Guess who is officially three months old (as of yesterday)? This baby girl.
Guess who is also a rockstar sleeper, most of the time? This baby girl.
There are a few things that are just harder with two babies, but there are some things that, because it’s your second go around, are SO much easier. For me, sleep has been one of those things. Today I wanted to talk a little bit about what we’re doing the same and what we’re doing differently with this babe than with her older brother Lincoln (now 20 months).
Full disclosure: Lincoln is an awesome sleeper. He started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks and while we struggled with teething and sleep regressions. So, with baby number two, I was really hoping she would be a lot like her brother.
She isn’t quite sleeping through the night yet. We put her down between 6:30 and 7:30 most nights (her naps are still irregular so she goes down an hour and a half after her last nap and that ends up being somewhere between 6:30 and 7:30, roughly). She wakes up to eat once, usually between 3 and 5, and then goes back to sleep for another couple of hours. Last night she did 7:30pm -8:50am with a feed at 3 and a pacifier reinsertion at 6:30. The night before she did 6:30pm-6:30am with a feed at 4 and a pacifier reinsertion at 5:30. So by some definitions she is definitely sleeping through the night, and sometimes we’ll do a dream feed at 10pm before we go to bed and she’ll go till 6am without waking up (but usually she seems to wake between 3 and 5 whether we do the dream feed or not so I’ve stopped this week).
But anyway, back to how baby girl is not like her brother.
Lincoln was an excellent night sleeper but napping was. the. bane. of. my. existence. It was hard to get him down for naps, especially as his wake times lengthened and I tried to figure out new routines. 20 months later, we’ve got it down and this child lunges for his crib from my arms when he’s tired because he’s excited to go to bed, but at 3 months, I spent SO much of my day just trying to get him to sleep.
I was worried about everything. I didn’t want to let him cry because I didn’t want to cause attachment issues or an abandonment complex (we did eventually sleep train and it made for a much happier mom and a MUCH happier baby during the day). I didn’t want to rock or feed him to sleep because I didn’t want to create unhelpful sleep cues. I did want a strict routine. I read article after article. I chatted for hours with friends about routines and best practices. I was so proud when I’d put him down half awake and he put himself to sleep.
And now there’s Adelaide.
Discounting the first month or so (when she napped irradically and I had family to take care of Lincoln so I could just cater to her), here’s what happens to put Adelaide down for naps.
1. Change her diaper.
2. Swaddle her tightly.
3. Turn off the lights, turn on the noise machine, maybe put in a pacifier, and leave.
4. Come in 3-5 minutes later to reinsert pacifier.
This sequence happens once she starts being at all fussy. If she’s been fed and changed, I figure she must be tired. Her eyes are wide open and often, within a minute or two of leaving, she cries.
I can’t always rush right in to comfort her because I’m taking care of Lincoln so within a few minutes I head back in and put in a pacifier and she quiets down and then puts herself to sleep.
I don’t have time to think about all the things I did when I was working with Lincoln on naps. I can’t obsess and I can’t hold her through naps. Sometimes she gets a bottle before bed and sometimes she gets it when she wakes up.
1. Letting her fuss. Hear me out — there’s a big difference between letting a two month old fuss for a few minutes and letting them cry themselves to sleep (according to a few articles I read). It hasn’t been very intentional so far, but just with juggling two babies, I can’t go check on her the first second she makes a peep. Often, I’ll hear her crying, finish up with Lincoln, and in those two minutes she’s stopped crying.
2. A tight swaddle. We use a few different swaddles that have velcro closures that work SO much better than traditional swaddle blankets.
3. Overnight diapers: One thing that helped Lincoln and we’ve started using with Adelaide have been awesome overnight diapers that keep the babies dry for longer periods so they don’t wake up wet and uncomfortable. We’ve tried A LOT of options and the best solution we’ve found are Pampers (and I usually go up one size from their daytime diapers). We switched Adelaide from traditional Pampers Swaddlers at bedtime (which we’ve used exclusively with her so far) to the New Pampers Swaddlers Overnights just last week and she’s already waking up less. They’re blankie soft like regular swaddlers and a reinforced core to keep babies dry up to twelve hours.
4. White noise: I swear by white noise for babies. The first time Linc slept through the night was the first night we left the noise on continuously. With Adelaide, the womb noise on our little app is soothing and that, combined with the dark room and tight swaddle, tell her it’s time for sleep.