Baby Sleep. (Not to be confused with baby napping because that’s a total different entity.) It’s one of those topics that gets discussed to death on forums and boards and blogs and often in humorous ways. There is no magic when it comes to baby sleep, there are good sleepers and not so good sleepers. Yes, there are tools like routines, methods, and training but I firmly believe every baby is different. And what a lovely thing that is!
I am finally ready to talk about The Wee One’s sleep mostly because we’re in a small regression or a transitional period. It feels way too risky talking about it when it’s going well, doesn’t it?
Here’s how our sleep journey has gone thus far:
The first night we had him home we slept maybe two hours. It was so new and bizarre to have this child next to us needing so much that it took a good week to figure out how to best maximize sleeping between feedings, diapers changes, and rocking him back to sleep.
After maybe two weeks of nursing every 2-3 hours through the night he was sleeping in 4 and 5 hour chunks at a time and we were only up 2 or 3 times in the course of a night. We’d all go to bed around midnight because he was still sleeping a ton during the day and it was easier for us to stay up to until that last nursing session was over. The Scottish and I were exhausted most of the time but we had also found a rhythm. We made a good team.
Then over Labor Day weekend we were staying up north in this rental home with my extended family. The Mother aka Grandma Minn (get it? it’s short for Grandma Minnesota) had offered to hold The Wee One after his early morning feeding so I could go back to bed but on our second night, he went to bed at midnight and slept until 7 AM! We were all shocked! G. Minn woke up wondering what had happened and I woke up engorged and in pain but was able to take a shower before he woke up to eat. From that moment on, The Wee One started sleeping 7-9 hours overnight and his bedtime moved up to 10 PM. The Scottish and I felt incredibly grateful for our awesome little sleeper.
BTW, the technical definition of sleeping through the night for a baby is sleeping at least five hours in a row or longer. I always thought it meant that your baby was sleeping from 7 PM to 7 AM or 8 PM to 8 AM so I was pleasantly surprised! Our little guy was 5 weeks old when he started STTN (sleeping through the night).
This schedule continued for a wonderfully long time. After our trip to Scotland and the sleep disruptions that come along with a 6 hour time difference, we moved his bedtime up to 8 PM because he seemed tired earlier and was eliminating that last nap of the evening. Soon he was sleeping 9-11 hours at a time! How lucky could we be!?! I purposely never gave it too much thought because I knew it could all change in an instant.
A couple of weeks ago we noticed that The Wee One was getting too tall for his Halo SleepSack. He was also starting to rock more often and we were thinking he might be getting close to rolling over. It was time to transition to a new swaddle with the hopes of eventually having his arms out. We purchased a swaddle specifically designed to aid in transition. Both arm covers zip off so you can start with arms in and up by their chest/face, then one out, and then both.
This brings us to present day. Turns out the Halo SleepSack contributed to The Wee One’s AMAZING sleep habits those first few months. Our kid loves being swaddled, which doesn’t surprise me because The Scottish also loves to be “cocooned” as we call it in his blanket too. Not every child likes to be swaddled but the reason it works is because it prevents those nervous system initiated movements from waking them up. When you can’t flail your arms or kick you legs about during the night, it can’t wake you up.
The new swaddle while tight around the midsection, has a lot more space for movement and consequently, The Wee One has been waking up in the middle of the night again. During his first night wearing the larger and less confining Love to Dream swaddle he was up every 1.5 hours. Not fun!! We had completely forgotten how exhausting those early newborn days were already, how is that even possible?? Now his schedule seems to be wake up around 11 PM, 1 or 2 AM, and 4 AM. Sometimes he can be consoled with a pacifier and gentle touch, and other times he needs to be held and rocked back to sleep. Luckily, I haven’t had to nurse him back to sleep and I’d like to keep it that way. For a while now he’s been getting all his nutrition during the day.
We’ve almost finished one week with both arms in the new swaddle so next up is unzipping one side to free an arm. I’m pretty sure this will lead to even more middle of the night wakings but we’ll see. Maybe he’ll suck on his hand and soothe himself back to sleep? The Scottish and I are back into the habit of going to bed early to maximize our sleep before that first wake-up but we realize that this transition is temporary. Baby sleep is always changing, which is both good and bad. Overall, I’m still impressed with how quickly he has matured into sleeping all night!
If you have a little one, how was/is their sleep?