The concept most synonymous with newborn life is lack of sleep. And no matter how many people try to warn you, there really is no way to completely prepare yourself for the toll that sleep deprivation will take on you, both physically and emotionally. Parker and I did not hire a night nurse to begin sleep training our baby, but after the first 3 weeks of not sleeping, I totally understand why people do it! Sleep > everything else. Literally.
Parker and I knew that we wanted to start sleep training Emmy as soon as we felt comfortable, and so many people have recommended Moms on Call to us. The Moms on Call schedule starts at 2 weeks, but we weren’t quite ready at that point, so we decided to give it a few more weeks before we jumped in. (Note: I absolutely have ZERO judgement for any parent who decides to start sleep training earlier or later than us. I am in no way implying that you should take the approach that we have. All I can speak to is how we feel and what has worked for us. No mom-shaming here!)
We ended up starting the full-blown sleep training process by 6 weeks, and she took to it like a champ! I will admit, she is naturally a good sleeper and was sleeping 4-6 hour stretches at 4 weeks old. Every baby will not have these same results necessarily, and that’s okay! It is also really important to consult your pediatrician before implementing any schedule. Our doctor was completely fine with us letting Emmy go longer stretches at night without eating because she was gaining weight so quickly. Please keep in mind that I am NOT AN EXPERT, just a normal mom sharing her experience thus far.
Emmy’s 6-8 Week Schedule
6:00 – 7:00am: Feeding (depends she woke up naturally, but for sure by 7). After she ate, I would swaddle her and put her back down to sleep.
9:30am: Playtime (10-30 minutes)
10:00am: Naptime (as close to 2 hours as possible) – would aim for this nap to be in the crib!
12 noon: Feeding – wake Emmy up if necessary.
12:30pm: Playtime (10-30 minutes)
1:00pm: Naptime (as close to 2 hours as possible) – oftentimes this nap would happen in the carseat as we would be out and about.
3:00pm: Feeding – wake Emmy up if necessary.
3:30pm: Playtime (10-30 minutes)
4:00pm: Naptime (may be more like 1.5 hours)
5:30pm: Supper Feed
6:00pm: Playtime (10-30 minutes)
6:30pm: Naptime (May sleep for 45 minutes – 1.5 hours)
8:00pm: Bath Time & Tender Time: bathe Emmy and then spend remaining time before her next feeding rocking, listening to worship music, reading books, etc.
8:30pm: Bedtime Feeding
(Note: This schedule is based on the Moms on Call recommended schedule for 4-8 weeks of age.)
Why do I think it’s important to put Emmy on a sleep training schedule?
- For the most part, Emmy cries for 3 reasons: she’s, she’s dirty, or she’s tired. Having your baby on a schedule allows you to have a better guess as to why he/she may be crying. Usually whenever she does start getting fussy, I look up and it’s 10 minutes away from feeding time. The girl knows when it’s time to eat, and she in turn lets me know 🙂
- As a former teacher, I believe that kids of all ages function better in a structured environment where they have routines and rules. Kids thrive when they know what to expect and what is expected of them. And though it may seem crazy to many of you, I fully believe babies operate the same way. Their bodies learn when it is time to eat, when it is time to sleep, and when it is time to be awake. It’s crazy how in tune they become at such a young age!
- You are avoiding the vicious cycle of your baby becoming too tired, and in turn, not being able to sleep. This is a lose-lose situation for EVERYONE INVOLVED! I believe that when your baby is on a sleep schedule, there is so much built in “sleep time” that you inherently are preventing your baby from ever reaching that level of tiredness.
How do you ever manage to leave the house?
This was probably my biggest fear about scheduling. I was told by so many people that the schedule was great for the baby and the long term, but be prepared to be chained to my house for the next two months. But I know myself, and I know my lifestyle, and that was never going to work for me. I found freedom by embracing the mindset that the Moms on Call schedule was a reference point, not a rule book.
In order to keep my sanity, I HAVE to get out of the house regularly. It may be just to stroll through Target to browse the dollar section, but I have to remind myself that there is big world out there that I can still be a part of. So I figured out the times of day where I could be a little more flexible. Sometimes I find myself feeding her in the backseat of the car or in the Nordstrom Women’s lounge, but that’s okay as long as I’m feeding her on time. And if Emmy doesn’t take all 3 naps in her crib, that’s fine. Oftentimes, that midday nap occurs in her carseat while we are out running errands. Motherhood, like anything else, is about BALANCE. You have to take care of yourself in order to be the best caretaker for your baby.
What are some of our favorite products that we have used in the sleep training process?
DockATot: She had been sleeping in the Rock N’ Play in our room since the hospital, but we knew that was not a long term solution. Emmy did not like the bassinet from day one because she didn’t like lying flat on her back. Therefore, we began utilizing the DockATot during her naptimes because it was a really great multifunctional lounger that helped Emmy get used to sleeping completely flat on her back in small doses. But she actually loves napping in it because it still provides the sensation of being enclosed and cozy in the womb. This in turn helped her adapt to the crib transition more easily. And the fabric is breathable, so it helped relieve my anxiety about her suffocating. Not to mention, I could move it anywhere. I would put it in our bed with me, other times I would put her in the living room while I worked, and we even were able to bring it with us to other people’s homes and keep Emmy comfortable in a new environment. I know that every baby is different, but Emmy LOVES the DockATot. I received this product courtesy of DockATot, but it is definitely a product worth registering for in my opinion! I included it in my pre-baby registry checklist as well if you want to read more. (Note: My friends at DockATot are sharing this coupon code for $10 off for FSE Readers! Make sure to copy/paste the code at checkout.)
Also, I just want to share that DockATot will soon be introducing the CloudTot, which is a traditional DockATot combined with sensor technologies that connects to your smart device. It will alert you if your baby is breathing too fast, if no motion is detected for 12 seconds, if there appears to be bedtime wetness, and so much more! I will definitely be considering this for the next one! Click here to watch the full video.
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Swaddles: I am all about the Velcro swaddles! I love The Ollie Swaddle, which I received courtesy of The Ollie World. The Ollie Swaddle is a great option for mommies and babies who live in warmer states (aka Texas in June!) because they are made out of custom moisture-wicking material to prevent your baby from overheating. It’s also unlike other swaddles I received because it allows you to change your baby’s diaper without actually removing the swaddle! New moms- this is a game-changer for those middle of the night feeding and changing sessions! The other thing that’s nice is that it can be used as a transition swaddle as well. Once your baby is able to roll over, you can begin removing one or both arms from the swaddle, instead of having to purchase an entirely new product. The Ollie Swaddle was founded by a mom, just like you and me, who was looking for a solution to help her underweight infant. (Note: My friends at The Ollie World are sharing this coupon code for 10% off for FSE Readers! Make sure to copy/paste the code at checkout.)
Sound Machines: This is a crucial piece to the sleep training puzzle. Not only does it drown out sound in your home, but it is a great “sleep cue” for the baby.
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Playmat: At such a younge age, there isn’t much “playing” you can do with a newborn! But we have loved this playmat because it stimulates her mind, and it helps make tummy time more fun for everyone!
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What tips do you have for sleep training your baby? Comment below and let’s help each other out! Also, feel free to ask any questions! I’m happy to answer them the best I can 🙂
Thank you to DockATot and The Ollie World for providing me products for free. As always, all opinions are my own.