Sleep is the ultimate goal for all of us: we know that with sleep we think more clearly, look better, act better, live longer, eat healthier, and get in better shape. He is also the main culprit of the new fog that parents experience; we all want to get through this phase as soon as possible. In this blog I discuss the magic tricks I use to make my newborn and my baby sleep so well. And at the end of this is a list of all my items you need to buy to get a perfect night's sleep with your kids.
When my twins were 12 weeks old I hired a sleep trainer and in a week they slept between 7.00am and 7.00am! So incredible! And my twins are two very different individuals who act totally opposite in most cases, from how much they eat to how much sleep they need. Even so, now I'm on the same program. (I'm pumping at 6:00 am, 10:00 am, 2:00 pm, 6:00 pm, and 10 pm. I gave up my 3:00 pumping session when they started to sleep all night, slowly adjusting them in increments of 30 minutes until I arrived at 6 am.)
Aspen has slept well since I trained at 4.5 months and has not slept for less than 10 hours a night since. Now at 21 months it has an average of 14 hours per night with a 3-hour nap during the day.
Here are my secrets with the twins:
Receive them on a schedule. My sleep addict says that if they weigh 9 pounds they can be put on a 4-hour program which means they eat every 4 hours, and these guidelines can be applied to children strictly of breast milk – like mine – or children of rigorous formula or any other middle way. (I also heard about the 12-12-12 rule: when they have 12 weeks and weigh 12 pounds they can sleep for 12 hours.) My twins have gone from eating 3-4 ounces of breast milk every 3 hours to 5 -80 ounces every 4 hours (sometimes I think they eat too much and spit but this does not seem to bother them so I'm not worried). Once they were able to increase their ounces they were able to go for a stretch of 12 hours overnight. Until this point we would give them a "dream feed": feed them around 11pm but do not wake them up, just wake them up enough to eat, but do not change their nappies or undo their swaddle.
After each feeding, keep the baby awake and stimulated for at least one hour (feeding time counts up to this hour) and up to two hours (except feeding at 7:00 am when they will go to bed immediately after eating because it is time to go to bed). After their waking period, look for signs of drowsiness; when they yawn, roll them up and put them down. Keep them in the same sleep environment whenever possible. Ours is a dark and cold room with sound machines, ceiling fans and narrow bands. So to summarize:
Feed at 7:00 am, 11:00 am, 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm (if necessary, it is possible to deviate up to 30 minutes in both directions). According to my lactation consultant a 3 month old can eat anywhere between 19-30 ounces in a day. (Hart eats about 19 ounces and Hayes eats about 28 ounces and both are totally normal.) No matter how much they eat in one sitting, as long as they reach those overall daily ounce goals.
If the child wakes up in the middle of the night acting hungry to feed. If this happens establish the dream of feeding the next night as described above. Every evening, reduce the amount of food in the dream until it is eliminated.
* The growth gushes: do not starve your child, if he is hungry, feed him
* I always receive a 24-hour grace period to go off-hours if something traumatic happens (for example: vaccinations or travel between time zones). After those 24 hours we return to the regular program, and this also applies to Aspen.
* If your child cares, that's fine. If you cry, set your timer for 5 minutes, if you keep crying, assess your needs: is your diaper clean? is he hungry? is it burdened? Is your environment suitable for temperature / dark / safe? Once you have these boxes, replace the child (assuming it is time to sleep and be tired). Sometimes Hart cries because he's tired and I'll give him water.
NOTE It is important that the child is lying sleepy but awake.
And now for Aspen!
At 21 months she has a tight schedule and routine. Every night she is in her crib with lights at 7 pm. Every night she wears a sleeping bag, has her own sound machine, and goes down sleepy but wakes up in her crib. Before this we read a book and say prayers.
Every morning Aspen wakes up at 8: 30-9: 00am. Every day he eats lunch at 11 and goes to sleep a nap at 12:00. She wakes up around 3: 00-3: 30 but if she wakes up first she is not allowed to leave the crib at least until 2:00 pm (but if I talk to her through the monitor and ask her to lie down she will usually do it if she is still tired). Aspen knows her routine and knows that we do not deviate. I keep her in a sleeping bag, so she will not understand how to climb over her cradle, I think if I had put her down for a nap even a couple of times without her sleeping bag she would have figured out how to get out with this too ! So keep that lot of sleep on your baby every time!
Remember, a rested baby is a happy child. Do not force your children to stay up late or push back a nap, they need AND want to sleep! Being tired is a real thing that will become a long-term problem and will be difficult to diagnose as only sleepiness because behavioral problems will probably integrate into the child's personality. Your child does not have fomo so do not keep them for special things, let the children sleep and everyone will be happier!
Here are the necessities to reach the sleep programs my children are on. For less than $ 200 and following a program you and your children will be perfectly rested!
3-pack for $ 29, Hart and Hayes wear them every day
Ollie swaddle (for your Houdini child)
$ 65, buy this for your child if you love sleep! Buy this for a friend if you have a heart.
Halo in fleece for the winter
$ 21, super easy to use and very warm and welcoming
Dohm sound machine
$ 49, I put one next to each child
$ 29, these are easier and faster than zippers! The best invention EVER. That's all I staged with Aspen and now the twins, it's so FAST!
$ 41, the softest and sweetest pajamas in the world!
Toddler sleep sack (Aspen wears and XL, looks huge but fits her)
$ 32, every dollar is worth it because it keeps her confined in her crib
Sleeping bag for children for the winter
$ 24, super soft replacement blanket for the winter for your child