gallamore west: My baby sleeps all night... with love :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My baby sleeps all night... with love :)

People tell me I'm lucky because all four of my boys slept through the night early on {somewhere between 6 weeks to 14 weeks}.  I smile politely, but the truth is, I don't really think it's luck.  It's about love.  I learned some great advice and now I'd like to pass it on to those who are interested in lovingly encouraging your babies to sleep through the night, without using the Cry It Out method, and without having to wait until they're toddlers for Mama & baby to get a good night's sleep.

I've thought about this blog post for awhile now and hesitated on it because the Mommy Wars are brutal, and I don't want any part of it.  But people who know me well know that my babies sleep well, and occasionally ask me how I do it so I figured it would be best to post it here.

I honestly feel that there are different ways to raise our little ones, and if we are each doing what we believe is in the best interest of our children, then differing ways are just that: different.   But I've recently come across a few opinions that make it sound like encouraging a baby to sleep through the night is actually a bad thing, and have even come across someone express their opinion that Cry It Out & sleeping training are one in the same.  As a Mama who lovingly encourages her babies to sleep through the night as infants, that comment stung because I believe that I'm doing a great thing for baby & me by establishing loving night time routines, and it is not through letting my baby Cry It Out.  Cry It Out and lovingly teaching a baby to sleep through the night are NOT one in the same.

If you feel that the Cry It Out method works best for you and your baby though, then kuddos to you.  If you feel that the Wait It Out method works for you and your baby, I applaud you.   There is another way though between those two extreme opposites, and that's what works for me.

It's pretty simple really, but after it has worked like a charm with all four of our boys, I think it's definitely worth a try if you are struggling to get some shut-eye and would like a loving night time solution.  And for me, I know that I am a MUCH better Mama during the day once I'm getting some quality sleep at night.  And for my baby, I believe that he is happier when he gets enough sleep.  What can I say... we love our sleep around here :))

- I put the TV remote away, hide my iphone, ignore my Facebook... I teach baby that night time is night time by focusing only on him when he wakes during the night.  This way our night time feedings are quick, quiet, and distraction free.

-Every night, we make sure our baby knows that it's night time by following a night time routine.  Kids thrive on routine, and I think even as babies they like predictability.  Whether it's a night time bath, bedtime story, or a lullaby, I keep it pretty much the same every night.

-The last thing I do before putting baby to sleep for the night is change his diaper, make sure he's comfortable & snuggly, then feed him his last feeding of the day.

-Unfortunately, I was a big huge failure at breast feeding {that could be a whole separate post.  Oh, the Mama guilt!} so for me, I have all of the bottles that I'll need throughout the course of a night filled with water and I have the formula pre-measured and ready to mix.  During the middle of the night, the last thing I want is my baby screaming while I stumble around making a bottle.  As baby grows and sleeps more, the number of bottles we need for the night time decreases until we don't need any.

- Our boys always sleep in a bassinet right next to our bed for the first couple of months.  If their little noises keep waking me up, {but they're just making noises and not actually waking to feed} I just move the bassinet away from me a little, but still in our room. When baby wakes up hungry, I quickly get up, mix the bottle in the master bathroom, then prop open the bathroom door with just enough light so that I can feed him without making the bedroom light.  I do make eye contact and smile at him, but I don't tickle or play with him.  After he's finished, I burp him and I put him back down in his bassinet.  At first, baby is awake & sometimes fusses.  If he's just a little fidgety, I gently place my hand on his tummy or rub his head until he calms down.  If he cries, I lovingly pick him up and rock him to sleep before gently putting him down again.  My goal here is to have him fall asleep on his own when he's tired, so that he likes his bed & knows that it's a good, comfortable place to be.  But I do not let him cry it out.  If he cries, I pick him up and calm him down until he drifts off to sleep.

-I don't change baby's diapers during the night unless absolutely necessary. 

-After a few weeks of me following this very predictable pattern, I notice that baby has begun his own predictable pattern.  He wakes up about the same time each night, eats and burps, all while staying pretty much asleep.  Once we get to that point, we're on our way to a good night's sleep because I know that baby knows what night time is for... sleep!  As his tummy grows, his periods of sleep stretch out longer and longer.  I continue this routine and before I know it, I wake up one morning to the rising sun & shout, "Hallelujah!!  He slept all night!!!"

At first, I'm thrilled to call sleeping 6 hours "through the night" but before long we're enjoying 8 full hours of sleep a night or more without ever once letting him Cry It Out, or by sacrificing years of sleep.  I've only done this with my boys as newborns, never as a "let's try something else because what we're doing isn't working" so I'm not sure how it would work with an older baby.  But for us, it's worked like a charm.

Currently, our youngest baby boy is about 12 weeks old, and I wake up maybe once a night, if that, and it's generally close to sunrise. And I treasure that silent middle of the night feeding time- just me and him cuddling, feeding, then watching him doze right back into dreamland.  It's a precious time between the two of us while the rest of the family is sleeping.  I know that this precious newborn time will pass quickly.  And by lovingly establishing these night time routines early on with baby, I am a better Mama during the day- with enough energy for all four of them and all of the fun that we pack into our days.  

 So, tell me... 
am I just lucky or has this worked for you & your baby too?  
I'd love to hear your ideas too!


Amber Sargent said...

Laurie, Great Post! I too hate a mommy war. It sounds like a great system of mixing in some baby wise? I have 3 and my girls were awesome sleepers from 8 weeks on but my little guy didn't really sleep through the night until 8 months. Adorable little bunch of boys!

Jenny@NorthwestLovelies said...

I completely agree with your method! I did something very similar and my girls were great sleepers too. :)

Jaimee @ Craft, Interrupted said...

Cuuuute pic of your boys!! I'm following you on Instagram and kept wondering if you had all boys. Now I know : ) I think two of yours have the same names as two of mine.

As for sleeping babies, my thoughts are - if you have good sleepers, you have good sleepers (and count your blessings!!) If not, well, you do whatever you need to do to HELP them sleep. Moms put so much guilt on themselves. You have to do what feels right in your heart and what your child responds best to. What works for your firstborn might not for your second. Personally, cry it out never felt right to me either. Unfortunately, our house has very fussy sleepers. We're still working on it....but I tell myself that in a few quick years I will be dragging groggy teens out of bed ; ) It all comes around!

Melissa said...

Great post. The hardest thing about being a parent is knowing what to do and what is best for your children. On that note, we followed this approch with our 2 and plan on doing it with # 3. Works great for us.

Melissa said...

Great post. The hardest thing about being a parent is knowing what to do and what is best for your children. On that note, we followed this approch with our 2 and plan on doing it with # 3. Works great for us.

Melissa said...

Great post. The hardest thing about being a parent is knowing what to do and what is best for your children. On that note, we followed this approch with our 2 and plan on doing it with # 3. Works great for us.

Melissa said...

Great post. The hardest thing about being a parent is knowing what to do and what is best for your children. On that note, we followed this approch with our 2 and plan on doing it with # 3. Works great for us.

bdodge68 said...

Laurie, I'm a mother of 2 grown boys and I totally agree with your method.
I had a very set routine with my boys from the day they were born and they were are still great sleepers. I could always tell when we were visiting my parents their schedules would get so messed up and they would be tired and crabby. Everyone does have their own opinion but it worked for us. My boys and I enjoyed a great night of sleep. Keep up the good loving.

Reannah @ {Shaped by Grace} said...

Aw, such a sweet post Laurie- and I totally agree! Every baby is different, but I did the same exact thing with my boys and it totally works! Routine routine routine! :) I'm sure this post will help lots of moms! Thanks for sharing - and enjoy your sleep!! :):)

The Stephens Family said...

I have done something very similar and all of our boys have been amazing sleepers as well. My 4th boy is 5 weeks old and he already knows when it is bedtime....he sleeps 4-5 hours straight at night! Routine is so critical! We have a lot of fun in this house full of boys, but we stick to our makes all the difference :)

Jen said...

Love this post, Laurie. I know different things work for different people, but I do wish more people (myself included!) had your patience and dedication to making their babies feel calm, comfy and secure. We had a lot of ups and downs with sleep time in our house (still do, if you can believe it!) but I 100% agree that for us, any time we take just a few minutes to comfort our kids lovingly and patiently put them back to bed, it saves us hours of crying and sleep deprivation instead. And a good bedtime routine and consistent bed time is KEY!! Good job on being so consistent with all FOUR! You rock!! :)

Tina Cunningham said...

OMG Laurie you are so stinkin' talented!! Can you make me a board like yours!! I do not know how you do it girl!!! keep posting all your wonderful thoughts and ideas because I LOVE reading them!!


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