Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sleep Basics for Baby

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SLEEP. 4 months ago my most favorite-est thing in the whole world was sleep. Or even just lying in bed, snug and warm - with or without the hubby. Then my babies happened. Sleep became a thing of the past literally overnight

(Side note: Why must people start every conversation with "Are you getting much sleep?" or the even less amusing question, "Are the babies sleeping through the night yet? WHO HAS A BABY WHO SLEEPS THROUGH THE NIGHT AT 2 WEEKS OLD?!? ... but I digress...)

Now my babies come in first on the favorite list, closely followed by sleep. While I was pregnant, I researched a lot about teaching your baby to sleep and also about the every 2-3 hour feedings as newborns. It didn't really hit me what every 2-3 hours felt like until I was doing it night after night. Some nights I barely clocked in 5 [interrupted] hours of sleep. And at 7 weeks, I had to go back to work. So I did what any sleep-deprived momma does and turned to Dr. Google to find out how to fashion my babies into champion sleepers.

After reading the entire internet's worth of sleep training advice, all of the experts' contradictions and each and every side of every controversy (disclaimer: I did not actually read the entire internet) I put it all together and this is what I came up with: I have no idea what I'm doing. To swaddle or not to swaddle? If I use a white noise machine, will they ever be able to sleep in a quiet place? And oh-em-gee, if I don't cradle and rock my babies until they are in a dead sleep and then tiptoe out of the room, will I be the worst mother ever? Everything I read was exhausting, truly exhausting. And I had newborn twins so I know exhausting.

Here are the basics:
  • Babies need a routine, something consistent and predictable. Start early. Babies should be in bed at a way earlier time than I thought. We start our routine around 6:45 p.m. and everyone is in bed and asleep by 7:30 at the latest. Our routine goes as follows: dinner of pureed something, quiet playtime in their nursery, bath time, pajamas, warm bottle with added rice cereal*, swaddle, sleep.  
  • Swaddle. We use the Summer Infant Swaddlers because they are amazing... you can read about WHY I love these things so much here! Swaddle until they no longer want to be swaddled or they begin to roll over. We then switched to sleep sacks around 5 months and footed pajamas at 8 months.
  • White noise. We do use a white noise machine for bed time and naps. And we use it at a moderately loud setting. I have slept with white noise on at that volume and it is comfortable and comforting. 
  • Put baby down awake. One very important point that I would like to stress is that we put our babies in their cribs drowsy, but awake. And we have from day one. They learn to fall asleep on their own instead of putting themselves in a food coma before they hit the mattress. I honestly believe that this is key the key to a good night's sleep. I do not need to rock the babies to sleep or tiptoe out of the room. I mean, seriously, who has time to do that every night for a year with one baby, let alone two at the same time? It would be a different story if these guys were singletons, I'm sure.
At 4 months, the boys are only waking once in the middle of the night for a bottle (with cereal added to that one as well*) and then waking between 5 and 6 a.m. - we will be working on extending early morning wake-ups next, with a goal wake time of 7 a.m.

If you've liked (or heck, even if you didn't like) what you read in the post - tell me about it! 

*Yes, I understand this is one of those controversial topics... please do your own research to find out if adding rice (or oatmeal) cereal to bottles is the right decision for your family. You can read this post for the pros and cons on this topic and much more information, as I am quite passionate about it!

**Disclosure statement 


  1. I am so glad I found your blog! We are 9 weeks pregnant with twins! I look forward to reading more of your blog! Great advice!

  2. Congratulations! Twins are the best and you will loveeee being a twin momma!

  3. Hi! What are your thoughts when you put baby down in that drowsy state and they decide it's just not going to happen. They either just lay there for like 30 minutes and you're "wasting a nap" and in my mind, risking entering that scary "overtired" phase. Or they start crying and are just not wanting to go down. In both of those cases would you rock baby to sleep even though that's what we're trying to avoid?

    1. I find that this tends to happen when baby is going through a developmental milestone or is in the process of transitioning to fewer naps. My one baby has been going through this and is currently almost walking, started saying Dadadada AND are transitioning from 3 naps a day to 2 naps a day. That's A LOT for a baby to handle!
      I start with babies in the crib and do a 15 minute check if anyone is still awake. After 30 minutes, I will put them in their swing in they are still fussing and if that doesn't work - I give up and try nap time again in an hour.
      This all goes out the window though if they are hysterical or inconsolable. I will cuddle, feed, etc until they have calmed down and then start over.