Sleep came easy to Gemma as a newborn. As she has grown up and become more aware of her surroundings I have to constantly monitor how much sleep she gets. It makes a world of difference in her behavior and demeanor. Nap time and sleep are a priority in our house right now. When Gem is rested she’s happier and more alert. When she doesn’t sleep well, all of us pay the price.
But let me be clear… I know that Gemma is still a great sleeper compared to most babies. Please know what works for us will not work for everyone. I just wanted to share what I have learned and began doing for Gem and I. I am by no means a baby sleeping expert.
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Bedding is the Mint Scallop fitted sheet by Lolli Living Sparrow. Check it out >> here.
By the time Gemma was about 6 weeks old she could no longer fall asleep anywhere. She was more alert and very curious. If there was too much going on she would not be able to sleep. So, I started putting her to sleep in her crib. Sometimes she will fall asleep in the rock-n-play or on her activity mat. If that happens I usually leave her be. However, most of the time I put her in the crib as she’s falling asleep or right before.
Pay Attention to Time Awake
This took me a little while to master. I read all these things about different signs babies will make when they’re hungry or sleepy. Honestly, Gemma would do those things all the time! Clench her fists and turn her head back and forth. So instead of trying to decipher every single little movement, I decided to track how long she was awake.
Going off of this infograph I decided that at 2 months Gemma should only be awake for about an hour at a time. It seemed too short at first. But what I noticed was that if I went through the nap time routine even if she didn’t look tired, most likely she would still be able to fall asleep. Even if she fought it at first.
Some adorable Muslin swaddle blankets are >> here.
Create a Nap Time Routine
Everyone knows about bed time routines. It’s no different with naps! I usually change her diaper, rock her for a little bit while singing or reading or just talking to her. I will swaddle her and lay her down in the crib. If she’s not asleep by that point it usually doesn’t take her much longer to crash. When she fights nap time (which happens) then I come back into the room, pick her back up, rock and soothe quietly and then lay back in the crib. There’s been a few times we’ve done that 2-3 times before she’s either fallen asleep or gone long enough to interfere with her next feeding. Meaning I’ll feed her. Now that ALWAYS knocks her out.
I try to feed her when she wakes up and not to put her to sleep but if she fights sleep long enough I’ll have to feed her. I’m NOT going to push back her bottle just because she won’t take a nap!
Follow the 5S’s
Swaddle, Side/Stomach Position, Swinging, Shushing, Sucking.
Okay. I read all about the 5S’s. I even learned about them in the infant care class I took at the hospital before Gemma was born. Yet, it still took me 3-4 WEEKS with Gemma before I realized how great they really were.
The only one we don’t use very often is the Side/Stomach position. However, the other four, especially when used together are a life saver. Even now at almost 3 months old. Even if Gem is fighting a nap, if I get her swaddled really tight (I usually need Dallas’s help for this because I’m talking TIGHT), then I hold her in almost a side position (we’re stomach to stomach) I’ll swing her or rock her, add in white noise or even my own shushing… Then, if she’ll take it, give her a paci (Girlfriend doesn’t really care for them) and those eyes will begin to drop almost immediately. If I add in a soft stroke along her forehead and nose she just can’t resist falling into a peaceful slumber.
Wubbanub Pacifier. Get one >> here.
Some days are great. Some days are difficult and she fights sleep with everything in her. I’m still learning what works best but I think we’re finally hitting our stride. At least for the time being. Let me know what are your greatest baby sleeping tips!! And don’t forget to sign up for the Tale of Two Smiths newsletter for the inside scoop and some free printables.
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