Thursday, March 27, 2014

Stella's Daily Routine: How ignoring some of the "rules" helped my baby sleep 12 hours at night by 8 weeks old!


DISCLAIMER:
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...

The Routine:

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.
After changing Stella's diaper, it's onto Tummy Time.  I either do this on her mat, a blanket, or across my legs.  Variety is the spice of life ;-)
After about 3-5 minutes of Tummy Time I feed Stella.  Then I place her in the rocking bed to let her tummy settle while I clean up.  During this time I also do any necessary grooming...file/trim her nails, put cream on her face, etc...  Next we have "school".  I know, that sounds ridiculous now, but I wanted to include a time when she's happy that we can work on her milestones.  This sets the stage for when she's older and we use this time for learning, crafts, reading, and so on.  Remember, I'm an elementary teacher.  But for now I just jot down the developmental milestones she should be reaching each month and we work on those, play, or I do a baby massage with lotion.  And some days I just place her on her play mat or a blanket surrounded by toys and let her play.  Gotta foster some independence!  (Remember, if your baby doesn't hit all the milestones in the suggested month it's not the end of the world.  I just use them as a guide.)
"School" lasts for about 20 minutes, and Stella usually plays by herself for another hour or so.  Then she's ready for a morning nap.  Here's the first rule I chose to break:  "Put your baby down to nap in her crib/bassinet each time".  I tried that once.  She screamed, and I freaked out thinking she'd hate her bed at nighttime if I forced naps in there.  So I trusted my gut.  Napping around the house in different seats worked fine for her.  She still slept at night.  Listen to your baby!  Find what works for you, even if it's against what literature tells you.  All babies are different.  My baby loves a morning nap in her rocking bed (that we are borrowing from a friend).  This nap usually runs about an hour long.
The rest of the day we follow a basic nap/eat/play cycle.  Her afternoon nap usually takes place in the swing and lasts about 1-2 hours.
Her evening nap usually occurs around 7:00 in her bouncy chair.
Upon waking up, I always change Stella, do some Tummy Time, and feed her.  After that, Stella likes to alternate between sitting in a seat (Bumbo, bouncy chair, swing, rocking bed) and laying flat to kick and get some exercise (either on her play mat or on a blanket surrounded by her toys).  By switching it up, I've greatly reduced her fussiness.  Between months 2-3 she was really fussy in the afternoons and evenings.  And then it just stopped.  By sticking to the routine she knew what to expect and it kept her happy!  She likes rest, but she also likes to kick, play and scream.  Again, just listen to your baby!  They can tell you a lot without saying a word.

Bedtime has it's own routine.  I do this every night, no matter how tired I am.  This signals to Stella that it is nighttime, not just a nap.  Around 8:00 (give or take half an hour) we wake her from her evening nap (I could just start bedtime around 6:30 and cut out the evening nap, but this works for now.  I'm sure I'll head that direction before long.).  We bathe her every other night, diaper her (I just use the next size up in diapers since they don't make overnights this small and I always put diaper rash cream on at night since she's in bed so long), massage her with lotion and face cream, and put her PJs on.  While I'm doing this Mark puts the tub away and makes her bottle.  Yes, my husband helps with EVERY SINGLE BATH.  Stella and I are so lucky.
Next it's time for her bottle.  I always feed her in the rocking chair at night in her nursery.  Then I use a wet washcloth to wipe the formula off her gums (something my dental hygienist recommended to help them adjust to teeth-brushing later on, and it keeps their gums healthy).
After her bottle we always read a story.  Everyone gave Stella a book at my baby shower, it's so fun to read them to her and tell her a little bit about who they're from.  Since we read every night we've gone through them all a few times...I need to dig out my books from teaching and get them put away!
My favorite part is after story time.  We always rock to 1 or 2 songs on her lullaby CD.  Lately she's started looking at me and smiling while we rock.  I cherish those moments.  After kissing her goodnight, I put Stella to sleep in her bassinet.  Awake.  I never rock her until she's asleep.  This has taught her how to get herself back to sleep when she wakes up in the night.  I hear her wake up anywhere from 2-5 times during the night.  She talks and kicks a bit and then goes right back to sleep.  I do feel that this has been crucial in getting her to sleep through the night.  After saying a prayer for her and turning her Angelcare monitor on, I close the door and she's out after a few minutes of kicking and thumb-sucking.  And we're free to do whatever we want until bedtime.  It's spectacular!  I need 7-8 hours of sleep each night to function.  I don't settle for less.  Creating a routine and getting Stella to sleep through the night was my number one New Year's Resolution.  Check!

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!

65 comments:

  1. I really wished I had read this post when my son was this age. It was a nightmare with him between colic and getting him to sleep through the night. At 6 months the colic finally settled and by 8 months I decided to sleep train him (cry it out method) it was the best thing! Thank you for the info and I hope I can use it for my second!

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    1. Thank you for reading! I hope it helps you too! We are expecting our second in May so I am very eager to see if the tips work as well the second time around. I will sure update my post or write another when I find out :-) Best of luck!

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  2. My first was the kid that didn't sleep until he was 2. The second one? By two months she was down by 9 and up about 8... I thought i'd hit the lottery at that point!

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    1. That's great! Our second is arriving in May so we will see how well (or not!) they sleep ;-)

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  3. Ha! hahahaha.. you simply have an easy baby! When my baby was this age, there are SOOO MANY things about this routine that would have had him screaming right away. It's not the routine that's got your baby sleeping through the night, it's your baby's disposition.

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    1. Yes, I am greatly aware that is a possibility, as I stated quite a few times in my opening paragraph. That is also why I shared which "rules" (or things that worked time and time again for other moms) didn't work for me in the hopes that it would help moms of babies with temperaments similar to my daughter's. However, on the chance that a small (or large) portion of the nature vs. nurture debate favors the nurture side, I am going to keep trying my best to create a good sleep routine for my babies. I would like to think you are doing the same given you are still reading advice on getting your baby to sleep through the night :-) Best of luck in the future!

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    2. Ι think i have to agree with Brooke.I am too a believer of routine.I thinks it is important for babies to have a routine. They now what to expect next and that helps them keep calm. Raised 2 of my own and 4 as a babysitter and it work on all of them.Now with the last one i am working during the hours i am there i follow a routine and evrything goes smooth sailing.Baby eats ,plays ,sleeps and he is always happy with no crying and complains.When mum comes around and i live routine goes out of the way.One day they give him a bath,one day on the same time they take him out to dinner,one day they put him to bed at 9 then the next at midnight. So the baby never sleeps through the night. So in conlusion.Routine is important. You just have to fing out which one makes your baby feel better. :-)

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    3. I've heard so many people say this, "Oh, you just got lucky with a baby who likes to sleep." But, this worked for every single one of my friends who implemented a similar routine with their babies. Not always by 8 weeks...some by 12. And they were able to do it with multiple children. So, I don't know that I buy the "luck" part! I think it's about consistency. It's easy to give up on it when it doesn't seem to be working after a few weeks. Of course every child has a different temperament, but sticking with the routine is so helpful for every child!

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    4. I followed a similar routine with my daughter (who's now 2.5 years old) and she was sleeping through the night by 13 weeks. I think routine is soooo important! One thing I would add in addition to having a clear-cut bedtime routine is to have a separate, shorter, naptime routine. My daughter always fought a nap, but once I established a bedtime routine, she became a great napper!

      I'm reading up on baby sleep again because I now have a 10-day-old little girl. We'll see if my older daughter was just a good sleeper, or if I can take some credit for it. So far, my baby is sleeping great, and I want to see that continue!

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    5. Glad to hear your second baby is sleeping great, we are expecting our 2nd in a few weeks and I am sure hoping a routine will help her as well. Hope it continues for you, best of luck! Oh and I agree on the nap part :-)

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  4. Good luck! I stumbled across this post via pinterest as I'm in desperate need of new sleep training pointers.

    My first slept 12 hours from 6 weeks on and has always been a good little sleeper (now 5 years old). We did a lot of things very similar- always putting to sleep awake and routine. Our second has been a WHOLE different ball game. At 6 months hes still up all the time. And what worked the night before, doesn't work the next night. Completely unpredictable and everything we thought we knew from the first has gone out the window because it doesn't work for him.

    I attribute a lot of the difference though to him being breastfed versus our first being formula fed. Formula fills them a lot longer and they don't rely on you for comfort as much. I'm not sure that schedule is possible with a breastfed baby...at least not for ours.

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    1. Yes I am very anxious to see what our second brings! I have lots of friends whose children are totally different sleepers, and some who follow in their siblings footsteps. I did breastfeed for the first 4 weeks, and at 4 weeks she was still up a few times in the night but that is to be expected since their tummies don't hold enough food to last all night at that age. I switched to formula at 4 weeks out of necessity, but honestly if I were to guess she would have been up a few more times a night if I continued breastfeeding. Probably worth it though, I would have loved to continue breastfeeding! Best of luck in the future!

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  5. Honestly, I think it all depends on baby and their temperament. Our babe is 4 months old, and slept 10 hours a night from one week until 3.5 months, then had a period of waking every 2 hours to eat, now she's getting better. Glad she is sleeping for you now, just enjoy it however long it lasts! There is a 4 month sleep regression when babies have to re-learn to sleep. Hopefully she passes through it with little resistance. I thought we were in the clear, and I was wrong! ;)

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    1. Luckily we got through without that with Stella, she just turned 2 and I have only had to get her up during the night one time since she was 8 weeks old and that was because she was sick. She has woke other times but always falls back to sleep on her own. However I know that sleep regression is common and I am sure we will end up going through it with one of our future kids! I will do my best to prevent it but I agree that part is temperament and there's no way to have all perfect sleepers :-) Just enjoying this one for now!!

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  6. Cute routine! Similar to ours too! Did you try breastfeeding your baby or just right to formula. We are breastfeeding and usually sleep around 8 hours straight at 3 months old :) btw your baby girl is adorable !!!

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    1. I breastfed for the first 4 weeks but I had lots of complications so despite my best efforts I had to switch to formula at 4 weeks. I would have loved to continue breastfeeding though. I have heard from most of my breastfeeding friends & family that their babies woke more times during the night because formula keeps you fuller longer, so I suspect Stella would have woke more often if I had continued. I think that would be worth it though, I would have loved to continue breastfeeding for the first year. Good for you that sounds like a pretty good sleep schedule you have by 3 months! And thank you, best of luck to you!!

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  7. Could you tell me more about how you put her to bed awake? I hear people say that but I feel like my baby would cry right away or after a few minutes. Do you let them cry a few minutes? If so how long? Do you do the same for naps or she just falls asleep in the swing, bouncy chairs, etc without a fuss? I'd like to try this but I'm not sure how to. Thanks! <3

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    1. I put her to bed awake from Day 1, and I think that helped me a lot because it was what she was used to. I think babies that are used to being rocked to sleep will cry longer when you lay them down, but I didn't experience a whole lot of tears with Stella. Have you checked out the Ferber Method? It goes into great detail about how to sleep train your baby using the "cry it out" method. My sister's little guy wouldn't sleep through the night at all at a year old, and she had to get him into a routine before she went back to work, so she read up on this method and used it and it worked pretty well (although she said the beginning was really tough!) For naps I just let her fall asleep wherever,so we didn't have any tears there because she was sleeping when she wanted to. I know that the "cry it out" is controversial, and every parent is different. I don't think it's ever easy to hear your baby cry, you just have to decide if you're ready for that or not. The Ferber Method has a time chart of how long to let them cry, so I highly recommend that as I'm no expert! I wish you the best of luck, you are doing the best you can for your baby good for you!!

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  8. It has worked for you. Good for you. However, your baby is in the very slim minority, this is not the case for the majority of moms/babies and posts like yours only perpetuate the myth: "my baby should be sleeping through the night" and the guilt: "I must be doing something wrong if my baby won't sleep through the night". Physiologically babies are not wired to sleep through the night, particularly breastfeed babies who bedshare (which is the most beneficial situation biologically/psychologically for the dyad. Telling mothers to ignore their babies when they are fussing/crying because they do it for attention and will get used to it it's incredibly unsound and irresponsible advice; babies need to know their mothers WILL respond to their every need. Please research the attachment theory and all the scientific studies proving ignoring a child is detrimental physiologically and psychologically.

    I can see you come from a well meaning place, and you are extremely lucky your baby simply started sleeping long stretches this young, but please educate yourself first in order to educate your readership.

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    1. First I ask you to re-read my first paragraph where I state that I am not an expert and this is my first child (so far). This shows that I am only trying to help parents who DO find the value in having their children sleep through the night, and DOES NOT state that those who don't agree should feel guilty. Your accusations are based on your assumptions, not my writing. If you don't feel your child (assuming your are a parent, as that is who my post is intended for) needs to sleep through the night, I am confused as to why you would even read my advice? Acknowledge that it's not for you and move on to one that is!

      "Babies are not wired to sleep through the night". Before you assume that I didn't do any research (which is weird since I advocate that under "tips and tricks") you should know that I read several books and medical articles as well as consulted with my pediatrician every step of the way. MUCH research has been done on how long babies of different ages are able to stay full through the night (bottle-fed and breastfed, I did both). Of course I didn't let my baby cry it out when she was hungry (please refer to the "use common sense" part of my post). When you state that breastfed and bed sharing is the most beneficial, as well as tell me that letting babies "cry it out" is unsound and irresponsible advice, I ask that you please remember that as with ANY topic, there is sound scientific advice on both sides of the fence.. As a former elementary teacher, I have seen firsthand what lack of sleep does to children (and parents). There is actually lots of research on that, I attended conferences on the subject. Personally, I found lack of sleep to be detrimental to my daughter and myself. It is your job as a parent to decide the approach you want to take. As long as you are keeping your baby healthy, happy and safe you are doing fine, whatever your approach. Again, common sense. Furthermore, although it is widely agreed that breastfeeding is the most beneficial (another topic I did MUCH research on and even attended classes on) you should be aware that it isn't always possible. Despite 4 long weeks of battling several obstacles, I was unable to continue breastfeeding. If you are concerned about parents feeling guilt over things out of their control, you should reconsider preaching about breastfeeding.

      Babies needing to know that mothers will respond to their every NEED is absolutely correct. Not for one second of my daughter's life have I neglected her needs, nor will I ever. However, responding to their every WANT is a different story. In my approach to parenting, my children will not receive everything they want, starting from day 1. This is how the world works, and they will grow up appreciating hard work, rules, and respect. AGAIN, this is MY approach to parenting. As I stated in my post, listen to your baby, use common sense and you will be fine. We are all trying our best here, being a parent is a tough job, lets not cut each other down.

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    2. First of all, our routine was very similar to yours and my daughter is now 15 months and still sleeps 12+ hours at night, give or take teething/illness.

      Secondly, I completely agree that every baby is different. I also don't believe we get "lucky" with babies. I know for me, I worked my butt off to help my daughter learn how to sleep. Once it happened, everyone was happier. Mom's health is equally as important as the babies, and an overtired me makes for a crappy mom most days.

      Third, and almost most important, Steph's comment above was completely unnecessary and honestly, very judgmental. I haven't read any comments past hers because it got me fired up. I never comment on these things, but I just wanted to say that as a fellow teacher mom and STTN at an early age mom, you are NOT just "lucky", you are attentive and understand the needs of YOU AND YOUR BABY. You have worked hard to get to where you are and that is no easy task ,trust me I know. I hate when people tell me "I'm lucky", when in fact they don't even bother to ask what all took place in order to get to this place of sleeping soundly at night. I'm with you though, sleep was NOT optional here and I knew going into pregnancy that our baby was going to learn to sleep one way or another. (Obviously, it could've happened later rather than sooner, but thankfully that wasn't the case this time).

      Also, Steph, just because you disagree with her style of parenting in regards to sleep training, doesn't mean you have to comment on her blog that she is giving "unsound and irresponsible" advice. I don't think she's trying to even give advice per se, she's simply stating what worked for them in hopes that maybe she can help out another desperate mama. IF you truly believe she's "perpetuating the myth" or causing "guilt", then shame on you! Perhaps it's you who needs to reprioritize your thoughts on this subject.

      Why can't we all just do what works best for us and if we don't like someones way of parenting, then move along. Simple as that. I enjoyed your post-it was a random find via Pinterest.

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    3. Thank you for the kind words Chelsea! Sharing your life on the internet leaves you open to advice and comments, both unwanted and wanted, appreciated and uncalled for. I chose to share anyway, because I agree with you completely...no matter how hard the task is, or how long it takes me, I am one to put in the work and get it done. As a SAHM I have more time to do this, so honestly I am just trying to help others because I know time and patience are valuable and if anything I've learned can help others I'm going to sure try!

      I especially love your last paragraph. To me it is as simple as that :-) Congrats on all your hard work and best of luck in the future!!

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    4. Chelsea, I agree with your last statement but I think it kind of disagrees with other parts of your post. When you say that a baby is sleeping because of something you're doing right one can infer that means if your baby isn't sleeping then you're doing something wrong. Currently I have a six month old who has been sleeping through the night since she was about two months. If she was my only baby I'd probably be convinced it was because I was doing something right. But she's my third and we're doing the same routine I did with my older two who didn't sleep through consistently until after 18 months old.

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  9. How much was she eating and how often or times/day? I'm just worried about giving my little bit too much to eat at one time.

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    1. My daughter is now 2 years old, so it is hard to remember how much and often she ate back then! I did monthly updates for her first year on my blog, and in each month I posted how much and often she was eating. For the first month I breastfed her, so she ate as much as she wanted as often as she wanted. Read about our first month here:
      http://thesimplebarenecessitiesoflife.blogspot.com/2013/12/new-mommy-madness-our-first-3-weeks-at.html

      My 2 month update had specific amounts and how often she ate. This is when I switched to formula. You can find that here:
      http://thesimplebarenecessitiesoflife.blogspot.com/2014/01/2-month-update.html

      If you check my monthly updates you can see what I did and try that for your baby, but as always I recommend checking with your doctor to see what is best for your baby! I based my feedings off information I found in books and articles. I hope that helps, let me know if you have any more questions! I'm not much help with breastfeeding amounts after the first month as that's when I quit, but almost everything I heard and read said as often as they want for as long as they want! Best of luck!!

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  10. what is school for you? trying to work on development milestones with my 11 week old! i love your routine! my baby keeps through the night. I followed "moms on call" book and its really good. Ive been working on a schedule for him since week 2. like you i nee my sleep and that has been my number 1 goal, getting him to sleep through the night ( besides him being healthy).

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    1. Hi Leslie! Sounds like you are getting into some great habits already! I haven't heard of that book I will have to check it out! For "school" when Stella was a baby I basically kept a list of milestones she should be reaching each month and we worked on those. I referenced "What to Expect the First Year" as well as a chart from her doctor. We worked on grasping toys, rolling over, crawling ...whatever the skills of the month were. Some days we would just play or read or look in the mirror, just depended on what I felt like doing.

      I will say that my daughter is now 2 years old and she is significantly behind developmentally. It is just how she was born, nothing specific caused it. She is happy and healthy, just experienced lots of developmental delays across the board. I point this out to show that even if you work hard on hitting the milestones, they might not come when expected. However, I don't regret all our hard work, and we still work hard everyday to get her caught up. Just don't stress if your baby isn't "on schedule". Stella is currently in a few therapies and is catching up more every day. I am happy to say I can look back with no regrets on her baby days, and I know I did (and continue to do) all I can for her! Best of luck to you and your sweet baby!

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  11. I know you're coming from a good place but, it really is the temperament of your baby that's making it all or made it all happen for you, getting her to sleep through the night and at an early age. It is good to have a routine with your baby, even if it's from day one, but in the first few months of life, a baby doesnt have WANTS, they only have needs, so ignoring a cry or fussing is ignoring a NEED. Your baby doesnt know how to WANT something that early on, they NEED to be held, they NEED to be fed, they NEED everything and if they are crying or being fussy, it's for a legitimate reason, not because they just WANT something from you. Those" WANTS" that a baby has develop a little later, no parent should ever ignore a baby's crys for those first few months. Yes, you should start from day one laying your baby down, awake or not, in their crib/bassinet so they dont get used to sleeping on you or in your bed, not to mention it is unsafe for some parents to sleep with their child. I dont think I need to go into all those obvious reasons, common sense. I am a newborn nursery nurse and mother of four, every baby is different, we know this, u have the right idea of what to do but this should not be started until they are about 3 1/2-4Months old, again depending on YOUR baby. Parents please, if you have a newborn, don't EVER ignore their crys or fussiness, they dont have WANTS, only needs that early in life. Also, as far as people reading this that dont need your advice, we read it bc we know you are probably giving advice you shouldn't be or you are mistaken about some of your facts. Posts like this catch my eye because it just sounds ridiculous, I care for newborns everyday and I have four children of my own and it would be impossible to try and share something like this hoping to help another mother. Honestly, i wouldn't even have commented if i hadnt seen the comment about you ignoring her WANTS not her NEEDS. Good luck to you in the future.

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  12. Hi thanks for reading and replying, I always do appreciate points of view from both sides as long as they are intended to help and not hurt! I think you are referring to one of my replies to a previous comment on my blog when you discuss my use of WANTS vs NEEDS of babies. I first need to point out that I have NEVER EVER let my daughter cry for a long period of time (she is currently 27 months old). As I stated in the original blog post, if she cried after I tried the basics (mobile, music, rock the bassinet) I ALWAYS kept going until I figured out what she needed. As I also stated, I consulted with her doctor on feeding and sleeping charts to make sure she was adequately full and rested. From my research and discussions with her doctor, babies do cry for other reasons than NEEDING something to eat or not feeling well. They don't know the difference between day and night, thus the point of creating a routine. I believe that if a baby is fed every time they cry (provided they are crying more often than they should be and they are not sick of course) they will come to expect it. I know some people don't agree and as always there will always be research supporting both sides, but that is just my opinion and what worked for me. And to touch on people reading this post to catch phony advice, I do see your point there. I have seen some things on Pinterest and blogs that are impossible and I do think it's important that they are challenged so I am glad you are willing to do that. It is scary that you can put anything you want on the Internet and some people will read it without even considering if it's sound advice or not. However, that is not the case with me. If you re-read my first paragraph I stress that I don't know if this will work for everyone and that it is intended to help those moms looking for advice. I also advocate doing your own research and not listening to everything I say if it doesn't seem like it will work for you under my "Tips and Tricks" section. As far as it "being impossible to try and share something like this hoping to help another mother" I strongly disagree with that statement. I took the time to write and share this SPECIFICALLY to help other mothers and for no other reason. This blog does not serve as a source of income for me, it is done for my outlet and benefit first, and I like to share it hoping I can help moms who don't have to time to do all the research I have been able to as a SAHM. But again I appreciate your opinions and thank you for taking the time to reply!

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  13. Thank you for the reply, I absolutely, 100% understand you arent claiming to be an expert and these are just your opions. My main reason for reading and then replying is because you just dont know how many mothers out there take everything SO LITERAL and dont have enough common sense to know when to or not to do something. Since i am writing anonymous I will go ahead and share something very personal as an example....My sister had very severe epilepsy from the age of 3yrs to 13yrs, she was heavily medicated all those years of her life and due to her condition or perhaps being medicated, she is very developmentally behind. She is now 26 and acts the age of a 15 year old. She is married and had her first baby 8 months ago. She is doing well raising her daughter but she needed A LOT of help and guidance from family to get there. She is the type of person who would read a post, thinking " Well, it's on the internet and this person says its true so it must be" and she would take everything very literally. I can't tell you how many times she has said or done something that no normal person, who has common sense, would EVER do, and it scares the heck out of me. So, my reply is mainly for those people out there that dont use common sense and will actually put their child in harm because they just dont know any better. I know you can't just NOT share your story and research and what works for you because there's idiots out there that will read it, I just wanted to share this in hopes that if someone who is reading thinks this is EXACTLY what they need to do with their child, that may read these comments as well and think to use common sense or not take everything so literal. It really is scary how many people out there are like this, I see it all the time being a nurse. I appreciate your reply! Congrats on baby #2!

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    1. Yes I completely see where you're coming from! It would be nice if everyone didn't take everything so literally but I know some do. I try so hard to stress doing what's right for yourself and your family but I know lots of people skip right over that. I think it's great that you are keeping on top of posts like this though I think a lot of bloggers try to make crazy claims just to gain readers and that's sad because like you said people will take it as the truth for one reason or another. Those writers need challenged! Best of luck to your sister my daughter has developmental delays for unknown reasons so we are walking down that road as well. She's in lots of therapy and is doing well as it sounds your sister is too. Good for her and my congrats to her!

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  14. Thank you so much, I will pray for your sweet girl. I know that has to be difficult, mainly the" not knowing" the exact reasons for the delays. I will keep you all in my prayers!

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  15. Hello! I greatly appreciate your honesty and experiences with your routine with your daughter. You sound like a great mom coming from a genuine background of wanting what's best for her. I really glad that you advocate for moms doing what works for them and for their babies, since every mom and every baby is different. My question for you is, did you ever have to alter your routine at all? My son is about 5 months old and my husband and I "unfortunately" do not put him down awake and always end up letting him fall asleep in our arms. He was sleeping through the night for a period of time, but he is currently teething and going through the "4 month sleep regression" and is up 4-5 times a night. I'm wondering if putting him down while awake would make a difference with this. Just curious as to what your experience was, if you ever did have to change or slightly alter your routine. Thanks!

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    1. Hi there, thank you for the kind words! To be honest, I didn't have to alter my daughter's routine at all. The only time she's ever been up during the night was when she was sick. I do think this is just partly her personality, she enjoys being in her crib. There are times she wakes up during the night, but she just talks or sings herself back to sleep. The few times she woke crying (probably from a bad dream), I would just go pat her back or turn on her musical puppy she sleeps with every night and she would go back to sleep. But I also think this is in part from putting her to bed (groggy) but awake from Day 1. I think this taught her how to put herself to sleep when she wakes up. With that being said, it might help for you to try putting your son to bed awake a few times and just maybe see how he does (maybe start with days the teething seems to not be bothering him so much). I would rock Stella for maybe one song and then put her down. We always have some kind of background noise in her room...humidifier, lullaby CD playing, a mobile, or I have friends who used white noise apps if you prefer the tech route :-) Maybe just start with naps and see how he does? I have heard that sleep regression is pretty common during teething and also when babies learn to crawl because they want to be up exploring! We are expecting our second in about a month I will surely update on her routine and if we go through that with her! I hope that helped and best of luck to you!!

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  16. Hi do you swaddle her at night, or just PJs? Does your husband stick to the exact routine when you get mommy time or does he sway? Thanks for your post, it's nice to hear someone else who breaks the rules.

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    1. Hello, thanks for reading! I tried swaddling Stella when she was a baby but she didn't like it and always kicked the blanket off. I have heard it helps lots of babies sleep so it's always worth a try! I am going to try again with baby #2 coming this month, I actually got a sleep sack (that zips up) to try this time. They also help prevent SIDS! My husband really stuck to the routine when she was a baby but after she go used to sleeping through the night he would sway sometimes when I was gone, which was fine because she had really good habits already established and could just go back to the routine the next night. Not sure if this would work for all kids/babies though, maybe try to stick mostly to the routine and vary one thing at a time to see how your baby reacts :)

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  17. Sooo we have a bedtime routine in place for my 7 week old and we put her to sleep awake around 9pm...but she still wakes up at 1am and 4:30am to eat (15 mins or so each feeding). She's up for the day around 7/7:30am.

    I think it'd be in your best interest for giving advice if you add a disclaimer at the beginning of your post....your schedule is great for your daughter... But my daughters schedule is great for a BREASTFED baby. Expecting more than 4-5 hours of sleep at a time for a breastfed baby at that age could be detrimental to their health and development. You mention formula/bottles a couple of times here, but it's not made explicitly clear that 12 hours of sleep for an 8 week old is really only ok if they're exclusively formula fed.

    My fear is simply that a breastfeeding mother will either attempt this at the expense of her baby's health, or more realistically, become very discouraged as I guarantee that it will not work.

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    1. Hi there, thank you for your comment. I do see where you are coming from, but I would like to think it is understood that I bottle-fed since that's what I talk about in the "feeding" sections, but I do know that sometimes people get lost in the details and need things spelled out. I also mentioned I know it's different for breastfed babies in my comments, but again I know not all people would notice that. I understand your concerns, but I also would like to think that parents are responsible enough to consult with their pediatrician (as I did) to see how much formula and/or milk their baby needs at each age to keep full and to follow that advice above all, using blogs as supplemental advice and being careful to read the entire article when doing so. I was careful to give a disclaimer in my opening that this is what worked for ME and my baby, and that you should always do your research and use common sense when caring for your own child.

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    2. Dear Anonymous, as a mother of 4 children, I would just like to state from first hand experience, it IS possible for a nursing baby to sleep through the night at an early age in a healthy way! I have 4 children, all who were breastfed. They all slept through the night by 6 weeks, so I know that it IS possible and in a HEALTHY way! As Brooke stated, it is important to use common sense, as well as to heed a doctor's advice.
      My babies ranged in birthweight from 8 1/2lbs-9 1/2lbs. Because of their healthy and full-term birthweight, ability to nurse well, and consistent weight gain, I chose to never wake my sleeping babies. My second child slept 8 hours at night by week 1. I know this is not common, but he was an INCREDIBLE sleeper, AND gained weight at a healthy rate. My older children are ages 4, 5, and 8. They all see a pediatrician on a regular basis and are completely healthy and my older 2 are on both very tall for their age range. My 2 1/2 month old baby has been sleeping 11-12solid hours at night since he was 1 month old. He is a very happy, content baby and I am very happy to have a chance at a full night sleep (though I rarely get one with a large "to-do" list after all the kids are in bed). I am only writing this to say that it is possible for a breastfeeding baby to sleep through the night, as well as one who takes formula. But please do not shame a mom who breastfeeds into thinking her baby MUST wake up during the night to stay healthy. Not every nursing baby needs to wake up during the night. All babies are different, but I think we all want a good night rest for everyone in our family for the good of the entire family. And we all want to encourage each other to make that possible! Thankyou to Brooke for sharing her tips and personal experience! I actually read this because I am sympathetic to 2 of my friends who's older babies are currently not sleeping through the night. I want them to find ways to help them overcome constantly having to wake up during the night. And I do see that babies can get into habits of feeding during the night when they can still be healthy and thrive without it...

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    3. Dear Anonymous, you CANNOT guarantee that a nursing baby will not sleep through the night at an early age and be healthy! Please do not claim this to be true as you are speaking from ONLY your own experience!
      I have found the opposite to be true, but I am not saying this will be the case for all babies. They are all different! BUT....my babies have all been breastfed, AND have EACH slept through the night by 6 weeks of age.
      I have 4 children, ages: 8, 5, 4, and a 3month old baby. Please note the fact that I recognize each baby is different. My babies were all born full term, had healthy birth weights, had no problems nursing, and had appropriate weight gain-according to my pediatrician. Because of all these factors, including that my babies ranged in birth weight from 8 1/2lbs-9 1/2lbs, I chose to never wake my babies up when they were sleeping. My 2nd child slept 8 hours at night by the first week! I know this is not common, but it is possible (and it was wonderful)!
      My children all see a pediatrician on a regular basis, and are healthy and thriving!
      My last child (baby) has been sleeping 11-12 hours at night since he was 1 month old. He is a happy, content, healthy baby, and I am very thankful for his wonderful sleep habits. I am writing this to encourage mothers that IT IS POSSIBLE for breastfed babies to sleep through the night at an early age AND thrive! This doesn't mean it will happen for everyone.
      We all want our children to sleep well and to receive a good night sleep ourselves so we can be the best moms we can be! We also want to encourage other moms so they can have a chance for this to happen too!
      Thank-you to Brooke for sharing your own experiences and ideas in hopes to encourage and help other moms to help their baby sleep better! It is beneficial for the entire family when we all receive a good night sleep!

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    4. Very interesting Julie thanks for sharing! It's great to get some perspective from a breast-feeding mama since I am unfortunately unfamiliar. Good for you and best of luck in the future!

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  18. This is awesome my baby will be 6 weeks old this week and I couldn't have read this at a better time it has helped a lot especially learning how to lay him down without rocking him I don't know why I didn't think of that, genius!

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    1. Thank you! Sometimes it's easy to overlook things as a new parent and it helps to see what works for other people, even though it might not work for everyone. I will say that I did occasionally rock my daughter and still do today, but not to the point of putting her to sleep and not always before naps/bed. That way we got the enjoyment of bonding in the rocking chair without her becoming dependent on it :-) Best of luck to you with your little one, enjoy every second!

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  19. Thanks for a good read - I got some good ideas for the routine I'm establishing for my 7 week old firstborn! I've been consistent the past 4 weeks with bedtime and always putting him down before he's asleep - he then falls asleep in his own bed by himself every night. Although he wakes every 2.5/3 h. for food (I breastfeed), it's staring to really show how well he likes the routine. He's always asleep within 20 mins. I have faith in consistency :) good luck with your next child! Greetings from Iceland

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    1. Thanks for reading and the kind words! Your routine sounds great, I sure wish I could breastfeed. Good for you and best wishes for your future with your sweet baby!

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  20. Dear Anonymous, please do not say that a nursing baby will not sleep through the night at an early age and be healthy! Please do not claim this to be true, as you are speaking from ONLY your own experience!
    I have found the opposite to be true, but I am not saying this will be the case for all babies. They are all different! BUT....my babies have all been breastfed, AND have EACH slept through the night by 6 weeks of age.
    I have 4 children, ages: 8, 5, 4, and a 3month old baby. Please note the fact that I recognize each baby is different. My babies were all born full term, had healthy birth weights, had no problems nursing, and had appropriate weight gain-according to my pediatrician. Because of all these factors, including that my babies ranged in birth weight from 8 1/2lbs-9 1/2lbs, I chose to never wake my babies up when they were sleeping. My 2nd child slept 8 hours at night by the first week! I know this is not common, but it is possible (and it was wonderful)!
    My children all see a pediatrician on a regular basis, and are healthy and thriving!
    My last child (baby) has been sleeping 11-12 hours at night since he was 1 month old. He is a happy, content, healthy baby, and I am very thankful for his wonderful sleep habits. I am writing this to encourage mothers that IT IS POSSIBLE for breastfed babies to sleep through the night at an early age AND thrive! This doesn't mean it will happen for everyone.
    We all want our children to sleep well and to receive a good night sleep ourselves so we can be the best moms we can be! We also want to encourage other moms so they can have a chance for this to happen too!
    Thank-you to Brooke for sharing your own experiences and ideas in hopes to encourage and help other moms to help their baby sleep better! It is beneficial for the entire family when we all receive a good night sleep!

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  21. We did the routine thing with our first as well. She was sleeping as many hours as her age right away. Of course, we had to spend a few days keeping her awake during the daytime to get her on the right daytime/nighttime schedule. :) She actually still struggles with naptimes and I have to help her get really sleepy before she'll take her nap, but bedtime is never a struggle. I advocate the routine method and approach it very much the same way you do. I DID think having a routine was VERY helpful in allowing me to actually DO things. I knew almost exactly (on most days, of course), she would be hungry and that made it easy to plan outings, etc. I also want to say that my daughter was entirely breastfed until a year old and was sleeping 10 hours a night by 10 weeks old. My daughter is now 2, and sleeps 11 hours at night, and takes a 2-3 hour nap. We are expecting our second now, and while I realize this one might not be "as good a sleeper," I believe the routine will still be very helpful. :) Great post. Isn't it unfortunate you have to have all those disclaimers? People get up in arms about their own opinions, don't they? It's fine with me if others don't use the same parenting techniques that I do, but this is what worked for me. :)

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    1. Yes I never thought I'd have to put a disclaimer but this blog has opened my eyes to how nasty people can be! And to other parents when we're all just trying to do right by ourselves and our children, unbelievable! But chatting with so many mamas is worth a few nasty comments now and then :) Thanks for reading and best of luck to you and your family!

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  22. You don't have to post this comment, if you don't want, but I also wanted to say that I also talked with my pediatrician in the early weeks since she was sleeping so long and not getting the recommended number of feeding times for a baby her age. Since she was growing and healthy and sleeping well, the pediatrician said to let her sleep as long as she wanted. We have had no problems with health. And again, we breastfed exclusively and she was sleeping 10 hours a night by 10 weeks old, so it doesn't JUST apply to formula fed babies. Each child IS different, so some children will probably need more feedings than others. Also, when my daughter DID wake in the middle of the night to eat, it was never the same time every night. If it is exactly the same time every night, it's probably more from habit than hunger (once you get past the itty bitty newborn stage).

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    1. Very great to know, you are the second mama to comment about this lately! I love hearing this can work for breastfeeding too, wish I had been able to continue! I will certainly post as I hope other parents see this advice and know it is possible!

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  23. Wow the negativty from these keyboard warriors is crazy. I think even if you extended your disclaimer another 10 paragraphs people would still be rude and judgemental. I did very similar routine to you and my daughter slept through the night from 8 weeks old. Not once did she have to cry it out or "suffer" your post is great just ignore the stupid people who beleive that just because its not their way its the wrong way. Thy say your baby is rare etc and your lucky, well that maybe but also I know plenty of parents whose babies were very fussy and didnt sleep much & upon doing a similar routine had similar results. So more power to you! Keep up the good work and ignore the trolls :)

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    1. I have never heard the term "keyboard warriors" before but I absolutely love it! What a perfect way to describe them, it's so easy to hide behind a keyboard. My second baby is now 8 weeks and also sleeps through the night! Thanks so much for the comment, take care!

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  24. I loved your disclaimer so much I stayed to read the post! I'm due in a few days so this has come at a good time. Thanks for this post!

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    1. Thank you so much! Congrats to you and best of luck, thanks for the comment!

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  25. Don't you think that your baby was hungry all night? Isn't 12 hrs too long? I am sorry but I am gonna have my first baby and I don't know what to follow.

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    1. Congrats to you! You will have check-ups with your baby's doctor often in the beginning, so first and foremost always talk to them about how much and often your baby should eat. For the first 2 months I fed her every time she woke up, which was every 2 hours about. I didn't attempt a schedule before then. Newborns don't have very big tummies so they can't eat much at a time. That changes quickly as they grow and can eat more at once. I bottle fed so I can't give much advice on breastfeeding, I have been told they wake more often but also that they can be sleep trained so if that's the route you go you'll just have to see what's best for your baby. My second baby is now 8 weeks old and sleeps 10 hours at night. She drinks 4oz at a time. One last thing...since my girls slept so long at night they would eat more often during the day (cluster feeding). I fed them every 1.5-2 hours, which is more than most but worth it to me for a good night's sleep! They were never hungry and I never advocate ignoring hunger cries. You will learn the difference ☺ Best of luck to you!

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  26. Hi! I was just wondering on your advice as to when to start a routine? Also when did you begin the laying down for bed awake? My babe is a little over a month and I HAVE to rock her to sleep or she'll scream all night. I want to teach her to self soothe and how to put herself to sleep but I could use some advice as to how! Thanks! (:

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    1. Hi and congrats! For my first daughter I started between 3 and 4 months. I just observed her natural wake, eat, sleep habits and created a routine from there. I laid her down awake from day one! I'd rock and snuggle her a few minutes and then lay her down...tired but awake. This way she taught herself to fall asleep. It worked great! However, my second daughter is now between 3 and 4 months and I've been trying for a routine but it is HARD with her. She has a milk allergy and acid reflux and she wants me to hold her constantly. I still put her down awake but she screams. I turn on a fan or white noise app and let her cry for a bit. I always check her every few minutes. Sometimes she cries herself to sleep but if she's crying hard I do get her out and rock her or bounce her to sleep. I'm OK with a little crying to sleep but not to the point where they're miserable! So that's what we're doing now hopefully she gets in a routine soon! All babies are different so just keep trying until you find what's best for yours! Good luck!

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  27. Im currently pregnant our 5th child but my 4th baby.(I have 3 daughters, my husband has a son, and this is our 1st child together). My husband and I are big proponents of having a schedule for our kids from the beginning. Sometimes it works.....sometimes it doesnt. My oldest, even with a great schedule, didnt sleep through the night until after her 2nd birthday! My youngest was also around 2. My middle was sleeping through the night early on in life. The biggest difference was my oldest and youngest were breastfed for a much longer time. My middle I nursed for 3 months....my oldest 7 months....my youngest 18 months. Also the types of diapers you use and how much or frequently your child pees at night can affect their sleep. My middle daughter was not a heavy night wetter. And by 9 months she was waking up with a dry diaper. My oldest was a heavy and frequest night wetter. With my youngest, we used cloth diapers,and even though she was never a heavy wetter, she was a frequent wetter and did not like being wet. There are so many variables that affect how a child sleeps at night and some of them you cant do anything about. Still, schedules do seem to keep kids happier. Find something that works for both you and baby and always follow your gut.

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    1. Congrats to you! I completely agree with you. My second baby girl is now 6 months old and she is totally different from my first. She has lots of digestion issues and had severe colic, so a routine was pretty much impossible during the day. She ate when I could get her to keep a few ounces down and slept when she would tire herself out from screaming. But I tried to be as consistent as she would allow. I followed the same patterns, although not at the same times. Even though she refused naps and cried all day every day (up until a few weeks ago) she still was sleeping from 8pm until 8am every night by 8 weeks. Routines are subjective to individual parents but I do believe in predictability for kids. Best of luck with your 5th baby!

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  28. I love your blog! I have a couple questions. My little one is 6 weeks this week and I am excited to get a good routine going with him but am not exactly sure where to start.

    - What age did you start working with her with this routine?
    - Did you have a nap schedule or let her pick when she was ready to sleep during the day?
    - Did you have a certain amount of time you would try to keep her awake between naps? A certain amount of time you'd let her nap?
    - I saw your bedtime was around 8 PM, did you have a set wake up time also or just let her wake up on her own each day?

    So far the only thing we really have is a set bedtime.

    Thanks!
    Ashlie

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    1. Hi thanks for reading and Congrats! My daughter is now 3 but I will do my best to remember and answer 😀 I started around 6 weeks, but I think whenever you are ready would work! At first I followed her lead and saw when she usually feel asleep, and then I'd put her down those same times everyday. With my second daughter, now 11 months, I picked her nap times because that worked best with Stella and my schedule. So I've done it both ways, do what works for you but I'd say just try to be consistent when you've determined the times! I let her sleep until she woke on her own, but now I wake my girls at 4pm if they're still asleep so they're ready for their 8:00 bedtime! My girls have always woke on their own in the morning. There are some days she'd wake about an hour early, and if she wasn't crying I'd leave her in her crib until her normal 7am wake time, just trying to be consistent. I'd just do that as much as possible to create the habit, but some days she was hungry or teething so I'd get her up Early! Just listen to your babies cues, you're off to a great start! Hope that helped, best of luck!

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    2. Thank you for your reply! I have another question, did you wake her during the day to eat or let her let you know when she was hungry?

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    3. I just let her sleep until she fussed and got hungry 😀

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