It's so important it gets it's own section
First of all, buy this book.
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. This book was my go-to for sleep training and my newborn was sleeping through the night at 2 months old. Yes. Breast fed baby, sleeping through the night. Get it. Read it. Do it.
Other helpful things for baby sleep:
Sleep sacks without Velcro swaddle when they outgrow the swaddle. (around 4 months)
FOR BIG KIDS:
Get them to stay in bed with this stoplight alarm clock. Before kids can tell time, they wake throughout the night and want to see if it's time to get up. Stop them in their tracks. This alarm clock is red until a designated wake up time. (For us, 7AM.) At that time it turns green and they're free to get up. This makes a world of difference because the clock is the authority figure in the room. Buy it. Don't look back.
A Little Bit About Sleep
Sleep is one of the most important things you need to figure out quickly as a new parent.
Here’s the scenario. You get home from the hospital and after labor and delivery, you’re exhausted. The baby, who was sleeping and eating just fine at the hospital is suddenly not sleeping at all. You realize in a matter of days that you haven’t slept more than a few hours at a time. The baby seems to be on a cycle of about every 2-3 hours. He gets up, you change him, you feed him, he looks at you for a while and then he falls asleep again. By the time you get settled to rest yourself, he’s awake again wanting to repeat.
At first this is normal. There’s very little you can do to sleep train a newborn, nor would you want to.
However, very quickly, setting good habits in place can make a huge difference in your short term and long term sleep goals.
When I came home from the hospital with my third, I knew that sleep was critical in being able to function. This was not something I could mess around with at all. I had to figure this out quickly or everyone in my family would suffer the consequences.
And this is where I have some tips for you.
First of all, I have a list of must purchase products. The links are on my website.
Swaddle sleep sack. MUST have. You must get your baby swaddled. “They don’t like the swaddle.” “They break free of the swaddle.” No. No. No. Do not make any excuses. Get your baby swaddled immediately. Tuck those little arms down and swaddle him like a burrito. Do it for every single nap and put him flat on his back. Not only does this help prevent SIDS, it helps him sleep. I guarantee it. The Velcro swaddle sleep sack in the easiest way to accomplish this.
Second, environment is important. As soon your baby is starting to sleep for a little bit longer at night, transition him to a crib. Yes…. Everyone loves sleeping close. But for proper sleep training, the baby needs to associate sleep with a certain environment. That should be his crib. When it starts to feel like he’s sleeping longer at night, get him into his crib. Get him in his cribs for naps. Put him in overnight. You will sleep better too.
Which brings me to my next point. White noise. Use it. Don’t look back.
Don’t answer every cry immediately. I’m not saying cry it out. I’m saying when he cries, wait one minute before picking him up. Wait two. Wait five. Make sure that he’s not just settling himself back down. And when he wakes up from a nap, don’t rush in either. Give him a second to adjust to being awake. This breeds a sort of independence that will benefit you later. When he gets bigger and wakes from naps in his crib, he’ll kick his feet, coo, talk to himself, for sometimes twenty or thirty minutes. You won’t have to rush in later if you start this now. It buys you valuable time.
And lastly, read Marc Weissbluth’s book “Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child.” This truly has been the guide to sleeping through the night for me. My youngest baby was exclusively breast fed and he was sleeping through the night at 8 weeks. Over 8 hour stretches. And now that he’s 9 months, he sleeps 12 hours a night without waking. I followed every piece of advice he had. Do not reinvent the wheel. Learn from those who went before.