Sleep Struggles With a New Baby

It may be no surprise that babies do in fact have trouble sleeping. In fact, having a child basically means you wont be sleeping for a very very long time. You always hear horror stories about how babies don’t sleep when in reality when you first bring home your little bundle home they will probably be sleeping A LOT. That is because babies or specifically newborns up until they are most likely a few months old will sleep most of their time. You have to wake up to feed them every 3 or so hours, but still, they sleep a lot of the time none the less.

When my son was born, it was a huge adjustment to having to wake every few hours. I think more so for my boyfriend than myself, only because at about 9 months pregnant you are going to the bathroom at night so frequently that you are nearly up the same time anyways. I feel like I would have gone to sleep only to be awoken again with the urge to go or I would have peed my pants! Having a new born at home waking every 3 hours for a feeding was no different. It was also nice to have my boyfriend in the picture to be able to help with this. We started with him in a bassinet since it made things more convenient for us as we did have separate bedrooms. That way he could sleep right beside us and we didn’t have to worry about him being in his big crib for his little body. We figured why not get one also for when we have a 2nd and 3rd child we can hopefully have them in the same one while the younger kid(s) sleep. Plus it was obviously a safe space that the dog couldn’t give him kissed and that he could sleep on his own without being held.

My son was a great newborn! He would sleep really well, he wasn’t at all super fussy and he would routinely sleep longer periods as he aged a bit more. We were told by a lot of people just how lucky we were to have him since he was sleeping so great. As he aged to a few months old he still kept sleeping long periods without waking. It was pushing between 6-9 hours a night give or take. It didn’t even feel real at some points when we were sleeping wondering if things were okay.

Then everything started to change. We brought him to a six month appointment with his doctor. My boyfriend had asked why he is waking in the night, what could the possibility of this be? Our doctor asked if we give him a soother, which my boyfriend said yet, She told us to get rid of it or he will always wake up in the night. Well, we kind of panicked a little bit and started to try to not let him have his soother, which in turn was a headache because he was completely dependent on it. And is that so bad for a 6 month old to be like that? No. Not to mention we tried everything and anything to bring it back to how his sleeping habits before were.

We had a fish tank in his bedroom that we would turn on, this played some lullaby’s and whatever so he would be able to put himself to sleep. Well after he became more mobile and able to sit up and move around on his own with his army crawl he would press the buttons on his own to start it up. Now we just have it in his crib as a night light if we need it. We also thought and bought a white noise machine, When he was a baby even when we transitioned him from the bassinet to his crib we had an air conditioner on, maybe he wasn’t sleeping because he was so used to noise from that. We tried switching night lights, and sounds and types of pajamas and anything else we could think of. We just had to accept that he wasn’t going to be that big of a sleeper right now and that the sleep regression that everyone talks about is a real thing and nothing to be messed with.

Currently we put him to bed a bit different for naps and for bedtime. I know, before you say it “Well, that probably doesn’t help him Stacey”. Shove it. My boyfriend and I do this quite often racking our brains around ways to make it work and we just have to be consistence is all. He sleeps in a sleep sack to start. He used to have swaddles until he was able to pull his arms out and we moved onto sleep sacks. They are convenient and a great way to have your little lady or fella stay warm without worrying about blankets wrapped around them in a way they may be hurt. We also have a white noise machine. I had gotten this from Amazon one night when it clicked as to why it was so quiet. When he was in our room we had a humidifier going, just a small one on our dresser and maybe it was far to quiet for him. This also doubles as a nightlight since we used to have a puzzle lamp lit up red for him which we no longer use. It was far too bright and as he aged he would wake up and thing it was day time and he was ready to play. The noise machine light is far less invasive in terms of lighting goes. In the day time when he goes for his naps however I do not turn on the noise machine, Mind you this is my own paranoia that maybe the power would be out at bedtime and maybe he will be so used to noise that he wont sleep without it. We also did the cry it out method which I know we should have stuck with but now I just give him cuddles til he nearly falls asleep and place him in his crib.

As you know, you also have to put babies on their back when they go to sleep. This is so they don’t suffocate themselves when they are far too small to move their heads. As my son grew, he started to sleep more and more on his side, and now he seems to sleep well on his belly. It made us extremely nervous when he started to do that because well, you know why! However he was at the age where he can fully move his head if he wants to.

Though this may sound daunting, the hardest part is keeping the same structure. We always tweeked a few things in his routine but never all at once and it was always the same. We start to give him his last bottle before bed at around 6pm. About 620pm or so we give him some cereal with some formula with some fruit. We started doing this in case he wasn’t eating enough during the day and was fussing with his bottle that now he has a bit more substance before bed time. After that we give him a bath, alternating from a soak to a full clean every other day unless he has a really messy day. This is because we were worried he would have dry skin like I do. Then we get him all dressed up and ready for bed with a story or two (Or three with mom) and he is normally asleep by 7pm.

Fast forward and he just past a year old. Just before actually the past 2 weeks he had something click back! We never changed anything however there was a few nights when he would be getting up at 3am, and crying and crying and crying. We would cuddle, and as soon as he would get back in his crib the screaming and crying. We changed that. We resorted back to the cry it out method. We would make sure that he was changed and had a dry bum, and then we would let him cry it out. We would let him cry for 10 minutes. Go back and reassure him. Go back after 10 more minutes. There was one point he cried for nearly 15 minutes BUT after that he slept for so long. This happened a few nights and suddenly he is sleeping nearly the entire night! From approx 630-645pm til about 6-630am the following day! Occasionally we would have had to give him his soother but that seems to be about it!

There is light at the end of the tunnel! Do not give up new parents!

What have you found to be hard with a new born?
Was your little one’s sleep habits always good? or always bad? or mixed?

Let me know in the comments below!

– Stacey

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