The Ultimate Infant Sleep Guide
For Bleary-Eyed Parents
Infant Sleep? or Mimfant Shmeep? No, the concept of infants sleeping isn't some cruel joke older parents play on newer ones.
Your baby will start sleeping
through the night. Eventually. And this guide is to help that happen as soon as possible.
Seriously, you hardly slept in those last seemingly-endless weeks of pregnancy. Even the gy-normous body pillow didn't seem to help. And now
your newborn is 8 weeks old and enjoying those new lungs of his.
Personally, you look like you're in rehab. And perhaps you are, so to speak.
You're experiencing all the so-called
signs of withdrawl: severe grumpiness, preoccupation (with pillows), weight loss (hopefully...), speech problems (slurring), even occasional drooling.
It's time to take a stand and start reading. It's time to get that baby, and everyone else in the house, sleeping again. The subject of
infant sleep doesn't have to be shrowded with thunderclaps, fog, and scary zombies.
In fact, there will come a time when the birds outside your window will chirp you awake, and you won't want to kill them.
So let's get started and
discuss different strategies to gain that blissful condition of unconsciousness. Below are various articles that discuss in depth the
issue of infant sleep. Please feel to browse through them.
However, if you're a book-in-hand kind of gal, you may benefit more by purchasing an entire book. To help you wade through the flood of baby sleep
books out there, I've compiled a list of the most popular baby sleep aids and will be reviewing each one.
My Personal Sleeping Tricks
My children have all been amazing sleepers. It is not uncommon to find them still sleeping at 9:30 in the morning. In fact, since I homeschool my 1st grader, I get her up at 8:00 and we
usually get through 2 solid hours of school before the others wake up.
And, in case you're wondering, Bella (11 months) goes to bed at 7:30 pm and will also take an afternoon nap from 1:00 - 3:00pm. The older girls go to bed at 8:30.
Am I just lucky? Perhaps. But we've always done "sleep" a little differently than many other families. Here's a list of some of the things we've made routine over the years.
- Firstly, we sleep train our children. You will have to decide which method works best for your family. We have chosen the Queen Mother approach and it has worked well for
us. (See the articles below for a description of this method.)
- We make their rooms as black as possible. A brightly sun-lit room at 6:00 encourages children to wake and start the day, when really their bodies are craving a few more
hours on the pillow. In both their rooms I use a black out screen AND dark sheets hanging from the window. Is it pretty? Not really, but who cares when they're sleeping? When we have guests, I
quickly store them under the bed.
- We use
sound machines. These machines produce constant white noise that helps absorb the noises around the rest of the home, keeping them in "sleep mode" a little
- We use soothers with our infants that give happy-endorphins and promote healthy sleep. Click here to see the soothers we use.
- Occasionally, I'll notice Bella (11 mos.) is rising a little earlier because she's hungry. If she's been waking
at 6:30, I will make her a bottle and quietly go in her room at 6:00. I don't change her diaper, I don't sing, I don't turn on any lights. I quietly, without speaking, pick her up and
feed her in the dark room. When she's finished, I set her back into her crib, give her the mimi and leave without making any noise. She goes to sleep, eventually sleeping straight through from
7 pm until 10 am.
(Of course, this will depend on the age of your baby. Younger babies will HAVE to have an early morning bottle, since their tummies are too small to last that long without eating. However,
if you feed them without any stimulation and avoiding a diaper change, if you can, they should go back to sleep for you. )
Help Your Infant Sleep by Setting Up a Schedule
One of the best first-steps you can take in regards to increasing the infant sleep barometer, is to establish a schedule.
There are countless
reasons why this works, but instead of trying to list them all here, I've split the subject into categories that will be easier to digest and
put into practice.
Does Your Infant Sleep?
Pay it Forward!
If your baby has been sleeping through the night for a while, you've got something to share! For every mom who is getting a good night's rest,
there are two others who are up in tears for hours, rocking, gritting their teeth, exhausted.
Here's your opportunity to help.
The Hints, Tricks, and Traps of Infant Sleep
You may be surprised, but "setting the scene for sleep" is important. In my house, I keep the baby's room as dark and distraction-free as possible. (How dark? Try 3 layers of fabric on the
window. That room is as dark as I can make it without running into things.) I even use a noise-maker to drown out
the sounds of my older children.
Does it work? Well, last night we put my 11-month old Bella to bed at 7:00 and she slept straight through until 10:00 in the morning.
Yes, it's possible.
So take a good look at your baby's nursery. Is it "sleep friendly"?
Visit Creative-Baby-Nursery-Rooms.com for baby nursery design ideas, themes, pictures and advice.
My friend Helen will help you create a nursery that will lull your baby to sleep the moment you walk through the door. (Well...almost.)
Besides looking at your nursery, sometimes it helps to take a look at yourself. Sometimes we can contribute to our baby's sleeping problems without even realizing it.
baby sleep expert Kim West has written an exclusive article for the EiR about this very subject.
Double check your methods by reading these 12 common mistakes many parents make in getting their baby to sleep.
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