Terms to Know-
45 Minute Intruder- one sleep cycle; babies seem to miraculously wake up from naps right at the 45 minute mark. This is because they are transitioning from one sleep cycle to another. They are really not ready to wake up. They will be crying; a well-rested baby should wake up happy from a nap.
Dreamfeed- The very last feeding of the day. The baby is sleeping and you stick a boob/bottle in a sleeping baby’s mouth. Do this right before you go to bed for the night but not after 11pm (that would be considered a middle of the night feeding). This “buys” you time by topping off their stomachs. Turn on minimal lights. Do not change the diaper unless you smell you need to. No talking.
Lovey– a transitional object used to help the baby fall asleep
Jules sleeping in my arms- swaddled but not wanting to be put down. Me looking very tired.
Sometime around four weeks, your little human will start to be awake more.
This is also the time when colic may begin and when you will start to see what type of baby you have. It is true- some babies are easier than others. There’s no way around it. And colic? It’s a bitch. Two of my three had it. You will be in survival mode and live on coffee, catnaps, and your baby’s smiles (even if they are far and few between). These are the things you cannot control. You will be working on the things you can.
First, you need to create a sleep haven, a delicious sleep environment. A black out shade is a must. Continue to use the sound machine and keep on swaddling your baby. When your baby outgrows the SwaddleMe swaddles, I love these because they help with transitioning out of the swaddle after 4 months. Around 3-4 months, introduce a lovey. This is our favorite. Make sure to buy at least two so you always have an extra. If you have a baby that fights sleep, these are the weapons in your arsenal.
Optimal wake time is no longer than 1 hour and will most likely be in the 30-45 minute range, at least at the start of this time period. You will probably be on a 2-3 hour feeding schedule during the day and hopefully longer at night. EASY is still in play (and will continue to be through out the first year).
During these months, your first goal is to get the baby to sleep WHEN you want her to. You are beginning to put a schedule into place so the focus is on the time. The WHERE is secondary. So yes, sometimes the baby will sleep in your arms during the day. This is not to say the WHERE isn’t important! I highly recommend putting the baby to sleep for naps in her crib righty away for naps (see newborn sleep tips) but sometimes that’s just not possible.
Around this time I became frustrated because she was only napping for 45 minutes, not the two hours I was aiming for. I googled it (what else do we do these days) and it’s a THING! The 45 Minute Intruder, otherwise known as a big pain to new moms. So 45 minutes comes and you have two choices- run in and give the paci and run right back out OR let your baby fuss and hope she goes back to sleep. I chose the former and this happened every day for a few weeks but the…YES! We got through it and arrived in the promised land of two hour naps (we are still there at 9 months). Do not give up! Remember anything less than an hour is a “CRAP NAP” so don’t just throw up your hands and say my baby doesn’t nap. All babies need sleep to grow and develop optimally.
Right around 10 weeks, I made the transition from the co-sleeper in my room to the crib in her room. This was mainly because I kept hearing every movement and getting her up when she didn’t need to get up. This was also the time when she began sleeping through the night. By night, I mean after the dreamfeed, she would sleep until around 6. For many, 6am does not feel like wake up time but anything more than six hours is considered sleeping through the night so embrace it! By 12 weeks, I would definitely recommend making the move.
You want them sleeping at three months
where you want them sleeping at three years.
4pm- 6pm- SLEEP
This is the long stretch; try to keep the baby up for longer at this point, aiming for 8pm. This is a good time to begin a bedtime routine that includes a bath, stories and other relaxation activities
8pm- Sleep for the night
Sometime between 10pm-11pm- DREAMFEED
During these months, if your baby is still taking middle of the night feedings, always wait to see if they are just “fussing” or really crying because they’re hungry. Keep feedings all business- no lights, no talking and only diaper changes when absolutely necessary.
All days are different. Some days you’ll be lucky to get one solid 2 hour nap. As with anything in life, you need to have GOALS and that what any schedule is- a goal. It’s where you’d like them to be. Accept that it’s not always going to happen but don’t give up!
The first four months are the hardest. By putting solid sleep practices into place, you are helping both you and your baby get the sleep you both desperately need!
*ALWAYS PUT A BABY TO SLEEP ON THEIR BACK*
All advice above is solely my personal opinion based on my experience. Always consult a medical professional with any medical concerns.