Yup! You heard it right! Mama and daddy were not having this no-sleep sporadic schedule stuff! (and Scarlett definitely wasn’t either!)
It is no secret that having a baby turns your life upside down-this is probably the one thing that EVERYONE tells you while pregnant… Your body changes, mood swings, your mental and physical health experiences things it had never before, and this whole human depends on you for their every move. You are their life, and your heart now tells you… THEY ARE YOUR LIFE.
While in the hospital, the whole “no sleep” thing hits you like a truck. The nurses check on baby every few hours and then they come in and check on you every other few hours. People come in to do tests, give info, etc. WHAT IS SLEEP?! I promise it will be better at home- as long as you try to make it different.
I have always been a “follow the schedule” and I am a very organized person so we knew that the baby would be on a sleep schedule at some point in his life. I didn’t know it would start on day 4 of my little ones life- but here we are and we are so happy for it!
Now, do not feel guilty and think that this is selfish. Children need their sleep. They need routines and structure. Children need stability and something they can feel in control of. Developmentally, they need sleep. Brain/cognitive development, physical growth, and so much more! This is not selfish. Whether you need this night time to take a breather, watch some TV, read, do your hobby, talk to your significant other, call a friend, etc. YOU NEED THIS. Ernie and I take this time to settle down together, watch a movie, snuggle Scarlett, reflect on the crazy happenings in our life, and we simply just get a moment together. Just like they say “happy wife, happy life” I believe the same is true for mamas (and dads). You can not be a good, happy, healthy mom if you aren’t making good, happy, healthy choices for yourself (your family.)
Please do your research and learn about safe independent sleep training/learning. Read up on it and read it again! It’s a lot of information at first (I highly recommend researching while you’re pregnant) and you’ll decide what methods, schedules, tactics, etc. fit best for your family before actually implementing it and doing it.
I’m not going to talk about HOW to get started or advise you of anything because I am NOT qualified or experienced enough for that… BUT… I will tell you what works for Elijah as a newborn and what we’ve been doing for almost 2 weeks.
First, we decided what was most important to us through all of this. A schedule, he sleeps as long as he needs, he must be full, and there is no such thing as spoiling newborns.
We let his brain do what it needs to do just like with eating, so we don’t cap him to 1 hour naps… however we do cap him at 3 hour day naps because then he simply doesn’t have enough wake time to sleep longer at night.
I picked 8AM wake and 8PM sleep… HOWEVER, bedtime starts at 7PM.
8AM he wakes to food, changes for the day, stays awake and we play.
Following his natural wake times, (we had to observe his sleep cues etc. the first few days & these will change as he grows) we put him in his bed before he becomes tired and cranky- this way he falls asleep on his own and he isn’t dependent on eating, being rocked, etc. So since he is usually awake for an hour and 15 or an hour and a half, he goes to his bed at the one hour mark.
This cycle continues for the rest of the day.
Eli must be awake by 6 PM (only time we’ll wake him from his natural sleep.) He eats and gets nice and full, plays, talks, or just hangs out with us for a little bit.
7PM/730PM is the start to his bed time and before becoming tired we do, Bath, Jammies, Read Books, and then into his bed he goes.
Again, he falls asleep on his own because he is not over tired, he is happy and content.
He wakes 3x at night
11pm, 2am, and 5am. During the night, the lights stay off at all times. We have a night light that gives off just enough light for us to see. When he wakes, we feed him 1/2 of his bottle, change his diaper if needed (BM or very full pee) , feed the other 1/2 of his bottle, ensure his swaddle is cozy & tight, & then put him back in bed to go to sleep.
I truly believe him knowing that the swaddle & his bed mean “sleep” has helped TREMENDOUSLY! There is no sleeping in the mamaroo (unless maybe for a day nap and someone came to visit him) and only occasionally do we let him sleep in our arms… he’s a baby and we want all the snuggles but it is so important to us that he knows what his bed means- this is the foundation to a wonderful sleep schedule for ALL of us, forever!
Although our sleep life seems perfect right now, we are expecting regression as he grows. And with time and milestones he will change and we will adjust. It is important to remember that raising children in general, NOT just sleep training, is a winding road.. nothing is a straight shot. We do use a Paci and he does amazing with knowing that he needs it to calm down or he refuses it because it isn’t necessary. He doesn’t get to just walk around with it for no reason (no offense to children that do this- I just refuse.) We will also transition out of the swaddle in the next few weeks- they cannot use them when starting to roll over. Right now, newborns love it because they have been safe and squished for 9 months… it’s all they know.
Mamas, remember… you will NEVER be the best mom. You can be the best employee, best teacher, best cook, etc. But you will not ever be the best mother.
Your children are changing every day and just because you’ve had other children and/or experiences- it doesn’t mean anything… they are all different and each one will throw you off. When you think you’ve mastered a skill or feel excited that potty training is finally working or teething is over- the next thing comes up and you will feel like a failure again.
Mama, celebrate the small wins and embrace them while they’re here! The next thing is coming, it will be tough, but you will be amazing! Just go with it.
You got this mama! -and daddy!! 🤍