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The Best Ever Newborn Sleep Tips For New Moms

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Inside: Knowing how to get a baby to sleep can seem like a mystery when you’re a new mom. Just follow the newborn sleep tips I share below and you’ll be in good shape.

My first baby did not sleep through the night until he was 18 months.

True story.

It was the longest 18 months of my life.

I was a new mom. I had no idea what I was doing. AND I was sleep deprived.  It was not a good combo.

And trust me, I tried everything. Staying in his room to reassure him. Standing outside the door to reassure him. Going in every 5 minutes. And yes, even the cry it out method. He cried for 2 hours one night and it did nothing.

Nothing.

Enter baby #2. I knew I had to figure out the sleep thing much earlier this time or I would lose. my. mind!

Now I don’t quite remember how I came to find the sleep training method that saved my sanity (it was probably though a thread on Facebook); all I know is that it works.

It worked for my second baby. And it’s working for my 3-month-old. And that’s a sign of a good sleep training method!

RELATED: Everything You Need To Know About Being A First Time Mom

Before We Continue…

Mom holds newborn baby while she sleeps.

So what is this magical sleep training method that’s worked with 2 of my babies? The sleep training method that has them sleeping through the night (for the most part) at 10-12 weeks old??

Before I tell you, I want to share a few cautions:

  • This is a sleep training program. It’s not going to work the very first night, but don’t give up! Keep at it. Stay consistent. It will pay off.
  • You have to agree to TRY the method before dismissing it. I’ve heard moms say, “Oh I don’t like being on a schedule. It’s too restrictive, etc., etc.” But what’s more important? Being on a flexible schedule (this method is flexible, I promise!)? Or getting your sleep back? You decide.
  • I’ve only used this method with newborns. I’ve never started it with babies who are older than a week old. So I don’t know how well it works for older babies. However, I know that it works. It may take longer. But it works.
  • This method does require a minimal amount of crying. Not a ton. But some. Babies cry. They just do. My 3-month-old cries before every nap, even though she’s asleep 30 seconds later. (Thank you sleep training!)

Alright, enough of the formalities. Let’s get into the good stuff!

How do you get a newborn to sleep at night?

Mom holds Babywise book that she uses to sleep train her newborn.

The sleep training method I use is called Babywise.

Ever heard of it?

I hadn’t either, and that’s why my son didn’t sleep through the night until he was 18 months old!

I HIGHLY recommend getting the book for yourself (it’s like $10 on Amazon) because there’s no way I can share all of the little details in this blog post. Plus, there are other great sections about facts on feeding, when your baby cries, and colic.

In fact, I have 5 of the Babywise books because they are that good.

But I digress. Back to getting baby to sleep!

The gist of the method is this: babies need to follow a feed-wake-sleep pattern.

Feeding should take place as soon as baby wakes, followed by wake time (diaper changes, playtime, etc.), and then sleep. Doing it this way encourages baby to self-soothe and put themselves to sleep rather than relying on mom or dad to fall asleep.

And that’s it!

I mean, not really, but kind of!

If you keep to the feed-wake-sleep pattern, your baby will naturally learn to put themselves to sleep.

Now, you’ll need to create an environment that promotes good sleep. That means keeping their room dark at night, laying them in a bed and not a swing, and using a really great swaddle.

You also will need to learn your baby’s sleepiness cues; things like yawns and rubbing their eyes. That’s a good indication that baby is tired and ready for a nap.

But even after creating the perfect sleep environment and paying attention to the sleepiness cues and putting baby down after a good waketime, it’s still a lot of work to train your baby to sleep on their own.

I can remember several nights with our 3-month-old where I spent more time awake than asleep, but those got fewer and farther between as the weeks went on and I stayed consistent with these newborn sleep tips.

What Babywise Looks Like For Us

A newborn sleeps in a zipper swaddle.

I understand something much better if I can see a real-world example so here’s what this sleep training method looks like with Mia (at 3.5 months):

7:30 a.m  Jordan brings Mia to me to eat. She goes right back to sleep after this feeding
9:30 a.m. Mia wakes up. Second feeding.
9:45 – 10:30 a.m.
Diaper change, get her dressed, tummy time/playtime.
10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Goes down for a nap (I usually try to put her down 1 – 1.5 hours after waking while always watching for those sleepiness cues).
12:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Mia wakes up. Third feeding.
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Diaper change, tummy time/playtime.
1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Down for a nap.
3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Mia wakes up. Fourth feeding.
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Diaper change, tummy time/playtime
5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Down for a short cat nap (30-40 minutes)
6:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Mia wakes up.
7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Diaper change, put pajamas on, tummy time/playtime.
8:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Fifth feeding. Down for the night.
10:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m Optional dream feed (sometimes she’ll wake up around this time or I’ll wake her up to give her an extra feeding so she’ll sleep through the night better).

Do you see how the exact timing can be flexible, but the routine remains the same? It’s a perfect balance!

As I was reading through the book for this post, I noticed that Mia’s first waketime was off. She was waking for her first feeding at 9:30 every day instead of 7:00. I wondered if this was the reason behind her unusual night wakings (at 4 or 5 in the morning).

For the past few days, I’ve been waking her for the first feeding at 7:30 every day and in just a few days, the night wakings have stopped!

RELATED: 3 Must Have Newborn Items Every First Time Mom Needs

Reasons To Love This Sleep Training Method

The first, and obvious, reason I love this method is because it works!

I also love Babywise because I thrive on schedules and I love knowing when my baby will need to eat again and when they’ll be sleeping. It makes planning things like playdates, work, and errands so much easier.

But one of the main reasons I love this method is because it takes a lot of the guesswork out of a newborn.

If you’re following the schedule and you’ve just fed your baby, then you know she’s not crying because she’s hungry! It could be because she needs a diaper change or is ready for a change in scenery.

I spent many days wondering if my first baby was hungry or needed a nap or was just cranky. I just wish I would have known about Babywise back then!

Another reason I love Babywise because it’s very predictable when your baby will start sleeping for longer stretches.

Following this method, you can expect your baby to be sleeping through the night (from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.) anywhere from 10 – 15 weeks!

For example, here is the newborn sleep schedule they list in the book:

7:00 a.m

  • Feeding and diaper change
  • Waketime: minimal
  • Down for a nap

9:30 a.m.

  • Feeding and diaper change
  • Waketime: minimal
  • Down for a nap

12:00 p.m.

  • Feeding and diaper change
  • Waketime: minimal
  • Down for a nap

2:30 p.m.

  • Feeding and diaper change
  • Waketime: minimal
  • Down for a nap

5:00 p.m.

  • Feeding and diaper change
  • Waketime: minimal
  • Down for a nap

8:00 p.m.

  • Feeding and diaper change
  • Waketime: minimal
  • Down for a nap

11:00 p.m.

  • Feeding and diaper change
  • Down for sleep

1:30 a.m.

  • Feeding, diaper change, and right back to crib

4:00 a.m.

  • Feeding, diaper change, and right back to crib

And here is the schedule for a 10-12-month-old:

7:30 a.m

  • Feeding: breakfast
  • Waketime activities
  • Down for a nap

11:30 a.m

  • Feeding: lunch
  • Waketime activity
  • Down for a nap

3:30 p.m

  • Snack
  • Waketime
  • Dinner

8:00 p.m

  • Feeding and down for the night

And there are schedules like that for every week of your baby’s first year of life! I’ve made it easy and copied down all of the schedules into a cute printable for you to download below.

 

How To Get A Newborn to Sleep Longer (and other newborn sleep tips)

Newborn baby sleeps on a white blanket.

Even following this method, sometimes babies wake earlier than they should, so I wanted to share a few of the sleep challenges shared in the book to help you troubleshoot while you’re sleep training.

Baby could be hungry because:
-He didn’t take a full feeding before his nap
-He is going through a growth spurt
-He is ready to start solid foods

Baby’s tummy is troubling him because:
-He is having an allergic reaction to a new baby food
-He is struggling with a bowel movement
-He needs a burp

Mom’s diet is affecting the nursing baby.

The nursing baby is getting too much lactose from mom.

The previous waketime was too short.

The first feeding of the day has too much flexibility (this was the problem we were having!).

Baby’s room is not dark enough.

Baby is over-stimulated in the crib because of wind-up toys.

And the list goes on!

There are so many challenges associated with sleep training that you’ll want to get the Babywise book for yourself to review all of the ways to help your baby sleep longer.

Want More?

If you liked this post, you’ll love these clever newborn baby hacks.

And if Babywise doesn’t sound like a sleep training method you’d like, here are 5 other sleep methods to try.

Your Turn

I know what it’s like when a baby will not sleep and it was not fun! If this method helped you, let me know in the comments.

I’m also aware these newborn sleep tips won’t work for everyone, so if you have a sleep training method different from Babywise that worked for you, share it below!

A Pinterest image with text and a mom kissing her newborn baby on her forehead.

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