Baby sleep, like politics, is one of those topics I mostly like to avoid with friends and acquaintances.
It’s… uhh… touchy?
Because, let’s be honest, I don’t know too many humans who, when asked how they’re doing, say, “Ya know, I’m really well-rested.” I think that next-to-zero number of humans drops into the negatives when you’re talking to moms with itty-bitty (or not so itty-bitty) babies.
Every once in a while, I remember walking around my house like a complete zombie about two years ago when our little guy arrived. Sweating (no one told me I was going sweat like a high school wrestler after childbirth), crying (happy crying, sad crying, no-idea-why-I’m-crying crying), and wondering if I would feel human again in the kind of near future. It’s a personal flashback of sorts that I’m working hard to repress as we kick-off the third trimester, because, goodness, there’s no reason to worry about the inevitable. And this time, I know, actually know, that even though those first few
days (ha), weeks (try again), months are a bit like mommy bootcamp, they’re a small price to pay for welcoming a brand-new piece of heaven into your home.
All of that said, let me just say that these sleep “things” were lifesavers for me. They worked for us-and maybe one of them will work for you. Goodness knows there’s no one right way, no one-size-fits all solution to these things. One of my biggest mama-lessons of the last two years has been that much of mama-life is trial and error. And we keep trying because we love those little ones. That, and it often feels like our sanity depends on fixing one problem or another. Especially if it’s sleep related.
In no particular order….
1. On Becoming Babywise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep
So, I know that this little book has quite a mixed reputation. But. I LOVE it.
This book focuses on helping parents understand how feeding time, wake time, and sleeptime are related and how to make the most of those times. The guideline schedules the book provided about how many feedings and naps my baby would probably need and fall into naturally were PRICELESS. It helped me know what to expect and helped both of us discover his natural rhythms. Some people are play-it-by-ear people. I am not one of those people. So this took away a lot of my anxiety about knowing around what age (in weeks) he would be transitioning to fewer naps and fewer feedings and how to rework our schedule as that happened. I really can’t say enough about how the basic principles of this book helped us those first few months.
That said, I’m not advocating rigid adherence to any book. This was a reference for me. Not a dictatorial list of what I should do and when. But it was, by far, the most helpful book I read (and re-read and referenced) on newborn life in general. And our little guy has been, really from the beginning, a rockstar sleeper, and I credit a lot of that to this book.
2. Swaddleme Adjustable Infant Wrap
Probably one of my favorite memories of being in the hospital after our little guy was born was watching Tim, my husband, try and learn everything he could from our different nurses. He practically interviewed them. But his favorite question was this. “Will you teach me how to swaddle?”
He quickly saw that each nurse had her own style of baby-burrito-wrapping, and he decided, like any good engineer would, that he would learn them all and then determine the “best” way to wrap up a baby. He could have gone pro. (Ya know, if there were baby-swaddling competitions…)
But after a week, he went back to work and I was doing the nighttime feedings and changings in my earlier-mentioned zombie state. Enter: the Swaddleme.
Velcro tabs were much easier for me, and I didn’t have to worry about pinning one of his legs or him wiggling his way out and waking up. Love these.
3. Marpac DOHM White Noise Sound Machine
There really isn’t much to say about a white noise machine, but I love this one.
It’s simple. It plugs into an electrical outlet and you flip a switch.
It’s small. We take it with us whenever we travel.
It blocks out noise and has become a sleep cue for our little guy-and us. At night when he’s really tired, little-B will turn it on, point to his crib, and say, “Pees.” (Translation: Please. But in a really cute, almost two-years-old voice.) We’re going on two years with this little gadget and there are no signs it’s been heavily used. It just keeps going…
Or really whatever pacifier your kid seems to latch (literally) on to. Back in our early baby days, I heard lots of moms say that their kids just wouldn’t take pacifiers. And it seemed like our little guy wasn’t a fan either. But I wasn’t about to give up on it without chatting with one of my favorite mama friends (the same friend who loved us enough to recommend Babywise!!). She suggested the NUK pacifiers. The ones most hospitals give out (you know, the ones that cover half of their faces) don’t have any hook that makes it easier for newborns to keep them in their mouths.
It still took some training and practice, but he quickly came around to the NUK pacifiers. And we’ve been careful about making sure the pacifiers and the cow (sleep thing #5) stay in the crib. They’re for naptime and nighttime. Most of the time, he’s fine with that. I’m hoping it will make breaking the pacifier habit a little easier in the next few months. I’ll let you know how that goes…
5. The COW
That’s what we call it, because, we’re obviously creative name people. A friend of mine gave this to me at a baby shower, and when we moved from the swaddle once he started rolling, I-on nothing but a whim-gave it to the little guy one night. It’s really similar to the pink bear in the picture. It’s a cow head on a small piece of fabric, kind of like a blanket but miniaturized.
Babywise preaches against sleep objects, but I gave in to this one. It’s so easy to travel with (unlike a full-sized blanket), the rattle actually helps us find it when it’s lost, and it’s managed to stay in one piece without any problems and through countless washes. As soon as we found out #2 is a girl, my mom gifted us the pink bear comfort object. She knew the cow is pretty much a member of the family and that we’ll definitely be using something similar with this little gal who is on her way.
I would recommend buying two (or three or four) of your object. We just have the one cow, and it’s since been discontinued, we’ve had a beasty time trying to find one. We’re still on the hunt.
But we did manage to find some darling and really perfectly-priced sleep objects at an online creative gift gallery called Catching Fireflies. These little wee snuggles (this is the lamb) are totally the kind of thing that would fit the bill for you to own your own “COW.”
It’s called Catching Fireflies, and you’re going to have a lovely little time looking through the unique kitchen gadgets, inspirational home decor, and crazy fun kids items. I promise you’ll see things you’ve never seen before in this online shop!
So you can get your own “COW” (please feel more than invited to come up with an equally creative name) or anything else completely whimsical and darling, the good ladies at Catching Fireflies are letting us give one of you a $43 credit to their online gift gallery!
If you just can’t wait, they’ve also provided us (and YOU) with a 20% off promo code that will work from now until May 15th. So get shopping, enter in TOGETHER as the coupon code, and save! (I think I might have to get these pastel Mary Jane socks for baby girl!!) The giveaway will end next Monday, April 20th at noon, Mountain Time.
I loved your summary….you just keep trying because in the end, those kiddos are worth it!
Brooke Watson says
Oh sleep…..I’m still not getting any 🙂 Great list!
These are great tips! We’re about to move Jax out of the bassinet and in to a crib…these might come in handy 🙂
I’d love to get some books for our little guy.
We used the Baby Wise book as well with both of ours. It is brilliant in teaching how it all works. Especially for my first when I seemed to know nothing! Swaddling helped with our second. Great list!