back with only 30 minutes between) She only sleeps 2-4 hours between 8am and 8pm and wants to eat constantly but it is totally worth it. I do the same and only swaddle at night, and keep the room dim, then dark when it’s time to sleep. I’m not quite ready to move her to a different room yet because I get her up when she’s first getting wiggly and noisy before the crying. I will move her for half the night once she’s down to one feed per night!

    • Also I now feel free to take her with during the day and she will take her little day naps in the car seat, stroller or carrier.

  24. Heather says

    Thank you for your blog entry. I am a new mom with a one month old and am struggling with my daughter sleeping through the night. I’m curious if you have a sense of how much your child eats during his daytime feedings and if you are solely breastfeeding.

  25. Jerica says

    Still you have a really good baby. My daughters did not sleep 5.5 hrs when we switched them to their cribs at 3.5 weeks. One refused dream feeds and ate every 3.5 hrs til 6 months and the other had reflux. So hooray for you! Glad it worked so great.

  26. I really like what you said about picking up the bany while their sleeping and letting them feed to sleep through the night. I put my son down at 8pm every night. The schedule definitely works but my son wakes up around 12/1230 every night and sometimes 1 or 2 times after. I’m going to try the feeding thing. Any other advice you could give is appreciated. My LO is almost 7 months.

  27. Autumn says

    I’m expecting my first and this article was SUCH a relief. It’s incredibly inspirational to hear a real life story (not just from a book) of your success with your sweet baby sleeping through the night. Thank you for sharing! I will definitely try this once our baby is born!

  28. Lindsey says

    Sounds good! Thanks for this. I’m a new mom and our little girl just turned 4 weeks yesterday. I’m wondering, do you still need to wake up and pump? I’m exclusively breastfeeding and I’m nervous that if I didn’t pump at night my supply would dip. ( 2 bad days of puney feedings and not pumping enough cut my supply in half and I’m working to rebuild it) do you wake to pump??

  29. Great tips, but please please do your research on letting a baby sleep in the rock n play!

  30. This article is very informative for a first and often second time mum. I am about to become a first time grandma, but I am also a preschool teacher and a mother of three and this was a great reminder of the importance of routines. I can vouch for routines with children through my own personal experiences and children attending preschool, children and adults alike thrive on routines. It maybe differcult to begin with but it pays off in the long run, do it now don’t wait till they reach 2 or 3 years of age and wonder why it is so hard arguing with 2 year old about why they need to go to sleep at night and I have heard this story so many times from parents who havn’t estabilished a routine, routines evolve with time and adjust with age.
    thanks

  31. Can you clarify? Do you put your baby to bed for the night in the Rock n’ Play or crib?

  32. You don't need to know says

    What a load of shit!! Every baby is different! And you can ‘abide’ by your advice and it still not work! Give this advice when your more kids in and the same schedule has worked

    • Obv you didn’t read her disclaimer. It clearly states in ALL CAPITALS that every baby is different. What worked for her child and other children isn’t automatically going to work for all children. She was giving input on how this worked for her and her son. No need to be so rude. My mother didn’t put any of us on a routine and I remember my baby brothers being little hellions. My stepmom , on the other hand, had my other brother and sister on a routine very early on, and they were and still are much more well behaved.

  33. Danielle says

    I used babywise with my fisrst and she slept 6 to 8 hours by 6 eeeks and 12 hours by 3 months! It was awesome!!! Not only were we sleeping, but she hardly ever cried about anything because of our schedule. It was so easy to know that it was feeding or nap time. It seems hard to stick to a strict schedule but in the end its waaay easier to have a happy well rested baby who isnt screaming to eat, or screaming for no other reason that they are tired. Tip… have your baby nap in various places, carseat, stroller, bassinet, pack n play, floor or couch. You want your baby to be adaptable so you can have a life. It makes the family experience enjoyable!

  34. Sahar says

    Wow I’m still during my pregnancy on my first child, but in love your article and schedule and really hope I can do the same or even close!! Thanks

  35. Taylor says

    I’d love to know what the rest of your schedule looks like during the day!

  36. Ciera says

    Can you share your schedule?

    When and for how long does your son nap?

    We are also new parents with an 8 week old who would love for it to be this easy!

  37. Jazenia Harbison says

    Hello! My baby turned a month old yesterday and my husband and I have not been able to get him on a schedule. This isn’t because we havent been able to but just simply because we really haven’t been ABLE to. I had a “home birth” but it was at a family friends house where I gave birth because my husband at the time were living with my in laws. That same night I gave birth for 3 days my husband and I stayed at my aunt’s house so I could recover. After that for 2 ish weeks my mom had rented a vacation home for while she was in town and my husband baby and I stayed there til my mom left, then were back at the in laws house. Only this past Sunday did we FINALLY move into our own place. With baby already being 4 weeks and 3 days old, how would you suggest that I go about putting him on a schedule? I also breast feed like you. The one thing i have been able to keep regualr throughout all this moving around is that during his day naps he always sleeps in his swing and at night we have him in his bassinet and he NEEDS noise to be able to stay sleeping so we almost always have music going. During the day it’s more upbeat stuff and at night we put on strictly slow calm instrumental music… other than that we don’t have any set schedule and I am really wanting to get him onto one.

  38. I also used the method from ‘How to teach a baby to fall asleep alone’ ebook by Susan Urban. It went extremely well and I’m just one happy mommy 🙂 thanks for sharing the info about this guide.
    I love this blog and will definitely follow it, thanks!

    • Chloe says

      Urban’s guide shows the healthiest method out there. It just makes so much sense. Child feels safe, not betrayed, and it really really works. In our case it was only 3 days! Thanks so much for sharing

  39. Jessica says

    Yeah, none of this stuff has worked for me and we have tried from day 1 with our now 4 month old. This article comes across as a bit snobby first time Mom. You were blessed with a baby who slept through the night- very little of this would help someone whose baby isn’t sleeping. It is easy to say you make your baby eat for 30 minutes, for example, but mine can be wide awake and done after 5 minutes… no amount of shoving a breast in her mouth is going to change that!

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