I hope that this post doesn't jinx my good fortune…
Everyone tells me how lucky I am that Baby J is a good sleeper. I don’t know otherwise, but I trust them and feel very fortunate. Hopefully blogging about this doesn’t reverse my good fortune. 😉
While I know that some of it has to do with her temperament, and the fact that she must have been born with my sleep genes (neither my dad nor I can say no to a good nap no matter what time of day…), a lot of it has to do with the steps my husband and I have put into place to give her a safe and healthy sleeping environment. When Janeen Hayward of Swellbeing, and Deree Kobets and Meredith Legenos of Grow spoke at Bump Club’s Expectant Mom Dinner tonight, it was a good refresher of all of the things we have done within our control to get to where we are today.
1. Make sure to have a nice firm mattress for your baby to sleep on. If you can get an organic mattress, even better.
2. Try to make the baby’s room as dark as possible. We purchased temporary blackout shades on Amazon.com. Baby J’s room is dark all day long—for her naps and at night. However during the first 8-12 weeks of her life, we let her nap anywhere. Most of the time, she napped in our living room during the day. But now, the dark room definitely helps to signify that it is time to go to sleep.
3. We use a white noise machine. We have the Sounds for Silence by The First Years, which we bought at Target. Since we transferred her from the Pack N’ Play in our bedroom to the crib in hers when she turned 8 weeks old, we have used the white noise every night. I now need white noise to sleep as it puts me into a restful slumber through the monitor (it’s either that or the fact that I am simply exhausted!)
4. SWADDLE SWADDLE SWADDLE! For the first six weeks we thought that J “hated” the swaddle. As it turns out, we were not making it tight enough and she was busting out of it. That was when we enlisted the straight jacket of all swaddle blankets: Summer Infant’s SwaddleMe (also described here on our blog.) J slept more soundly once we started to really wrap her up in this. While I can’t promise anything, she started sleeping much longer stretches once she couldn’t wake herself up at night. As it turned out, she didn’t hate being swaddled after all.
5. Make sure the temperature is right in the room. We keep our upstairs at 68-69 degrees F.
6. Make sure your baby is wearing clothes that allow their bodies to breathe. Organic cotton is best, especially if it is next to your baby’s skin. Synthetic materials can make them hot. We now dress J in cotton or organic cotton one piece pajamas and put her in a sleep sack. Our favorite is the Aden + Anais muslin Classic Sleeping Bag. It seems thin, but has two layers and really keeps the baby quite comfortable. If you want more warmth, you can always use the Aden + Anais muslin Cozy Sleeping Bag.
7. Once she was 12 weeks old we started a routine. Generally speaking between 7-7:30 (depending on the day’s nap schedule) we take a bath (sometimes a quick one), change into our pj’s, and have a bottle in our glider before going into the crib. Sometimes we change things up a bit. If J doesn’t seem tired, we lay on her rug and listen to music for a few songs until she starts to rub her eyes.
8. Try not to put a mobile that makes noise or a ton of movement over the bed as this can be distracting. Instead, put it over the changing table as that is a place where you can use a distraction for the baby.
9. We have kept Baby J’s bed free of everything. She has a mattress, mattress cover, and a sheet which all sits on top of the bedskirt. There is no bumper, no stuffed animals, no blankets, NOTHING else inside the crib. These are the guidelines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
10. You won’t know your baby’s sleep needs or schedule (which they likely won’t have until they are 4 months+) until after they are out of the womb. So take it one day at a time. When you first bring them home, give them what they need. These are my favorite words of Janeen’s. Your baby is only that tiny for so
long—there is no such thing as spoiling a 2-week old baby! Just enjoy your time with them!
I can’t promise that your baby is going to be sleeping through the night at three months if you follow these guidelines. Some things are just out of your control. But I will say that Janeen Hayward has been sharing these ideas with me now for over a year, and using any of them or a combination thereof, can only help you to get you to the place you want to be with your baby’s sleep. Make sure to sign up for both Swellbeing and Grow’s e-newseletter so that you an get the latest tips for sleep and information on the best products to help you achieve results!