Right now my blog is purely for fun. I write mainly because I enjoy it and it serves as a sort of "memory journal" as my children grow up because sadly I know someday I will look back and forget so many of the little details. This is by no means a source of income for me at the moment, and I am not trying to sell you anything or gain anything whatsoever from my posts. I do share some on Pinterest just in case it peaks anyone's interest, but that's about the extent of it so far. Therefore I was surprised by the amount of page views and comments this post has received. I wrote it when my daughter was a baby (she is now 2 and a half) basically so I could remember what I did when my next baby arrived (which is any day now!) because our routine worked so well for Stella. Even though I did say in the original post that I don't know if this will work for everyone, I have gotten so many negative comments criticizing my suggestions. Lots of positive feedback too, more so than negative, but enough unfair comments that I felt the need to address a few things: FIRST AND FOREMOST, I NEVER advocate to ignore your baby's basic needs. If they are hungry and need fed by all means FEED THEM! I thought this was common sense as adults and parents, but so many have proved me wrong. I consulted with Stella's pediatrician every step of the way to make sure she was receiving the proper amounts of formula (second note: I bottle fed after Month 1. Breastfed babies will probably wake more often, consult your doctor to see how much/often your baby needs to feed as I am inexperienced on this). I documented what she ate, when she pooped, etc for weeks. To suggest I EVER neglected my baby's needs or advocate others to do so is unfair and should be obvious from the great extent I took to create a safe and fun routine for my daughter. Again, it amazes me how common sense alludes some people. So on that note, if they are sick HOLD THEM. If they are hungry FEED THEM. If they are cold SWADDLE THEM. And so on and so forth. My suggestions are purely for when your baby has their needs met and is simply trying to fall into the correct pattern of day/night sleep. And they are just that. SUGGESTIONS. If you don't like them or don't believe in them that is perfectly OK, I've read lots of stuff that didn't work for us. So if you want to offer up constructive criticism on any of my posts that is great I'm totally up for that! You will see some posted below in the comments, several of which made me think and re-phrase things and I appreciate that, we are always growing as parents. HOWEVER. And I stress this so much. If you write a shitty comment simply because you are a bored Internet troll (example: Your post made me want to puke. Yep, that was one comment I actually got) I WILL NOT POST IT!! Right now I monitor all my comments. I don't post the nasty ones that have no educational or parental thought put into them because I know you are just commenting to be an ass. Sorry for the language, no other words do justice here. I also apologize for the long disclaimer, and I hope you still stick around to read the actual post :-) Best wishes mommies and daddies and remember the best routine is one that works for you and your little one and makes you all happy!!
ORIGINAL POST STARTS HERE:I'm going to start this post by saying that Stella is my only baby (so far). I don't know if these tips and tricks will get all my future kids to sleep through the night at such a young age. Sleep patterns may fall victim to the old "nature vs. nurture" debate...you know, some kids might just be born to sleep through the night while others are destined to wake until they're toddlers. I may follow the same routine for my next baby and still have a night-waker. I don't know. I'd like to admit that from the start. However, with that being said, I did pay careful attention to Stella's routine by incorporating some "rules" and ignoring others in favor of what my "gut" (always hated that word) was telling me. And I must say I've had tremendous success. Stella started sleeping through the night (that is subjective, some consider this to be 6 hours...not enough for me...we're talking 12 HOURS at a time here!) at just 8 weeks old. She is now almost 19 weeks old and has only woke in the night ONE TIME since that first glorious night. Read on to find out what I did and didn't do...it just might work for your next baby if "nurture" has anything to do with it...
Stella still sleeps in her bassinet in our bedroom. It's about time to move her to the nursery, but I just can't do it yet. She wakes up every morning between 7:00 and 8:00 am. She never cries in the morning, just starts talking and kicking. This is nice because it allows me a few minutes to gather myself before getting her out of bed.
Tips & Tricks:
*Give yourself a month or two after your baby's born before you make any attempts at a routine. Any earlier and you'll drive yourself crazy (plus your babe is just too little and requires food every few hours).
*Do your research! There are tons of blogs and books on helping your child sleep through the night. Pick 1 or 2 and read them. No need to read them all!
*Now throw out half of what you just read. It's been filed in your memory should you need to access it later on. You have some ideas, now try them out. Listen to your baby, that's the only person who can tell you what's best for them!
*Don't be afraid to go against the grain. If it works it works!
*Put your baby to sleep awake! This is the one rule that I do think matters. If your baby doesn't know how to fall back to sleep alone, she will always cry for your help. Period.
*Don't be a sucker for guilt. Tough love mommies and daddies! If your baby is crying during the night, try to press the mobile, music box, or gently rock the bed. Now, if Stella cried for a long time, sure she might legitimately need something and it's my job to provide it. But if she's just routinely waking up for attention, it's OK to let her fuss a little. If you always grab your baby out of guilt, they will expect it. You will lose sleep and be super crab tomorrow. This DOES NOT benefit your baby. Or you. Sleep is important! Spend time throughout the day (or evening if you work) snuggling and rocking your baby. Not at midnight. (Unless they are sick. I'd like to think we are all using common sense here.)
*Repetition and consistency are your friends. A routine for baby allows for a--gasp!--routine for mommy. You CAN get stuff done and have a baby. It just takes patience, practice, and persistence.
We are going to move Stella to her crib soon. This might throw off her routine. I will adjust. I'm not perfect, neither is she-although she's pretty dang close ;-). I hope this gives other parents some ideas, and I hope you don't listen to everything I say...we're listening to our babies, remember? Happy baby happy mama!