During my first pregnancy, I read a lot of books and information on pregnancy, labor, and breastfeeding. It wasn’t until we brought our baby home that I realized I didn’t know much about infant sleep. I figured it would be pretty easy, but just a few days and weeks later left me realizing that it was a whole lot harder than it looked. No one should ever say they “slept like a baby” unless they didn’t get any sleep! 😉
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I remember that first month very well. Sofía would sleep for several hours straight during the day, and then it was torture trying to get her to fall asleep at night. She would wake up 2-3 times each night for milk, and then it would take her a lot longer to fall asleep than it did during the day. Luckily I didn’t have to go to work so I could take a nap during the day. But I still felt tired a lot of the time.
Our second child was not much different. Since I was sick several times during her first couple months, I wasn’t really up for figuring out how to best get her to sleep better.
Fortunately, they both figured out sleep somehow, and they sleep through the night as toddlers. It’s possible that I did some things to help them finally get to a point where they could fall asleep without my help, but I wouldn’t know if those tips could work for other babies.
Book Review: Help Baby Sleep
But you’re in luck! I have a blogging friend, Janeen over at Loving Littles, who wrote a book about the first year of sleep, Help Baby Sleep: The Exhausted Parent’s Guide to a Restful First Year*. I wish Janeen had been in my life back when I had my first baby! I read her book recently, and I can’t believe all the wisdom she has shared in there. She has five kids, four of which are boys, and they are all great sleepers. In the book, she lays out the steps to restful sleep from birth through the first year, for both you and the baby. It’s incredible!
The Difference Between Restful Sleep and Sleeping Through the Night
Restful sleep is different than getting your baby to sleep through the night. I didn’t really understand this until I read Janeen’s book.
Restful sleep ensures that your baby is sleeping well and long enough for his own body. If you allow him to naturally sleep when his body tells him he needs to sleep there will come a time when he will no longer need that 3 AM feeding.
There is no need to be concerned if your baby is still waking up in the night to eat a little, even at 9 or 10 months. Janeen says that her children all began to sleep through the night (which she believes is a good 12-13 hour stretch) between 9 and 13 months of age.
I always thought sleeping through the night meant falling asleep after the 10 o’clock feeding and waking up around 6 AM for an early morning feeding. That’s only 8 hours, which is great for most parents, but your baby will eventually need a longer stretch of sleep than that. If you follow the advice that Janeen gives in her book, your baby will eventually get to the 12-13 hour stretch. It just takes some time.
When Baby Sleeps Well, Mama Sleeps Well
My favorite part of Help Baby Sleep* is all the awesome tips for mamas. I don’t always know what to do myself when I have a newborn, so it’s nice to have a little guide to help you figure things out, especially sleep.
The best tip Janeen gives is to STOP cooking and cleaning! Yes, you have permission to significantly cut down your workload the first few weeks and months of your baby’s life. If you must cook or clean, she says that 10 minutes a day is the maximum. No cheating!
Janeen’s overall message in the book is one of support and encouragement. She knows what it is like to feel sleep deprived and completely overwhelmed with a newborn, but she figured out how to get better sleep with each of her children.
I can’t wait to use this book as a guide if we decide to have a third child. I would much rather feel rested with a new baby than pressured to get her to sleep through the night. You?
Do you feel well-rested when you have a newborn baby at home?
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