Ok, my mama friends. I want to share with you the absolute best news you’ve heard since you saw those two lines confirming your pregnancy.
You think I’m exaggerating.
Talk to me after a few weeks of newborn sleep deprivation on top of non stop breast feeding and let me know if you still think I’m overdoing it.
I’m serious and you’re going to love what I’m about to tell you.
You can likely have a baby who sleeps through the night within a few weeks. You can have a baby who is on a daily sleep schedule which allows you to have a consistent, planned out day. You probably won’t have to get to the point where you have to decide if you want to let your baby cry it out.
I will say there are always exceptions, but the vast majority of babies have a natural sleep cycle that works best for their brain and physical development. Realizing that and working with it will make all the difference!!!
And I will warn that this does not omit your baby from waking in the night when they deal with things like teething and a cold, but because your baby will be so well rested, these things will just be little bumps in the road and they will have a great chance of being less miserable during these times.
With each of my three babies, I started sleep training as soon as I believed I could. With my first, I started at eight weeks. In the resource I use and love, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, that is the age at which a baby can begin to learn to self soothe. So, I reasoned this was a good time to start. Even at that early age, I still had to get to the point where I let my baby cry. She was able to self soothe, however, and we only experienced one bout of extended crying, which was around 40 minutes. At this point, I hadn’t even considered that a baby could learn to sleep without this crying. We worked on her sleep schedule and within the first two weeks she was sleeping through the night and taking three great naps a day.
With my second daughter, I waited to start her sleep schedule because she had some serious gas issues that caused her tummy to be very upset often. So, I didn’t focus on anything other than feeding her and making her comfortable. However, around 12 weeks I felt like my little girl absolutely needed a sleep schedule. Somehow I just knew she was ready and that it had probably been a mistake to wait. And this realization came to me on a three week visit to my husband’s home state…while staying in college dorms that were empty during the summer. Yeah. Everything seemed a bit less than ideal. But I came to believe she needed more organized sleep so much that I started right in the middle of our trip. And she took to it amazingly well and was sleeping through the night within a couple weeks as well as taking all her naps well.
And with my most recent little baby boy, I started the earliest. Cause let me tell ya, by number three, my time and attention were already in pretty high demand and I needed this little man to sleep at the right times. I had no idea he’d start to sleep through the night at such a young age but lo and behold, at five weeks, without any focused effort on my part other than to get him napping at the correct times during the day, he slept right through the night! I still remember the morning after he’d slept through the night for the first time…I woke up and it was light out! People….it was light out. And I hadn’t seen the dark because I’d not gotten up for a single night waking. Let me tell you, I woke that baby right up because I reached over into his bassinet and grabbed him as quick as I could with my heart beating out of my chest. I bet it would have been quite a sight to watch, but I couldn’t believe it. He’d just slept 11 hours. Oh. My. Word. And from that time on, it was many, many months before a cutting tooth or a cold woke my little man in the night. He was a champion sleeper!
I share all this with you to keep you believing that it’s possible! I don’t just have easy babies who happen to sleep through the night. I work at it, usually for about two weeks. And all my babies have been different in temperament and two of them have had some severe gas trouble with very upset tummies. So, there is nothing about my babies that makes them better at sleeping through the night than yours. It’s just that I have made a choice that I want babies who get all the sleep they need and I want to get all the sleep I need because then I can do a much better job taking care of them during the day. Like be less grumpy, smile more, enjoy them more…ya know, just be less sleep deprived and happier!
So, my encouragement to you is to start now!
If your baby is just a few weeks old, there is no harm in helping her sleep at specific times during the day. You are the parent and she needs you to help her in this way. Sure, she gets tired and eventually falls asleep, but she has no way of regulating her sleep other than getting so tired she just fall asleep. This doesn’t allow her to get as much sleep as she needs after she is two to three months old because by this age, she will start to become more aware of her surroundings and your attention. Then she will likely fight sleep in order to enjoy your company and look at everything around her. This is why sleep battles occur. But babies want to sleep and need to sleep. They just need you to help regulate it.
So, check out the sleep schedule that I have posted for newborns and start following the day time schedule. This is where you always start. Day time sleep regulation naturally affects night time sleep regulation. So, if you start early, there is a good chance that things will work out for your little one like they did for my son in that she may naturally start sleeping through the night without much focused effort on night time sleep.
Mama, taking care of your little love is such an important job. I’m sure you’re doing it so well and hopefully this is just one more tip you can use to make your life a little easier and to help make sure your baby is getting everything she needs.
If you need help with this process, don’t hesitate to find me on Facebook to send me a message or use the contact info on my blog to send me an e mail. I’d also love to hear your success stories! It’s what a baby sleep nerd like me lives for!