So many friends have had babies recently, am I right? It was like Otto was the beginning of a wave of babies that were born between December and March. There's another wave of my friends right now who are due between October and December. I think this generation of kids is going to outnumber the Baby Boomers for sure! Anyway, I've had so many discussions with friends on infant sleep. After Otto was born, I had the privilege of hiring a sleep consultant and night nanny for 6 weeks, and have been relaying her advice to my friends with sleepless infants since.
Otto was the typical infant who was up all night and slept all day the first two weeks he was home. I wanted to die from the lack of sleep! Thus, how we hired a sleep consultant. I also called the FREE sleep consultant offered by Gerber for her help before the night nurse's start date, I was so desperate. Both women had wonderful advice that worked wonders (seriously - WONDERS!) on Otto. By nine weeks, he was sleeping through the night. I've learned that it's not so much that you "get a good sleeper or a bad sleeper" - there are many things that you as the caregiver can do (or not do) that affects how the nights will go. With Henry, I was clueless and did none of these things; low and behold, he was a terrible sleeper. With Otto, we did them as soon as we learned about them; go figure, he's a great sleeper! Thanks for Gerber® Good Start® for sponsoring these sleep tips and ticks.
You're wondering what those things are, huh? Well here's my short list on how to help your infant sleep better at night:
1) Establish a routine.
Babies are creatures of habit, and starting a routine as early as possible is essential to setting their circadian rhythm. Put them down for a nap(s) at the same time everyday, and start a bedtime routine that's the same and done at the same time everyday. Consistency really pays off here! My sleep consultant recommended 7pm-7am for all babies and toddlers. I know that's early, but it results in my children getting enough sleep! Also, personal time for me in the evenings, which is a plus.
2) Put the baby down for naps the same way you do at night.
For us, that meant Otto was swaddled in his bassinet for all naps and night time sleeping. This way, he learns that when he's swaddled and in his "space" it's time for sleep. This was a HUGE mistake I made with Henry - I let him nap on me, on the couch, in a swing - where ever! No wonder he was such a terrible sleeper at night. He didn't know that the crib meant sleepy time. Now Otto is just in a sleep sack in his crib, but I still put him down for naps the same way I put him down at night. Dark room, sleep sack, and sound machine on.
4) Place them in light during the day.
This was some of the best advice I got from my Gerber sleep consultant! She told me babies are in a dark womb for 9 months, so when they come into the world, it's very common for them to be up all night and sleeping all day. To help set their clocks to the real world schedule, put their bassinet/have them do tummy time/playtime in the light of a window or outside. Then when you put them down for naps, make sure their room is dark. This will help them learn that light is for awake time and dark is for sleeping. This did wonders for Otto! Within the first week of trying it, he started to actually sleep at night instead of being awake/coo'ing/talking/crying all night.
5) Watch for environmental allergies.This was a huge lesson learned with Otto! Henry can wear any diaper, use any wipe and rarely ever has a diaper rash. Tough skin on that one! But Otto? Even diapers labeled "sensitive" were too much for him. For those first dreadful two weeks home, he would fuss all night long. He had what I just thought was a diaper rash... That never went away. My hired sleep consultant said a diaper rash lasting as long as Otto's did wasn't normal, and to try switching out his diapers and wipes to an all organic, chemical free brand. The second we did that, his "rash" cleared up! He was likely extra fussy at night with it because he was lying on it and irritating it further. So make sure your baby is good to go with the diapers, wipes and even things like laundry detergent, bath washes, etc you're using. Even a little irritation can keep baby up from discomfort all night! This is also true of infant formulas. Gerber® Good Start® Soothe has Comfort Proteins® for babies like Otto who have excessive fussiness and gas. This formula is great for tiny tummies, birth to 12 months! In fact, even if you don’t have a particularly gassy baby (lucky you!) Gerber® has a range of infant formulas to suit your needs, from supplementing your breastmilk to Stage 2 formula (for babies 6-12 months) all the way through Stage 3, which includes probiotics and is designed for your toddler. Check out Target's Cartwheel app for deals on the formula, too!
|Thanks to Gerber® for providing me samples of their Good Start® Soothe formula!|
Lack of sleep is tough to handle, and only gets worse the more children you have! With the first baby, you can "sleep when the baby sleeps." But after that, you're on your own because you have to be up with your other children! We hired a sleep consultant and I spoke with the sleep consultants at Gerber for Otto, and I learned some great information. Even if you think you have a "bad sleeper" you can implement these tips and right the ship - trust me! Helping your infant sleep better at night is directly correlated to what YOU do during the day. With a little consistency, you can do it mamas! Comfort for babies means happiness for all. When my baby is happy and well rested, I'm happy and well rested and the whole family is happy and well rested!
Gerber sent us some samples to have on hand, but you can also find Gerber® Good Start® at your local Target.