Who knew there would be so much that went into how an infant sleeps! Before I got pregnant, I just assumed they slept when they needed to and there wasn’t much that the parent needed to do. I could not have been more wrong if I tried! There is so much that goes into babies and their sleep schedules!
A few notes, we are not currently “sleep training”. I am not here to judge anyone for what they are doing or what they are not doing. This is simply a blog on where we are at with Oakley as so many people ask! I will also be updating this blog as she gets older and as things change. I also truly appreciate utilizing my affiliate links below if you are purchasing the products mentioned in this blog because I referred you to them, it allows me to keep my blog ad free!
The first few months of a baby’s life can be categorized as: eat, sleep, and poop- emphasis on the sleep. We learned very early on how important it is to watch for sleep cues (yawning, rubbing eyes, looking away from you, etc). I think the most important thing any new parent can learn is to watch for sleep cues. That being said, our days are busy and it’s not the easiest thing to remember when the baby woke up and when you should start watching for those cues. Luckily very early on I found an app called Huckleberry that helps predict baby’s next nap once you have logged enough of their sleep. It takes virtually no time at all and it’s actually quite freaky how accurate the app is when it comes to nap predictions. There is a free version and a paid version, we utilize the sleep analysis tools in the paid version and it made a world of difference in the first few months of Oakley’s life.
We downloaded the Wonder Weeks app while in the hospital based on a nurse’s recommendation and it too has been such a lifesaver in understanding baby’s developmental stages! We did not start making it a point to have her in her bassinet for every nap until about week 6!
I am not a sleep expert, will never pretend to be one! Which is why I recommend several different sleep courses, some I am affiliated with and some I am not (for full transparency). We took all of the classes below before Oakley was born and I am currently in the middle of a few at the moment given her age:
Parent Prerequisite– use code BOWMAR15 for 15% off
Taking Cara Babies (newborn class)
Bridget Teyler YouTube (free option)
That being said, the first 3 months of Oakley’s life really set the foundation for us on sleep cues and nap timing. As she gets older, the time in between naps is getting longer as she is needing less frequent naps. It seems as soon as we figure her out, she completely changes! A few tips we learned during the first few months: we elevated her SNOO on the side her head lays and it made a world of difference. We also ensured that we she had lotion on her face for every nap and nighttime sleep as she has dry skin and that was irritating here and waking her up from her sleeps!
The first three months of her life, she was in here arms up swaddle and we utilized all of the features of the SNOO for naps and nighttime sleep. At the end of month 3 and beginning of 4, she started consistently rolling over and her doctor recommended we started with arms out and weaning her off of the functions of the SNOO. The first few months, she was waking every 2-3 hours to eat. Towards the end of month 3 she was waking about every 4 hours to eat during the night.
Month 4 we started transitioning out of the arms up swaddle to eventually be arms out. We started by doing one arm out for each nap (alternating arms), and keeping both arms in for nighttime sleep. After a week of this, we started alternating arms out for night time sleep and about two weeks later she was fully transitioned out of the swaddle and was completely arms out for all naps and all nighttime sleep. The swaddles we used are linked below for reference! I feel like I bought every swaddle under the sun until I figured out what she likes. Now she sleeps in a footed zip up that has the fold over sleeves (otherwise I would have to put mittens on her) and a weighted sleep sack to keep her warm.
During month 4, we also stopped using the movement and sound features of the SNOO. There is a weaning option where you can use the sound only and if baby starts getting upset, the movement feature will turn on but we wanted to see how she would do without either (as she has an external sound machine) and it took about a week but she now just uses the SNOO as a bassinet and we haven’t turned it on since. At first we would turn it on and then turn it off once she fell asleep during naps for those few days before we just stopped turning it on all together. During month 4, she was still waking about every 4-5 hours to eat in the middle of the night!
There isn’t really much that has changed from month 4 to month 5 except we started putting her down much earlier for nighttime sleep (which I am kicking myself for not doing sooner). We used to put her down around 830-9pm and she would sleep until 6am but now we are starting her bedtime routine around 630 and she is in bed by 7pm and still sleep until about 630-7am every night. Right now she is still waking up once in that 12 hour stretch to eat in the middle of the night around 4am. She is still in our room and will be for at least a few more months as it is recommended to have baby sleep in your room until they are at least 6 months old, ideally until they are a year old to prevent SIDS as much as possible.
I also know I mentioned we are taking several sleep courses right now and we are not fans of the “cry it out” method. Again, everyone can do their own thing but it’s not anything we are currently doing. I will let her cry for a few minutes before I go back in our room to comfort her or put the pacifier back in her mouth (pacifiers while sleeping are actually shown to help reduce SIDS as well).
She is down to 3 naps per day and she is awake a little more than 2 hours between naps. We are still utilizing the same app as mentioned above!
Baby girl obviously started rolling over on her own so it was no longer safe to continue to use her SNOO after Month 6 as she could peak over the top and I was worried about her rolling over the edge. We wanted to keep her in our room and I did not want to dismantle the crib so we decided to get a pack and play for her to sleep in in our room, this also helped tremendously when we would travel as she would sleep in a pack and play then- so hotel rooms were a breeze. She was in that until the end of month 9. She also went from 3 naps to 2 by the end of month 8. Bedtime has also reminded the same between 5 and 6pm and waking up between 5 and 6am.
Months 10 – 12:
At the beginning of month 10, I started doing naps in her crib in her room and nighttime sleeping in our room in her pack and play. We did this for about 4 weeks until she was 11 months old and she is now fully transitioned into her crib for all naps and nighttime sleep. At month 11, she is down to 1 nap per day for about 60-90 minutes and sleeping at night from 12.5 hours to 13.5 hours each night! She is truly a rockstar when it comes to nighttime sleep. I do think she has FOMO during the day which is why her nap duration is “shorter” than the “average” baby but she’s healthy and thriving and getting a lot of sleep when you add her nap and her nighttime sleep.
Her bedtime routine is about 15 minutes long. We always start off with getting her in her pajamas, putting her lotion on, getting her owlet sock on her foot, nighttime diaper, and then moving in to our room with the darkness and sound machine running. She typically eats about 8oz before falling asleep at night around 7pm. Around 1030/11 before we go to bed, either of us will get her out of her bassinet and do a dream feed while she is still asleep- she typically eats another 4-6oz during this time.
While we are putting her to sleep, I always have soft baby jazz playing as well on my phone. This signifies to her that it is time to go to sleep and has helped tremendously for her!
We do baths every 2-3 days with her before we start her bedtime routine. She absolutely loves baths but with her dry skin, her doctor recommended us to not do them daily. I wish we could because she loves them so hopefully that is something we can start doing as she gets older!
Products We Love:
I also have a full review on many of the products we love above, and that blog can be found here
It’s also very important to note that if you have sleep concerns, please ask your doctor!