Help! My Baby Still Won't Sleep! (More Soothing Tactics)
Sleep & My First Baby
I spend so much time and energy trying to get Cupcakes to sleep. I did a ton of research and was sleep deprived all the time for the first 2 months. I was obsessed with her sleep and my hub, Help! My Baby Won't Sleep! (Soothing Tactics) won Hub of the Day just days after I joined hub pages.
Now that I'm a 2nd time mom, I have some even better tips! Tootsie Roll sleeps like a champ, and even though he's breastfed, he's been sleeping through the night for at least a month! Even our pediatrician is shocked!
I'm sure it has a lot to do with who he is as a baby; I know every baby is different. However, I think these tricks that I didn't bother trying with Cupcakes are most excellent.
If you have a newborn, read on...
More Soothing Tactics
6 Newborn Sleep Tricks
In this hub, you'll learn my best 6 tips for getting your baby to sleep. Try them!
1. Don't Wake a Sleeping Baby
2. Three Words: Rock 'N Play
3. Swaddle Me
4. Try Harder with the Paci
5. Routine: Watch for Tired Cues
(They're More Obvious Than You Think)
6. Wear That Baby
1. Never Wake a Sleeping Baby
Whenever I've heard this sentence, it was preceded by "after the first week" or similar. Hospitals tell new moms to set an alarm for over night feedings. That may have made sense for Cupcakes because she was having trouble gaining weight, but Tootsie Roll didn't have trouble in that department.
Even so, this time in the hospital, the nurses told me they don't actually tell you to wake up every four hours even at night (to breastfeed) any more.
I was thrilled to hear this because setting an alarm and waking a sleeping newborn is crazy! In my opinion, if the baby was hungry, he or she would wake up on his or her own to eat. Waking them up gets them into poor sleep habits!
So let that baby sleep (unless of course, there are major weight gain concerns).
2. Rock 'n Play vs. Crib
Cupcakes went in her crib from Day 1 home from the hospital. Guess how well that worked out. She was a tiny baby on a huge, flat mattress. It wasn't cozy at all. Even then, I remember everyone talking about Rock 'n Plays and how great they are. Now I know. I love my Rock 'n Play. It's warm and snuggly and much more womb-like than a crib.
Admittedly, I am not looking forward to the transition that will have to happen, but for now, my baby is sleeping through the night so nothing I'm doing can possibly be wrong!
3. Babies Love Being Swaddled
Everyone keeps speculating that TR hates being swaddled because its like a straight jacket. But he really doesn't hate it. Really. He doesn't object at all when we're putting him in it, and when he's wearing it, he stays asleep much longer.
This is because when we put him down free as a bird, his limbs jerk and startle him awake. He does not know what to think about his arms and legs and he can't control them yet. Again, the swaddle is womb-like.
Swaddle Mes are my BEST newborn product recommendation! I tried swaddling Cupcakes in receiving blankets and no matter how well I wrapped her, she always escaped. These Swaddle Mes are so easy and they stay on!
You can see TR wearing his monkey one pictured above, and again in the last picture down below.
The Best Swaddle
4. Pacifiers & Sucking
When I was in the hospital with Cupcakes everyone wanted to put a pacifier in her mouth and I insisted they not. I read in the books about nipple confusion and didn't want any latch problems. I remember vividly one of the nurses explaining to me that babies need to suck. That's how they comfort themselves. Since I didn't allow Cupcakes a paci, she nursed a lot.
We didn't give her a paci until she was 4 weeks old. And by then, she wanted nothing to do with it. She did enjoy her fingers though, and eventually found her thumb. Unfortunately, she still finds her thumb. At three and a half years old. :-/
To (hopefully) prevent that situation from happening again, we're going for pacifiers this time!
I wrote all about this lovely game Tootsie Roll and I sometimes play which I have lovingly named, The Paci Wars. Good times...
5. Put Baby Down When He or She is Tired
This was the most puzzling thing for me the first time around. How are you supposed to know when the baby is tired?!
What I didn't realize at the time is that babies sleep all. the. time. They're tired A LOT. Some of TR's sleepy signs are yawning, fussing, and kicking in a panic-y manner. As soon as I spot a tired sign, I swaddle him up and put in his paci. And he's out. I will never forget standing under the oven fan rocking Cupcakes in my arms for 45 mins - 2 hours begging her in my mind to go to sleep.
I remember this schedule from one of the baby books I read (I think it was the E.A.S.Y. system):
You time AKA napping in bed.
He is not awake for long at all after he sleeps, and while he is awake, we do activities like bicycle legs, tummy time, rainforest play mat, bath, etc to get him nice and tired.
If he wakes up before its time to eat again (our pediatrician has him eating every 3 hours now, but before that, he ate about every 2 hours), I just get him back to sleep. Its important that the first thing he does when he wakes up is eat.
6. Baby Wear!
I kind of tried to baby wear Cupcakes, but the carrier I bought was the cheapest one I could find at Target and it very much hurt my back.
This time, I wanted to go with the real deal. I have a bunch of Internet friends that told me about their favorite carriers so I got a Moby Wrap and an Ergo Baby (similar to the Beco Gemini, another recommendation).
I love the Moby! I haven't really tried the Ergo yet because TR is just now getting big enough. The only thing I've been doing so far is the Newborn Hug Hold in the Moby. I combine it with the paci and TR goes right to sleep. He's right up against my heartbeat and its nice and cozy, womb-like.