Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Nested Bean. All opinions are my own. Please visit my disclaimer page for more information.
Don’t hate me, but both of my boys slept through the night by 6 weeks old! Sawyer still went through the typical sleep regression at 4 months. Then again at 9 months. And then again at one year. And he’s not sleeping super great right now at 2.5, so it hasn’t all been rainbows and ponies. But they were both sleeping through the night (in between regression periods) by 6 weeks!
And it’s not because my kids are super amazing and I am super lucky to be blessed with angels from heaven, it’s because I put in hard work to get them on a schedule from birth to ensure better sleep.
In order to be the most successful, I’ve found its best that you start these regimens from birth. If you have an infant- it’s not to late! You can still implement a schedule and some other tips, but it might take a little more time and patience for your kiddo to catch on.
Get Them on a Schedule- and stick to it!
We follow the Babywise method. This method has gotten some criticism that it’s too harsh- and those critics aren’t entirely wrong. This method is hard to stick to and requires letting your child cry it out sometimes, which not everyone is on board with. But, it works.
We read Babywise before Sawyer was born. I had to agree with the critics that some aspects weren’t going to work for me as a parent. But they make some great points, and give you a great schedule to adhere to, so I took what I had learned, and use bits and pieces of it to form my own plan. We’ve never followed Babywise to a T, but our sleeping schedule was definitely inspired by it. I always recommend parents read the book and take from it what you’re comfortable with!
Babywise suggests a 3 hour, eat, wake, sleep schedule. You feed the baby every 3 hours, keep them awake for a little bit (so you are NOT nursing them to sleep), then let them fall asleep if they want. This teaches them not to need food to sleep and to fall asleep on their own.
We’re not monsters, if Oliver is screaming in hunger before the 3 hour mark, we of course feed him. But keeping the 3 hour schedule hasn’t been hard at all! He was already on a 3 hour schedule in the NICU so it was easy to keep up once he was home. The nurses at the hospital when sawyer was born had us on the same 3 hour schedule so with both boys, once we got home we just kept up what they were already used to, not a hard transistion at all.
When both were about a month old, I stopped setting alarms every 3 hours to feed throughout the night. Instead, I just let them wake up whenever they wanted to eat. They gradually started putting 4 hours between nighttime feedings, then 5, then 6, then 8! I still kept up the 3 hour feedings and the eat, wake, sleep, during the day. But at nighttime, they were sleeping soundly for hours at a time, and so was I!
Swaddle, swaddle, swaddle!
All babies have a startle reflex. All of them. Meaning anytime they move their arms or legs, they can startle themselves awake. The best way to combat this, is a swaddle.
Start swaddling your babies from birth and they’ll love it! If you introduce it too late, they’ll wonder why you put them in arm jail every night and fight it like crazy. Have patience! They might learn to love it, and it’s so beneficial for both of you.
I’ve found blanket swaddles are hard to get tight enough that your babe can’t break out. I’ve been a velcro swaddler with both my kids! They take all the guesswork out of swaddling and you know your baby will have a much harder time breaking out.
We’re currently using The Zen Swaddle by Nested Bean (which I find very fitting since Oliver’s middle name is Zen) and I love it. I contains an extra weighted layer, that mimics the pressure of Mom’s touch. The Zen Swaddle has lightly weighted pads on the chest and sides, to help soothe your little one. It has velcro so I’m able to get him in tight enough that he’ll stay swaddled all night long.
You can swaddle them with their arms in or out, so it can last you until after they start rolling over. They also offer sleep sacks, with the same weighted pads!
Touch is the very first sense babies develop in the womb. It’s why they calm down when they’re held, or can feel your hand on their chest or rubbing their back. Babies are comforted by Mom’s touch. Nested Bean stimulates that touch with their products so both you and baby sleep better! Oliver has been sleeping so well in his Zen Swaddle. It’s made of 70% bamboo + 30% cotton and is machine washable. We both love it.
Our Oliver Zen is wearing the Zen Swaddle Premier in the pattern “Deep Sea Diver”
Offer the Binky First
Does your baby ever wake up crying in the middle of the night, so you get up to put them on the breast, and they fall asleep after 3 minutes of suckling? That may be because baby wasn’t necessarily hungry, they just wanted comfort. I’ve found that when Oliver does wake up, it’s best to offer him a binky first.
Sometimes, he just needs some comfort, and as soon as he has his binky, will settle down and fall right back to sleep. Then I can fall right back to sleep too! If he doesn’t settle, and keeps fussing, then I will offer the breast so he can eat. But 9/10 times, he just needs to suckle.
Have a Soothing Bedtime Routine
This can be more complex as your baby gets older, but we try to keep his bedtime routine exactly the same every night, and make sure to incorporate a lot of soothing elements. For Oliver, we start out by changing his diaper, putting him in his pajamas, and then breastfeeding (every other night this is preceded by a warm bath). He eats on each side, followed by his “awake” time. We’ll usually sit him in his Mamaroo so he can look at the mobile, or lay him on his playmat. After he’s had at least 20-30 minutes of awake time, I put on his owlet monitor and swaddle him. If he doesn’t seem drowsy, we’ll offer the breast again for a few quick minutes, or give him a small bottle. I then give him his binky, rock him until he can’t keep his eyes open anymore, and put him in his bassinet.
In the room we diffuse lavender and have a white noise machine going. This promotes relaxation and keeps outside noises from waking him up as Kurtis and I go about the rest of our evening. By having the exact same routine every night, Oliver is able to follow the patterns and know when it is time to sleep.
I’ve had a lot of success with getting my babies to sleep through the night before 2 months old! When those regressions roll around, I stick to my guns and keep trying all the same tactics listed above. Schedule, swaddle, comfort, routine. Eventually, the regression passes, and we’re back to sleeping through the night again!
Do you have any tips and tricks for getting your baby to sleep? Comment below!