i've been asked several times how we were able to get kai to sleep through the night at a young age so i thought i'd quickly share some tips! first of all, every baby is different (oh, you haven't heard that one yet?) so don't worry if what works for some other momma doesn't work for you! the important thing is to watch your babe and see what they best respond to. i say this because the first month of kai's life i was so over-worried about the babywise schedule i read so much about during pregnancy! it taught me some great basics BUT the content essentially advised me to wake up my baby for scheduled feedings. waking up my newborn didn't feel right to me at first but i thought in the end i would be doing what was best. so, we stayed with it and at 2 months kai would still wake up every 2 hours for a feeding during the night and he only napped for like 30 minutes during the day. by the time Thanksgiving came, we went up to Idaho to visit family and stayed in a hotel. after an entire night of no sleep and a whole day of all of us being exhausted and overtired we had finally hit our breaking point.
in the middle of the night i just couldn't get to sleep thinking of how we were to change kai's schedule! i didn't really know where to begin looking for answers. i said a quick prayer and asked for some help. as i was scrolling through some of my friend's blogs i had found a post on this book, "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" so i downloaded it onto my phone and started reading.
it was a game changer. i read from 3am until 8 that morning highlighting almost every sentence. this book explained to vaughan and i everything that we felt like we were missing. we started implementing the changes that very day and by the end of Thanksgiving break kai went from 2 hour to an 8 hour sleeping stretch at night. #YAAAS
so what changed?
i learned about "wake-time" and to never wake a sleeping baby and that every newborn baby has their own personal time of being awake until they get sleepy. babies will show you signs (getting quiet, staring off etc.) of when it's time for them to go to sleep. if they are yawning and rubbing their eyes, it's too late. they are already over-tired. so once we learned about these cues and watched kai do them, we would stop whatever we were doing and immediately start his "nap/sleep" routine. after a couple of days of watching him, we found that kai had an hour of wake time until he would start showing these signs. so from that we started developing his schedule.
say he woke up at 8:00 a.m. we would then get him out of his crib, feed him, change his diaper, play with him and then as soon as 8:50 a.m. came along we'd swaddle him, sit in the rocker, put a silky blanket by his face and feed him an ounce or so. as soon as his eyes got droopy we put him in his crib and let him fall asleep on his own. he'd then wake up after about 1.5-2 hour nap. once he woke up from his nap, it was the same process over again.
after a week of doing this we noticed a couple things. 1) kai was SO MUCH happier! you could just tell that he was comfortable and peaceful and getting the rest that he needed. 2) he started sleeping longer stretches at night. like from 10:00 p.m. to 5 a.m. at 2.5 months old! it was incredible. slowly life was starting to make more sense.
so once we saw that he was able to do a 7-8hr sleep stretch without eating, vaughan and i decided it was time to teach kai to sleep through the whole night.
this is what kai's schedule would look like before:
10:00 p.m. put down for bed (bath, jammies)
3:00 a.m. wake up on his own (feed put down to bed)
7:00 a.m. wake up on his own (feed put down to bed)
9:00 a.m. up for the day (bath, day clothes)
so our plan was to eliminate the 3:00 a.m. feeding. either vaughan or i would sleep next to the crib for a night and when kai woke for his 3:00 feeding, instead of taking him out and giving him a bottle, we had him stay in the crib and gave him a pacifier instead. some nights he would take it right away and fall asleep and other nights he would struggle a bit more and cry for 10-15 minutes. it was our goal to teach him that it's just not time to eat until the 7:00 feeding that morning. so after a couple of nights of doing this (it was exhausting) he finally skipped the 3:00 a.m. feeding! hommie slept a full 9 hours. and when he woke up? the happiest i've ever seen him. all smiles and giggles! i knew then that the whole "sleep training" had been worth it.
now that kai is approaching 6 months old we've done things a little differently. his wake time is about 2 hours and we are transitioning to depend more on a time schedule rather than the wake time. our schedule now looks a little like this:
8:30a wakes up
10:30 down for nap
11:30 wakes up
1:30 down for nap
2:30 wakes up
4:30 down for nap
*optional nap around 5-6 if he's acting extremely tired. i usually try to avoid this nap if we can though so that we can get him down earlier!
7:30-8:00p bath, jammies, swaddle, fuzzy blanket and feed him until he falls asleep!
like i said before, every baby is different and what worked for kai may not work for your little one! but i am so happy that i was open to trying new things. even though it took some trial and error it was so worth the time and energy we put in. so if you guys have any questions just let me know!