That’s one of the most popular questions asked when you have a newborn at home. Everyone knows, whether a veteran mama or someone who’s only seen a diaper in a TV commercial, that a newborn baby doesn’t allow their parents much sleep in those first few months. However, I was determined for all of us to get a good night’s sleep. I thrive on routine, schedules and to-do lists. And while parenthood has taught me that things definitely don’t always (maybe “rarely” is a better word 😂) go as planned, I set out right away to get Henry on some type of schedule that shortly became our “new normal.” So when friends ask me, “How’s Henry sleeping?” I can answer them bright eyed and bushy tailed with “like a champ!” How did we do it? Keep reading to find out! 👇🏻
When I was pregnant, I was quite the bookworm (I am in general, actually). I was particularly drawn to the book “Baby Wise” and what they had to say about getting your baby to sleep through the night, especially the part where it said it would happen sooner than later! Babies, like myself, also thrive on routine and begin to learn “what happens next” in their day. That was music to my ears. Soon enough, I began implementing the Baby Wise principles paired with the “Moms On Call” schedule and Henry started sleeping ALL. NIGHT. LONG. Yes mamas, it CAN happen! For us, it’s all about our day & night routines which look like this:
**This routine/schedule worked for us but obviously might not work for every baby. I would recommend reading Baby Wise and Moms on Call for more information and tips! If you are a family with an unpredictable nighttime schedule (ie out until different times every night), this won’t work for you.
6:30-7am: Henry wakes up (like clockwork) & has his first feeding of the day. We let light into his room and change his clothes so he knows it’s not nighttime any longer.
8/8:15am: Henry hangs with Dad before he goes to work while I get ready for my day with him. So when hubs leaves for the day around 8-8:15, I take Henry on a stroll in the Baby Bjorn. We do this EVERY morning and I love seeing how much more aware Henry is of his surroundings as the days go by. He will typically take a cat nap between his first and second feedings of the day.
9:30am: Henry’s next feeding, activity time & then naptime. We do tummy time, read a book, practice rolling over, etc. If I have errands to run, I typically do them around this time with him and he will nap in the carseat/stroller.
12:30pm: Henry’s next feeding, activity time & then naptime.
3:30pm: Henry’s next feeding, activity time & then naptime. Usually after this feeding we hang in the nursery for a little bit and read & listen to music or he will watch me put away his clothes.
6:30pm: Henry’s next feeding, activity time & then naptime. Naptime is often shorter during this period. We start dimming the lights around the house at this time of day so Henry knows it’s not party time any longer!
8:30pm: This is when we begin our “nighttime routine.” At 8:30pm sharp, I start his bath. While the bath is filling, hubby hangs with Henry and I set out his pjs and clothes for the following day with their respective diapers (use an overnight diaper at night! That is KEY!), get the bottle ready (Dad feeds Henry before bed with a bottle) and get the swaddle in place & ready to go. Once the bath is all set, I bathe H for about 10-15 minutes and keep the atmosphere calm & relaxed (low voice and no excessive excitement). He starts yawning in the tub – it’s too cute!
After the bath, I get him diapered and dressed in his pjs. I turn down the lights, turn on the sound machine and the ceiling projector, and Dad knows that’s his cue. Henry gets swaddled in his Halo SleepSack (arms free) and fed while listening to lullabies (around 9-9:15pm). When all is said and done, our sleepy baby gets tucked into his DockATot (SO NECESSARY) and settles himself to sleep.
This routine has worked for us since Henry was between 5 & 6 weeks old. The first few nights we tried this consistently and had our DockATot, he gave us 6 hour stretches. So we knew we were on to something! We stuck with it and soon enough he started skipping that 3am waking time. The first time he slept until 6am we were SO HAPPY (and kinda worried – but the pediatrician reassured us this was okay based on his weight/age!). The important thing to do is keep the morning and nighttime feedings around the same time every day. So if H wakes up at 6:30 OR 7am, he still eats again at 9:30. Depending on the day, sometimes this schedule will fluctuate by a half hour — but I haven’t let it change much more than that. Soon enough, H should be transitioning to go even longer between his feedings and sleeping even longer at night. I’ll keep you updated if anything changes!