I got lucky by giving birth to a great night sleeper. If you count “having a baby that screams 11 hours a day until he passes out for 13 hours” as “lucky.” Then yeah, TOTALLY LUCKY. Harrison was roughly three weeks old the first time he slept through the night & by Christmas, he was sleeping through the night regularly. It was such a blessing for me as a momma with postpartum depression because it meant that a) I was getting rest at night & b) we never had to sleep-train him as a baby.
I think Harrison seemed to know that having to sleep-train him would push me right over the edge, so he cut me some slack in that area. On the other hand, we did a strict bedtime routine to help him get to sleep. Every night it was oatmeal, then bathtime, then a bottle & rocking before we placed him in his crib, swaddled & awake but drowsy. Within moments, he would be out like a light. I remember those nights in his nursery with him snuggled close to me, already swaddled in flannel. We swaddled him before the bottle since the milk always made him sleepy & we wanted to be able to simply place him into the crib. He’d lay in the crook of my arm & some nights I would rock & rock & memorize his face & the way his lips puckered in almost-sleep.
Since he was a fall/winter baby, the biggest challenge we had for getting him to sleep was keeping him warm enough & eliminating the shock of going from my warm arms to the cold crib sheet. As an infant, he was a lot like me – the more layers & cozy he was, the better he slept. So we’d put him in fleece jammies, swaddle him in flannel, but the moment his cheek hit the crib, his eyes would fly open. So we began “pre-heating” his crib with the heating pad on low. As Doug ran the bath, I would toss the heating pad onto the crib & give it a solid 20-30 minutes to slowly warm up (necessary for using the lowest setting possible). Then as I finished rocking Harrison, I’d stand slowly & hold him close with one hand while the other pulled the heating pad out of the crib & testing the sheet to be sure it wasn’t too hot. We kept this up until the spring when the temperatures rose & he became less reactive to temperature, but it’s still my best sleep tip for small babes.
Did you have a “secret” to getting your baby snuggled down for the night? Care to share?