The Fashion Global

How I Got My Baby To Sleep 12 Hours At Night

“You guys are so lucky that you got a good sleeper,” everyone keeps saying to Grant and me.

Yup, we just miraculously got a good sleeper. In fact, I put it on the special order instructions when I was picking out the picture perfect baby I’d always dreamed of. I’m kidding.

The truth is, it took quite a bit of work to get us here.

Listen, every baby and every family is so different and I do not by any means think that we have it all figured out. We’re only 5 months in! I also truly feel sincere compassion for the parent’s out there who have a baby that simply won’t sleep. It breaks my heart to hear stories. And even though we seem to have the sleep schedule pretty ironed out, there are constant hurdles and challenges to keep things running smoothly. There are so many days I’m running around with poop on my shirt, hair is a mess and it’s 4pm and I haven’t brushed my teeth yet.

But the minute we got pregnant I knew there was one area of weakness that I wanted to zero in on and it was this: sleep. Grant and I are babies when it comes to sleep. It isn’t just one of us, it’s both of us and we can’t really pick up each other’s slack when we are sleep deprived. So I literally put us through baby sleeping boot camp and became an EXPERT at all things baby-sleep related.

1. Read, Read and Read Some More

Throughout my pregnancy, I read everything I could get my hands on. From Bringing Up Bebe, The Happiest Baby on the Block, Cherish the First Six Weeks to Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, The Wonder Weeks and Baby Wise, each and every book gave me something valuable. There were tidbits that I took and continue to take from each book that I apply to parenting. You really do need to educate yourself first so that you know how sleep works with babies. You also need to learn how to adapt different schedules and techniques to work for your baby. What worked for my baby may not work for yours. Everyone is different. Just like I might like to go to bed at 9pm and wake up at 7am, it doesn’t mean that my neighbor does the same thing!

2. Get On A Schedule ASAP

The very first day we came home from the hospital we put June on a schedule. I know a lot of people disagree with this but it wasn’t like we were super strict about it and we genuinely followed June’s cues if she was hungry or sleepy. But the schedule is more for the parent’s at this point than it is for the baby. The schedule gave Grant and I the structure we needed in order to survive in those early days of complete chaos. The days were such a blur, but it was comforting knowing that every 2 hours, on the mark, we would start feeding her. Feed, Wake, Sleep was our cycle every 2 hours and it really did teach us how to manage June’s day. In order to track all this information, we purchased an incredibly handy little tracking notebook from Amazon. It was a true game changer for us throughout this process.

3. Cut Back On Night Feedings

By the time June hit 3 months, cutting back on the night time feedings came easy because she was already on her schedule. This part came with a lot of ease because we increased her daily ounces and slowly tapered down on the middle of the night feedings.

4. Develop A Night Time Routine

The night time routine is SO important. Doing the same thing, at the same time to cue up the baby’s internal clock that it is time for bed time. We started this routine at the 3 month mark and even though it was a little early, it got Grant and I in the habit of doing it. This way, by the time June started to notice, we were already well practiced! I am home almost every night at the same time to do her night time routine. It’s a part of my day that I simply cannot miss. Once June started doing her nights I was able to slowly allow Grant and my mom to try night time routine but it’s usually just me.

5. Trust Your Instinct

The very first time I recall June “doing her night” {aka sleeping 12 hours straight}, we did our normal routine at 7pm. Grant and I went downstairs for dinner but I knew we would still have to feed June around 3-4am when she typically woke up for an extra ounce or two. So, at 10pm I kept June in her swaddle and gave her an extra 3 oz. I didn’t change her diaper and she was half sleeping through the feed, but this allowed her to stay full until the morning – she made it all that way through! I just had a gut feeling that June could do the entire night if she had a little night cap and it worked!

6. Have The Right Tools

We also never let June “cry it out.” We use a pacifier and anytime she starts to cry we immediately pop in her pacifier. I believe that by letting June cry, it gets her heart-rate going and actually wakes her up more. So anytime she starts stirring a little early, we go in and pop in her pacifier. We also are firm believers in the swaddle and black out curtains and have a good noise machine. Basically, we set up a nice little cozy cave for her to rest comfortably in and have no distractions.

Listen, I cannot stress enough how every baby is different. But I don’t think that there are “lucky” and “unlucky” ones. Outside of truly colicky baby’s or unfortunate sick infants, most baby’s are just in need of some structure and guidance. They need to be taught how to sleep.

So many of you had written in asking how we got June to sleep through the night so quickly and this is everything I did. I hope it helps someone out there who is up until 2am researching away {like I was, ha!}.

Full disclosure: We had a night time nurse specialist who helped us tremendously in the beginning. However we felt like we really broke through into 12 hour nights after she left. We also are bottle feeding which makes it easier than breastfeeding to keep track of ounce intake etc…

Happy Sleeping!

xoxo jacey

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