I’ve received a lot of questions about Flora’s sleep routine and what we are doing to get her to sleep through the night already and truthfully I don’t know that it’s really anything we are doing specifically. The first week we were home from the hospital she woke up every 2-3 hours and then that quickly increased to 4, 5, 6 and now sometimes up to 8 (its only happened twice)!
I attribute her sleep to three factors: our daytime routine, our bedtime routine and luck. So here’s what we’ve been doing since we got home from the hospital….
During the day
I loosely follow the Babywise method — but am still exclusively breast feeding on demand. I aim to feed Flora every 2.5 hours, otherwise she becomes fussy. This way I know she’s getting fed enough throughout the day to not be hungry all night. If she’s sleeping I’ll wake her up if it’s been over 2.5 hours. But more importantly I try to put her down for a nap after every hour of wake time – this way she doesn’t get over tired during the day and from this pattern we are starting to develop a nap schedule (more on that later). We started doing this from the very beginning – there was never no confusion about night and day – during the day she was napping out in our living room or playroom and at night she was in the bedroom.
Our bedtime routine
Again, from the very beginning, when we first got home from the hospital we have been doing the same routine and I think that’s really helped Flora develop an association between bedtime and sleep. We’ve slowly pushed her bedtime earlier and earlier (we currently start the routine around 9ish) after determining what time she was most likely to sleep a long stretch (when we first started this we were doing the routine around midnight!). So keep that in mind, it’s been flexible and the timing of it has changed every week but not the routine!
Up until this week she only slept in her bassinet in our room at NIGHT. Once she had her nights down I’ve started working on naps in our room! I really wanted her to associate our bedroom with NIGHT TIME SLEEP.
I keep our bedroom dark as soon as we start the routine and the light does not come on until the morning (we keep our bathroom light on so I can see her while she’s sleeping and have enough light for diaper changes and nursing). I change her into a new sleeper, swaddle her up and then nurse her in bed. This is the only time I nurse her in bed.
After I nurse her, I keep her upright on my chest for 20 minutes while I read at this point she’s all ready for bed and I don’t have to disturb her to change her diaper or swaddle. I lay her in the bassinet, she’s usually asleep and more recently has started waking up when I lay her down. If she does this, I’ll gently rock the bassinet (we have and love The Halo) and play lullaby music on my phone. Sometimes but not very frequently I’ll have to pick her up, rock her, sing to her and lay her back down. In the very beginning when she was only 2-3 weeks old sometimes I’d have to start the entire routine again but I just kept at it.
During the night if she cries or fusses I wait 3-4 minutes before picking her up, known as ‘the pause’ if you’ve read Brining Up Bebe! I think this is a big part of why she sleeps all night. It wasn’t until she was about 3 weeks that I started doing this – but 90% of the time she’ll fall back asleep within 5 minutes!
She usually sleeps from 10/11- 5am these days. If she wakes its at 4am on the dot and I’ll feed her and she’ll go back to sleep until 7am on the dot! Like clockwork.
So, in a nutshell that’s what we do. I have no idea if it attributes to her sleeping through the night but I’ll be keeping it up!