For those who know the Tealbee story, you might know that I started the business when my first son was born.
That was about 4.5 year's ago.
And just about 6 weeks ago, I had my second son!
In this post, I wanted to share my 6 week journey with my second one and how sleep looks like.
When I had sleep issues with my firstborn, I was so worn out and tired of not having any time for myself that I was determined to sleep train my baby at a fairly young age. I had no one helping me after the 1st month when my mom was helping me out. I didn't have any family nearby. I didn't have a mother's helper or a nanny.
I was all alone.
After few weeks of bouncing on the yoga ball, walking around the house swaying and jiggling, I've had enough. Looking back, it was probably me that did all the things wrong but my baby who wouldn't sleep for more than 15 minutes or sometimes 2 minutes of cat napping wouldn't let me rest and be a human.
I had to sleep train him to regain my sanity.
But before I sleep trained my baby, I had to make sure that I am doing it the right way and it's not going to harm my baby in any ways.
I devoured myself into reading a ton of baby sleep books. I probably read about 10+ books on baby sleep. If you asked me anything about science of baby sleep at that time, I could've told you why your baby is having issues with sleep based on the wealth of knowledge I had devoured.
Now that I'm with my second one, I am going through another phase of trying to adapt to a new family dynamics and sleep patterns.
It's so easy to forget as your children grow, what newborn phase is like. But here are few things I am doing differently and how adapting a schedule looks like for me.
1. Sticking To The Routine of E.A.S.Y
If you don't know what E.A.S.Y is, I highly recommend googling it or reading our post here. It stands for eat, activity, sleep, and you (your time when baby sleeps). Many baby sleep books recommend that you follow this EASY routine with your baby so that the baby learns how to fall asleep independently while the baby is awake.
Before the baby arrived, I was so determined that this was going to be easy for me since I was going to sleep train my baby since birth.
By sleep training, I wasn't going to rock or sway or jiggle the baby to sleep.
And I didn't.
But the challenge was that, every time I nursed him, he fell asleep.
Nursing to sleep is another 'sleep association' since the baby thinks whenever he/she is being fed, it's bedtime. It could also not lead to a full feeding, making the baby wake up earlier from naps.
But even knowing all that above, it was so hard to wake up a sleepy baby during the first few weeks! Babies at this age are so sleepy and cannot be awake for a long time that sometimes it was just impossible to wake up the baby to after feeding - I tried diaper changes, wet tissue on the face...you name it I tried it!
What I'm noticing though, is that as he is getting older every week, he is becoming more and more alert and can stay awake after a feeding.
The big lesson I learned during these first 6 weeks is that when the baby is young (under 3 months), learn to go with the flow but strive to stick to a routine whenever you can.
It's okay if the baby fell asleep on your boobs. It's okay if the baby was awake for 10 minutes and looks sleepy and wants to nap. Try to stick to the EASY routine but there will be a nap cycle that's going to be thrown off, and that's okay.
As the baby grows, sticking to the routine / schedule will normalize.
I used to stress out about why my baby (Firstborn) can't do what the book says. Now that I have more relaxed mindset and am more flexible while having the sleep knowledge, I am much more enjoying this newborn stage. Maybe a little too much kissing and smelling the hair while the baby shows no emotions, but I'm sure he feels it. :)
2. Falling Asleep Independently
So now to the part of falling asleep independently.
What I learned is that it totally works as long as you are very conscious of the baby's awake time!
Not all naps work beautifully but when I do put him down after 30-40 minutes of awake time, he falls asleep in his crib, on his own, without any fights.
But I will say this.
There are definitely naps where he struggles to settle on his own. I have had few nights where he was overtired. He was arching his back with eyes wide open and just wouldn't go down!
What do I do? I just help the baby fall asleep. I hold him a little bit longer to get to that drowsy/sleepy stage or sometimes 'sleeping' stage and put him down in these difficult overtired stage.
Normally, I swaddle him, sing him a song, and then put him down, while he is drowsy but awake.
But with my husband and sometimes my mom helping me put him down, I think there were times when he would be jiggled and bounced which I think is causing him confusion.
Lately, he's been fussing and crying as he tries to settle on his own.
I hate hearing him cry and I'm on my phone trying to see how long he is really crying before I interfere. When I do interfere, I try to make him calm by shushing him and patting him while he is still in his crib.
Normally he goes back to sleep within 2-3 minutes of crying or immediately when I interfere and shush him in his crib. And when I feel like he isn't calming, I try to pick him up and help him fall asleep at this stage. I try to limit bouncing/jiggling and rather just sit and hold him to make him calm.
It's definitely hit or miss lately.
But I think the key is maintaining consistency. It's certainly challenging to maintain consistency when there are multiple people helping out and when I have another kid to care for.
But it's definitely possible!
I used to jump at any little noise my firstborn son was making and get very stressed about any type of crying. With my second. I am much more at ease. As much as I hate to hear him cry, I know he is going to be okay and he is just expressing his displeasure of sleeping on his own, rather than warm soft arms of the mommy. He sometimes needs to let his steam out before falling asleep.
It's still work in progress and I am committed to really maintaining consistency next few days to get his sleep down. We shall see how he does next few days with his sleep!
3. Sticking To The Schedule
One of the things I try to do is making sure the start time of the day is somewhat consistent. This really helps in maintaining the overall routine of the day. I know when he needs to be fed and also nap times are more consistent.
Having to pick up my older one from his preschool, it also helps with managing pick-up time and also preparing for dinner.
Currently the schedule looks somewhat like this:
7:30am - Wake-up / Feed
8:10am - Nap time
10:30 - Wake-up / Feed
11:10 - Nap Time
1:30 - Wake-up / Feed
2:10 - Nap Time
4:00 - Wake-up / Feed
4:40 - Nap Time
7:00 - Wake-up / Feed
I then do a dreamfeed at around 10pm and then do two feedings at night. Currently he is still needing two feedings at night time (around 1:30am and 4:30am) and I can't wait for him to drop the two feedings into one!
Not every day will look like above perfectly and there will be variations. For example, he woke up at 6am this morning, instead of 7/7:30am. I put him down for a nap after feeding at 6am (just one side) and then woke him up at 7:30 for another feeding. And then i was able to stick to the schedule rest of the day.
How are you establishing sleep routine with your little one at home? Do share in the comment below!