Parents around the world often worry about their baby's sleep. If no one's getting any sleep in your home, try establishing some new baby sleep routines.
Rub some sleep-inducing essential oils or baby lavender lotion on your baby’s socks before bedtime.
If you suspect teething at all, ask your pediatrician about what they recommend for teething pain.
Do not give a lot of solids or try new solids at dinner time, because you never know what may cause indigestion during sleep.
Ask your pediatrician if your baby may have reflux causing discomfort. Read up on the signs of it yourself, so you know what to look for.
Room darkening shades to keep the light out in the morning.
Use a white noise machine or a projector that displays images on the ceiling.
Some babies will wake up if they feel too hot or too cold. Experiment with different baby sleep time attire and different temperatures in the house.
Find ways to differentiate day from night. Daytime is when we play- its light out, its noisier. Nighttime is when its cooler, quieter, darker. Even when your baby is sleeping every two hours, pick a designated bedtime and treat that time a little differently with a bath, lotion, lullaby routine, etc.
Don’t make the house too quiet. Right from the beginning, start baby sleep routines that will be most like your typical daily life. If your house is loud, get your baby used to the normal household sounds they can expect for the long-term during their sleep time.
Make sure your baby is getting enough sleep during daytime naps. Over-tiredness leads to more night wakings.
Have a little playtime between eating and sleeping. Try not to get into the habit of feeding to sleep. Walk around with the baby to stimulate them a little, talk to them, etc.
Slowly drop the number of ounces in your child’s night bottles so your child makes up more of their calories during the day. Drop by 2 ounces each bottle gradually... your baby may naturally wake up less. If you are breastfeeding, encourage the breast more often during the day.
If your baby will take a bottle, plan on your partner giving the baby a bottle of breastmilk or formula before they go to sleep. The key is to go to bed yourself after feeding around 7 or 8pm. Then, have your partner give the bottle feeding around 11 or midnight. If you wake up for any subsequent feedings after that, you hopefully still got at least one good chunk of sleep in!
Try room sharing for a while so you can catch up on sleep and regroup. This can be a temporary or permanent solution. For some children it is enough for their crib/bed to be right beside mom’s bed.
Sleep in six hour shifts with your partner. Have a spare bed or air mattress in the baby’s room- whoever is on duty, sleeps there. The other partner gets an uninterrupted 6 hours of sleep in the regular bedroom. Trade off after 6 hours so you both get a big chunk of sleep. Figure it out based on who is a night owl, who likes waking up early, etc.
Hire a night nurse, night babysitter or night doula, whoever you can find in your area who fits your budget. Supports can be critical to new parents who need the extra help. Parent support resources like baby sleep consultants, baby night nurses and baby nighttime doulas can teach you what works in terms of soothing your baby, help establish a baby sleep schedule that works, so you feel confident to keep going on your own!
Think about what you want your 12 or 18-month old to be able to do, and try to start creating that outcome now by putting them down a little drowsy but not fully asleep, etc. Read or listen to podcasts on preciouslittlesleep.com and start using their recommendations for putting a baby down drowsy but awake in the first couple months.
Or don’t.... do whatever it takes to get you some sleep now and resolve to work on bad habits a little at a time. It depends on what you can cope with during the early months. Its really important to get the physical sleep you need and avoid spiraling into an unhealthy state due to sleep deprivation.
This is worth repeating- you can do whatever it takes to get your family the most sleep now, and work on changing things later, or a little bit at a time. If you’re up for it, you can also try strategies that get you less sleep now but you believe will get you more sleep later. Do whatever you can handle. There is no one right way.
When all else fails, remember, this part of your child’s life (and yours) will be a very tiny time in the scheme of things. Your sleep will get better again. You will feel more rested again. You will get through it.