Cel-e-brate good times, come on! And just like that, I’m looking back on one of the most exciting weeks of my career. This has been one for the books, that’s for sure. Between a brand new episode...
My Baby’s Sleep Schedule: What’s Working
Well, I guess I know what all those funny baby shower cards meant when they said, “Hope you enjoy every minute of your new baby – lord knows you’ll be awake for it!” When they say you don’t sleep when you become a parent, it’s true on many different levels. Now that my little Hazel is 10 months old (CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE IT!?!) we’re definitely all getting a lot more sleep, but I’d be lying if I said it was easy. If you remember back to my last post about sleeping, we’ve worked really hard and left very little up to chance when it comes to Hazel’s sleep schedule. She’s actually a really good sleeper at night (she goes down at 7pm and gets up at 7am), naps on a schedule, and self soothes really nicely. I can’t complain! But then there are the nights she’s teething, or has an upset tummy, or just wants to be awake and those are the ones that will get ya! If you’re a parent, you know that zombie feeling… it sucks!
So here’s what’s been working for us and hopefully something might work for you as well!
My Tips & Baby’s Sleep Schedule: What’s Working
1. Make sure you’re using the right nipple size if you’re bottle feeding.
Hazel is still on flow 3 at 9 months old (we tried the “y” flow and she just wasn’t ready for it) and it really helped her feeding when we moved from flow 2 to flow 3. Why am I talking about feeding when this is a sleep post, you ask? Well, the first step to removing those pesky night feedings is to make sure your baby is getting plenty of food during awake hours.
2. Get a Good Sleep Sack.
Hazel really likes this sleep sack! We use it during naps and at night. Makes it so easy to keep her warm without having to mess with a blanket. We use the 2.5 in Utah, where the weather is cold.
3. Pick a Schedule, and Stick to It.
Schedules are next to godliness. Is that the saying? For our family, with two working parents, a schedule is super important. Hazel also seems to like knowing what to expect – she knows when it’s nap time, she knows when it’s time to get up, and she knows when it’s bedtime.
Hazel’s 9-Month Schedule
- 7:00am Wake
- 7:30am Bottle
- 8:15am Breakfast
- 9:00am Nap
- 11:00am Wake
- 11:15am Bottle
- 12:15pm Lunch
- 1:00pm Nap
- 3:00pm Wake
- 3:15pm Bottle
- 5:00pm Dinner
- 6:00pm Bath
- 6:30pm Bottle
- 7:00pm Bedtime
4. Set a Bedtime Routine.
Our family isn’t crazy about this, but we do loosely follow a bedtime ritual. We also do an abbreviated version before naps. We try to turn off the TV 30 minutes before her bedtime (not that she’s watching TV, she’s too young, but usually it’s on for us) and lower the lights. We have a bottle and read books quietly on the couch. We say goodnight to everyone, including Tiger the dog, and then go to her nursery. We put on her sleep sack and sing a goodnight song. The lights are low and if it’s nap time, the blinds are drawn but it’s not completely dark. We turn on the sound machine and say “I love you” and walk out of the room and close the door. We lay Hazel down awake so she can learn to fall asleep on her own, aka “self soothe.” On the rare occasion that she already fell asleep (if she was in her carseat and we’re transferring her to the crib or something) we actually wake her up so she goes down in her crib awake. I know this probably sounds counterintuitive, if the goal is for the baby to sleep, but this is the way it was explained to me. Imagine if you fell asleep somewhere and then woke up somewhere completely different. It’s disconcerting, and usually the baby will cry from confusion. So putting them to bed awake not only lets them fall asleep and wake up in the same spot (which gives them predictability and structure which is so important for kids), but it teaches them that if they do wake up, they can go back to sleep on their own.
5. Be flexible.
As much as I would like to say these tips means she sleeps like a champ every single night or nap time – that’s not true. If she wakes up 30 minutes early, I let her lay in her crib as long as she’s not upset. Usually she’ll talk and play and sometimes she’ll fall back to sleep. And yes, of course there are days when none of these times work and her schedule goes completely out the door. But don’t give up, just try the schedule the next day and usually it works just fine. 🙂
And again, I’m no expert and nothing I say should ever supersede what your pediatrician recommends. Also, I’d love to hear what’s worked for you in the comments below! This mama is all ears. 🙂
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