“Is she sleeping at night?” or “How many times does she wake up at night?” is one of the main questions we are always asked since having Ever. Lucky for us, Ever is an amazing sleeper. I’m not entirely sure if it’s genetics or just all the great advice I received before her arrival but apart from a few bad weeks in the beginning she is more or less snoozing through the night at less than 12 weeks. Yay!
Here are a few things that have worked:
1. Co-sleeping. I read a lot about this during my pregnancy and most articles are very against it due to the risk of suffocation or rolling on top of your baby. The thought was very daunting when I stared at my fragile newborn. I was far more comfortable with her resting in her moses basket than between the boy and I, but after several expensive bedding options she still preferred to sleep close to me. Most likely it’s my greedy little baby wanting to be near her food source, but I think it gives them an added sense of security which helps them snooze through the night. I am also more aware of her needs while she is beside me, so I feed her before she wakes and cries from hunger. Every little sound is a signal for me to either nurse or comfort her which means even if she does wake it will only be to feed and then straight back to sleep. No need for me to get up and rock her or for the boy and I to fully wake to deal with the situation. I feel incredibly in tune with her needs since we’ve been co-sleeping, and as I write now she’s happily napping beside me. Our bond seems stronger and I actually feel she is safer sleeping beside me than somewhere where I can’t see her.
2. Music and White Noise. You can get mobiles, cribs, and toys that play music to your baby. Ever finds light music incredibly soothing and it helps her feel drowsy. We usually play it for her after her bath while she’s hanging out to make her a bit sleepy and ready for bed. After she’s asleep we try to keep it on for another hour or so to keep her comforted. After that nothing could wake her. White noise is another one that worked when she was a newborn. She was always calm when she heard the sound of our fan so I downloaded a white noise app on my phone. “Rain” and “fan” were clear favourites.
3. Cluster feeding. Ever tends to cluster feed right before bedtime. She will nurse or drink from the bottle about every half hour for three hours before she goes to bed for the night. This keeps her full and usually gives me at least four hours until she needs to be fed. That means four solid hours of good sleep. If I’m home and she’s nursing that night she will lightly drink for an hour straight and usually nurse to sleep. This was a habit she picked up from the first few weeks so now our nanny gives her a pacifier after her bottle to mimic the same sensation.
4. Nighttime routine. We bathe, play, feed, rock, sleep. Always in that order. It’s predictable and she knows exactly what to expect. We are hoping to wean her off the rocking part eventually, but for now it works and we are happy to help her on her way to Z land.
All of these methods have been invaluable to us. I am late sleeper so Ever usually goes to bed with me at 1am. She then will wake up to feed at around 4am and 8am and can sleep in with me until about 11am. This schedule works for my routine as I come home late and love to sleep in, but can definitely be moved earlier for different habits. The most useful part has been to make sure she doesn’t open her eyes when she wakes up to feed. I get the milk to her before she cries so she’s dream feeding. Then she is happy to stay cozily in bed until my wake-up call.