CREATE RITUALS FOR SLEEPING. A few of you asked me how I got Phoebe to sleep through the night and how we transitioned her to her crib. Thanks to several amazing friends and a few notasfun nights, we've established a routine. For us, routine has always been key. Matilda is a great sleeper and somehow over the four years between the girls, I forgot a few things. Now I'm practicing the same things that worked for her and now for Phoebe. Note: It's really hard to get a new baby on a schedule. They need to eat more often, so be easy on yourself and baby by going with the flow for a while. For both girls a routine really started around three months.
1. Eat, play, sleep. This is sort of the golden formula for setting a routine. In the morning as soon as Phoebe wakes up I change her diaper, feed her and then we play. Right now Phoebe really loves this wooden IKEA activity gym that our friends let us borrow. I lie her down on the floor and let her explore. I also like to let her hang in her mamaroo (love!) or I just sit and talk with her. She loves patty cake and pop goes the weasel. After we play for a while and before she gets too fussy (look for rubbing eyes, yawn, mild fuss) I swaddle her, turn on white noise, and then put her in the crib. Leave the room. If she fusses after 30 min or so I wait a few minutes and sometimes she goes back to sleep. It's just part of a baby's sleep cycle to wake and then fall back asleep. After she's slept a significant amount, I change her and start the cycle over again.
2. Evening ritual 1: Bath. Babies thrive on routine but you have to put in some effort to establish one. This is where rituals become important. Around 7, after I've put Matilda to bed, it's bath time. I use lavender scented soap and lotion (known to relax) and we have a really calming bath time. It's quiet and soothing. One of my favorite brands is California Baby. Love this scent. We've been really loving this cleanwater collection tub, too. I love that it stays warm and that water is constantly flowing through so baby stays clean. There is also a built-in thermometer for a perfect temperature and I love the newborn sponge. Our old sling required one hand on Phoebe at all times and made me really nervous.
3. Evening Ritual 2: Bedtime. I try and put Phoebe down the same time every night. This way she comes to expect that after bath comes bedtime. You could read a little story or whatever you want to do here. I typically put B in pjs, swaddle her, feed her, and then it's bedtime. I feed her in the dark with white noise. I set the stage again for sleep. The first night she cried until she fell asleep. It's not fun to listen to her cry. I hate it, but it wasn't a cry of distress and it only lasted about 10 minutes. I know people love to disagree on this topic but for us she cried the first night and hasn't cried since.
4. Dream feed. Right before I go to bed I feed Phoebe one more time. This feeding will eventually not be necessary. I don't try and wake her, I feed her in the dark without any stimulus. She usually sleeps right through the feed and then I put her right back in the crib. If she wakes up during the night we give it a second and then if she doesn't stop fussing we reswaddle her. This has worked every time. She'll go back to sleep. I remember reading in Bringing up Bebe (great book!) to try not to feed your baby from 12-5, do everything else first to soothe them, that way you don't accidentally create a "middle of the night" feeding routine.
Phoebe is now sleeping from around 7:30-7. This morning I woke her up because I needed to nurse!