Baby Sleep Tips

...so we basically lucked out with a pretty "good sleeper", but here are things we found that helped:

Don’t Freak Out

It's easy to feel like this author and get overwhelmed by all the conflicting advice (e.g. your baby will be an axe murderer when he/she grows up if you ever let them cry, or if you don't let them cry), and to get terrified by the SIDS Mafia...while you should definitely consider safe sleeping guidelines, keep in mind that babies have been sleeping in many ways for thousands of years so take a deep breath, relax, and take all the advice with a grain of salt.

First ~3 Months: Happiest Baby on the Block

The 5 S's (swaddle, side, shush, swing, suck) work great in the "Fourth Trimester"; as mentioned on the Baby Stuff page, the DVD shows you everything you need to know. This stopped working when Adam was ~2.5 months and no longer tolerated being swaddled.

Bounce on Yoga Ball

For his first few months, we found that Adam liked being bounced to sleep...and a yoga ball made it much easier to do this

Pros and Cons: Co-sleeping/Co-rooming

In decreasing order of convenience (e.g. for middle-of-night breastfeeding) but increasing order of having-your-own-space:

  • baby in your bed (e.g. using the SnuggleMe, discussed on the Baby Stuff page)

  • co-sleeping "sidecar"

  • floor mattress/crib in the same room

  • floor mattress/crib in another room

Every baby and family is different, so do what works for you. Plus, your baby's needs will change over time: we started with the sidecar, then SnuggleMe in the bed, then co-sleeping directly in the bed, then a floor mattress in the same room, then a crib in another room.

Drug Your Baby: Camomile Tea

It's not really a drug, but if you drink some Camomile Tea (or Mother's Milk tea, which contains camomile along with other soothing herbs) and then nurse your baby, it can help calm him/her down (we especially did this during Adam's first few months)

White Noise: Dohm and/or Smartphone App

White noise mimics the sounds your baby was used to in the womb and masks other noises...there are a bunch of apps that work for this, but if you want a stand-alone unit try the Marpac Dohm (there is a SS = single speed and DS = double speed model, we have the DS; as far as I can tell the "Dohm for Baby" is just a DS with different packaging). We later got a Google Home which has a bunch of white noise modes ("OK Google, play white noise" or a bunch of other ambient sounds)...you can do something similar on Echo/Alexa.

Blackout Curtains

Adam kept waking up at dawn every morning, until we stayed at a hotel that had blackout curtains...when we got home, we bought some right away! There are different ways to do this:

  • DIY - you can sew a liner to your existing curtains (e.g. from Joann or other online fabric stores), this blog explains how to do it

  • Separate liner - especially if you have dual curtain rods, you can hang a blackout liner behind your curtains (or "cellular" shades like the cheaply constructed but easy-to-use Redi-Shade, which also can hang behind more decorative curtains)

  • All-in-one curtain - curtain with a built-in liner; this is what we did (we got Emery Rod Pocket Insulated Total Blackout curtains from Bed Bath & Beyond; Sweethome recommends the similar but nicer- looking Sebastian model)...note that many "blackout" curtains sold don't have liners (they're just heavy fabric) so check it out before you buy

  • Total blackout cover - any of the above approaches leave small gaps on the sides/top where some light can get through; if you want total blackness (some babies are more sensitive than others!), then go for something like the Blackout EZ window cover

Nursing to Sleep

Especially once your baby is comfortable with the side-lying position (see breastfeeding tips for more), we found this was the best way to get him to sleep, and as a bonus it kept him well-fed for the night. Some people recommend an extra-big "dream feed" just before bedtime.

Gripe Water

See the breastfeeding tips page for info about this magic anti-colic liquid.

Flower Essences

Lizzie made a spray bottle using water, a few drops of the following essences, and a few drops of myrrh essential oil. She then sprayed this around Adam before naps/bedtime, and after a few weeks he was able to fall asleep easier: