When I was pregnant, I was consumed with reading books on sleep training. I thrive on a good night's sleep and my biggest fear about having a baby was that I would never sleep again. I got the advice of both my bestie and my sister in law who were, to me, the strictest sleep trainers I knew. Both of their children are well behaved and always have a bedtime and a great schedule. When I reached out to them I was surprised that they both gave me the exact same response. Consistency. The routine from both of them was essentially the same but they each had their own version and I needed to make my own version. I've made a video here that you can check out to follow alone with our routine, but below is a break down of exactly what we do every night.
- Put on Pandora Baby Lullaby station and put in back pocket to have background soothing music on during the routine.
- Start a nice warm bath. Obviously don't burn your baby but dont' be afraid to make it nice and warm. It will relax them and come on... do you like a lukewarm bath?
- Wash them off, pour warm water over them, wash hair etc. No matter how much they cry at first I promise they will learn to love the warm bath.
- After bath lotion them up nice and even give a little baby massage if they aren't screaming too much from being cold. Make sure you keep that skin moisturized.
- Wrap them up in a swaddle blanket or actual swaddle. I liked to use a blanket during the day and then the tight velcro swaddle at night to teach Isla the difference in night and day. I wanted her to know that when she was swaddled nice and tight like that it was time for bed.
- Rock them and give them a bottle. (this will eventually drop out of the routine as they are older and you wean them off of the bottle)
- Rock them and soothe them until they are drowsy and alllllmost asleep. You want to teach them how to put themselve to sleep and self soothe. That's the whole point of the training. Eventually this will drop out of the routine too and you won't have to rock them to this point any longer you can just put them in the crib to fall asleep on their own.
- leave them alone unless it's a mid night feeding, or they are really wailing. The tiny little noises that they make and moving around is ok. We do it when we sleep too. If you go up to them and try to soothe them with every little noise they will never learn to soothe themselves. You will only just train them to continually wake up all night.
Keep in mind that the key is consistency. Do the same thing every. single. night. isla hated it at first and she would scream, sometimes I would cry and the entire routine would take like 2 hours. And then finally it just clicked. One night she just got it. She was going down every night consistently by about 7 weeks and sleeping through the night by 13 weeks.
I am no expert, doctor or special sleep trainer. This is just what I learned and what has worked for me.