Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Baby favorites. {sleeping}

 {A week late...but I'm continuing the Baby Favorites series today! Read about my nursery must-haves here}
 I'm no baby whisperer, but by 9 weeks Caleb was sleeping 9 hours and a full 12 hours at night by 12 weeks. Around that same time, he started taking long, predictable naps throughout the day, too. Of course, some of that has to do with him being a generally easy-going guy. But it really bugs me when people 100% attribute his great sleeping and schedule to his personality. It's not all luck, guys. It for sure has lots to do with that and also lots to do with how we've set him up for success. We've helped him learn to sleep well and we've found a great schedule that works for our family- it totally may not work for you. But in case you're interested, here are my favorite things that helped our little guy sleep so well {as a newborn and now as we near toddlerhood!}.

blog// Before Caleb arrived, I read a couple of blogs just to feel a little prepared for how to eventually develop a schedule. Of course, I read them all with a grain of salt and then reread them after Caleb arrived and I knew what his sleep was like. This blog was my favorite and had the most helpful hints. It loosely uses the BabyWise method, but I didn't really read that book and honestly, it all seemed like common sense for me. It lined up with Caleb's personality and mine. My biggest takeaways and tips I love to share? 
-you can't spoil a newborn! Snuggle as much as you want those first four or so weeks!
-start the crib early! Try different sleep locations in those first weeks, but use the crib as one of them.
-Eat, Wake, Sleep. As soon as Caleb was 4 weeks old, we started keeping him awake after each feeding instead of letting him stay in his milk coma. {this usually meant an angry diaper change after feedings to get him wide awake} It didn't take him long to catch on and by 6 weeks or so he always knew that eating did not mean sleeping! We don't even nurse him to sleep before bedtime!
-Put the baby down awake! This was trickier for Caleb during the day, but after some nap training, he totally got the hang of it.
And while I know schedules are totally not for everyone, it is great for us. We know what to expect everyday. Babysitters know what to expect. Even in those newborn days, we could get out and about with our baby without worrying about meltdowns or surprise feedings. 

crib// I'm finding that we're in the majority with this, but we 100% had Caleb sleep in his crib at night from the moment we came home. I had heard lots of stories about the dreaded 'crib transition' or babies getting so used to sleeping at an incline in their rock'n'play {we never bought/needed/used one at all!} or in their parents beds {which is EXTREMELY dangerous before 12 weeks old}. Plus, we live in a small house, have two big dogs that sleep in our bedroom, and Justin went back to work quickly. All of those made for an any decision for us- and it worked great! Since he never knew any different and didn't have any colic or reflux, Caleb has always done great in his crib.

Summer Infant SwaddleMe // I know everyone raves about these blankets , but we hardly used ours. As soon as Caleb was big enough, we started using these amazing sacks that took all the work of swaddling away from night time feedings/changings. They were so much harder for him to break out of! Soon, we stopped doing any diaper changes at night and went right back to sleep after each feeding. I definitely credit this lifesavers!

MAM Silicone Start Pacifier // Since he has always been a great eater, we gave Caleb his first pacifier in the hospital and he loved them until he got his first teeth. They seemed to be a really good source of comfort, and he only ever took them when he was tired. We found that these were his favorite and essential to helping him sleep at night!

White noise// Because everyone made it sound super important, we went ahead and used this sound machine from the very beginning {on the white noise setting- the heartbeat and others are so creepy!}. We stopped using it after awhile because Caleb really was able to fall asleep and stay asleep without it. But still worth having!

Halo Sleepsack // We didn't stop swaddling Caleb until closer to 8 months, which is crazy. But he loved the comfort of it! We used this to slowly transition him out of the swaddle, but ended up just ditching it all together because that seemed to work best for him...

Monkey//...but! He had become so used to 'cuddling' with his swaddle, that we had to replace the with something. Enter his monkey. He loves this thing {or anything similiar} and keeps it near him throughout the entire night!

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