How We Laid a Healthy Sleep Foundation
Taking Cara Babies ‘Will I Ever Sleep Again?’ Newborn Sleep Course: I purchased this course for $74 when Isla was 3 weeks and 4 days old, and it was the best $74 I have ever spent. The investment is so low compared to other sleep courses out there and it is a no cry method that you can start when babies are 4 weeks, although you can practice techniques from day one. I loved Cara’s approach and the information gave me so much confidence. After just one day of the program, Isla was already napping longer and by day two she was putting herself to sleep when we laid her in her crib after her nap routine. This sleep course definitely helped lay a solid foundation for the months (and I honestly think years) to come! We will definitely be purchasing the next courses as she grows.
A good swaddle: Find one that your babe loves and learn how to use it correctly! Once we found a swaddle that she couldn't get out of, her sleep really improved. If there were a class on swaddle techniques, Monte would be teaching it and I would be failing it. I'm a total swaddle flunky and I'm not too proud to admit it. But if you're like me, there is hope for you too and you can read my swaddle review here!
A pacifier: Before we left the hospital a lactation consultant visited our room and gave us what I thought was very sound advice: no pacifier or bottles for at least a month to avoid nipple confusion. Fast forward to Isla at 10 days old when I nursed for, I kid you not, 5 hours straight. It was terrible and I was in excruciating pain. And guess what? We came to realize that Isla uses sucking to soothe, so while I thought I wasn’t producing enough milk for her yet, in reality she was just using me to fall (and stay) asleep. We went out and bought a pacifier and the second it was in her mouth she fell asleep. I'm all for non-nutritive comfort sucking and do believe it helps baby to feel safe and comforted during fussy periods, but hours on end is just impossible. Nipple confusion is still a pretty controversial topic, but in my experience, where breastfeeding was already strongly established, we had no issues with Isla taking a pacifier or a bottle of my expressed breastmilk and then going back to breastfeeding. Like with all things, you know your baby best and what works for both of you is the only thing that matters.
A schedule: (And not keeping her up so long): Did you know newborns have a wake time of 60-90 minutes? I didn’t until I started googling "why isn't my baby sleeping" and other things of that nature. Isla is such a happy little chicken that she was staying up for well past the 90 minute mark. I thought babies would just sleep when they were tired or at least show really obvious tired signs. Definitely wrong in our case. Sometimes they need a little help, so we started a nap routine around 50-60 minutes after she had been awake. It was a total game changer. Her nap time lengthened (from 20 minutes to about an hour) and her tired signs became way more obvious to us. She's still a short napper, but well within a normal range.
White Noise machine: Some babies respond well to it, others don't need it at all, or the hum of a fan or humidifier is enough for them. There are plenty of white noise playlists (Spotify has one called 'Baby Sleep Aid') but it does help to have a designated sound machine that is separate from your phone. We like ours because it isn't super loud (I worry about her little ears!) and is travel friendly!