Baby Sleep Guide: Newborn Edition for the Minimalist Mom

babysleepguideWhen I was expecting my first baby people did not hesitate to give me a billion opinions on how I should raise my child. There were dozens of ways to do every single thing, in minute detail. After my daughter was born, I quickly realized that all the women giving out instructions failed to tell me how HORRIFIC not getting any sleep actually was. I believe now it is because we feel like we are superwomen and can do it all. That’s just not the case, ladies.

I will be the first to tell you that not getting sleep is worse than you can even think. Forget what stylish diaper bag you chose and clothing you purchased to show off the little one. That all goes out the window after about 7 days of no sleep. You will be obsessed with sleep. You will try everything and anything just to get the little one to bed. And, once he/she is asleep you will not be able to because you are wondering if they are still breathing!

I seriously cringe at the thought of my state of being in those first few weeks. I tried it all. I had my daughter in a pack-n-play, bouncy seat, my arms, you name it short of climbing up a tree limb upside down {I would have done it if it had of worked}.

This is not a message to freak you out, but I think someone should seriously shed some light on what the first few weeks are like. The sooner it is accepted that this is a process, and the shred of hope that one day you will be sleeping normally again is granted, the better.

I want to share some of my baby sleep secrets with you. This absolutely worked for me and all my mommy friends were and are envious my sleep routine. It is simple that these ideas can be pushed to the back of the mind, but just try it and stick with it a few days just to see. It is worth sharing and worth trying at some point if you and sweet baby are sleep deprived.

1. Lighting: The days should be bright and cheery. Babies are used to being in the womb where it is dark and loud. I never cut out noise during the day. I wanted my baby to know that it is daytime, and when the lights are out, it is bedtime.

2. Swaddle: This is a humongous debate, but babies love to  be swaddled. They will certainly fight it and you will think they hate it, but they don’t. I used Swaddle Me Blankets that have velcro so the baby would not bust out of it at night. They are snug-as-bug and their arm reflexes stay tucked in so it doesn’t wake them up throughout the night. It will also provide warmth because you shouldn’t have blankets in the bed with a newborn.

3. White Noise: There should be some white noise in the night. I downloaded a Sound Sleeper App on my iPad and it looped throughout the night so it wouldn’t shut off. I played the noise of a fan so it wouldn’t be too distracting to me. The womb is very loud so the baby is used to having noise while they sleep. The quiet is disturbing and they sleep much better with white noise.

4. Snug-A-Bunny Rock-N-Play: I used this item for several months. I discovered it from forums for helpless moms like me who where trying to get the baby to sleep. It is inclined for reflux and snuggly all around the baby. Plus, it is small and easy to carry. I tried putting baby to sleep in a pack-n-play, bouncy seat, car seat, crib, bassinet, but this saved the day!

5. Routine: This should be started from the very beginning. Choose something that works for you both. Soon enough, baby will know that you are signaling bedtime and they are going to sleep. My routine was very simple. A late bath, lights out, soundsleeper white noise turned on, a diaper change, swaddle, then rock with a bottle. After a few nights, the baby was sleeping longer and more sound with fewer wake-ups during the night.

I consistently stuck with my plan and got really great results. My baby slowly began sleeping more and I felt human again.

A few sidenotes:

  • I formula feed.
  • I did not and do not want the baby sleeping in my bed
  • I use a pacifier- they naturally feel the need to suckle
  • I allowed myself a lot of grace. I am not perfect but do my absolute best
  • I try not to criticize other mom’s way of doing things. We are all different with different beliefs and circumstances

Every child and mom are different. While I was expecting, I wanted to hear other mother’s stories about what works and what doesn’t. There is no substitution other than going through it yourself with your baby. I want to just share my advice and my story for you. It can be intimidating, but you will be a great mother with the sweetest child in the world! The hard parts will pass and you will feel normal again. Your heart will burst with so much love. There are no words to describe the feeling of being Mother. Allow space for change and flexibility. Give lots of snuggles and kisses. Try the easy way first. Remove what doesn’t matter and focus on what does. Ride the ebs and flows of the new experience. Cherish the hard. Focus on the present. Good luck to you and your sweet bundle.

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