Well that title may be a little bit deceptive since we kind of got lucky in this department from what I hear. We had a rough couple weeks when baby girl was first born and then we got pretty lucky after that! I asked a million parents what their patterns were to help their new borns sleep and, as always, different things work for different people. So I can tell you what worked for us!
Like I mentioned, the first four weeks were rough! The only place she thought she needed to sleep was on my chest. I would cat nap with her on my chest in my husbands recliner from about 11pm-5 or 6am. At that time daddy would get up and let her sleep on him and let me go sleep in our bed for usually 2-3 hours and then he would come get me when she was ready to nurse again. We had tried swaddling, she HATED it. We tried warming up a blanket and swaddling her in it. We put a heating pad in her bassinet for a few minutes to warm up her spot before we put her in it. The longest any of these things worked was 1.5 hours. Usually it was only 30-45 minutes and then I would be out on the recliner with her snoozing on my chest.
Two of my best friends came to meet the baby when she was about 3.5 weeks old. One of them mentioned something called a mamaRoo. This thing saved our lives! Her first night in it she slept for 5 hours. 5 HOURS! I woke up freaked out like something was wrong with her. When I realized she was still sleeping I felt like a brand new woman. 5 hours felt like 12! I know there are safety warnings on swings and most infant apparatuses that say do not left infants sleep in them. What we loved about this thing was it had an automatic shut off. Granted when it shut off she usually woke up, but it was better than what we had been working with!
She slept in the mamaRoo for about 4 weeks and we decided she was doing so well we would switch her back to a bassinet and it worked! By 8 weeks she was sleeping 8 hours through the night. This was the time we realized if we told other parents with infants this we may get slapped.
She has been a fairly great sleeper since then. Around four months she decided to start waking up at 1am and most nights I would be able to nurse her for 20 minutes or so and she would go back to sleep. Other nights it would be a 2 hour situation and it was not fun. We started to wonder if her bed was big enough. She was still sleeping in our room with us and I could hear her tossing and turning so we decided to upgrade her to the Lullago. It seemed to help and there she was-back to sleeping away. Around 4.5 months is also when she started teething for the first time also, so that may have contributed to the changes in sleep patterns.
So now, at 9.5 months, she sleeps between 10-12 hours a night and usually takes two 30-45 minute naps at daycare. From what I understand most babies sleep longer than that at nap time. I have never been too concerned with this since she sleeps SO much at night.
The one downside of all this sleeping? It feels like during the week we do not get much time with her! Since she doesn’t nap too much she is usually ready for bed between 6-6:30pm so it ends up being about 2.5 hours we get to play a night. And with dinner, bath time, and any errands that may need to be done, some nights it just stinks. On the other hand I get to write these blogs while she snoozes away! I am going to enjoy this while I can.
Our first night together!