New baby parent sleep plan

Oh, don’t get me wrong - we didn’t cosleep with either kid, due to a variety of factors. I just like to let people know they’re “allowed” to cosleep if that works for them, since it does make life so much easier for some families, and since the pediatrician is probably not going to discuss it.

I think the best thing with parenting advice and books is to view them as great sources for *ideas *of things to try, never as prescriptions or cure-alls. You definitely do need to assess your own unique baby and your unique family and decide what might fit best. As others are saying, flexibility is essential! After all, once you figure out the perfect approach, your baby will change!

When it comes to babies and sleeping, the only advice I will give is that you DO sleep.

My best friend has a 9 month old who still gets up every two and half hours. She has not had more than that amount of sleep in a stretch for nine months.

She is a mess. The baby is a mess. Her husband is a mess.

The problem is the sensitivity of mothers that others mention above. It is hard to let your baby cry for even a few seconds.

But you have to get some rest so you will need to learn.

They are now trying to get her on a sleep schedule and I feel for her so much. It still kills her whenever the baby cries for the tiniest amount of time.

Some babies are like that. I have a co-worker whose child wasn’t reliably sleeping through the night until he was 3 years old.

Mine, on the other hand, is a brick between 7:30 and at least 5:30 every morning, usually more like 6 or 6:30. I second the Miracle Blanket advice–she used hers until she was 6 months old. Finally, we weaned her off of it and gradually into sleepsacks, which she still uses at 11 months. But it was a lifesaver the first few months. Newborns have this crazy reflex that causes them to bop themselves in the face at the slightest noise, even when they’re sleeping. The Miracle Blanket makes it impossible for them to do this. Josie was giving us at least an 8 hour stretch of sleep at night from 6 weeks old onward, and the Miracle Blanket was the main reason why.

Wow, this bring back some memories. When The Littlest Briston was a baby, my wife came up with a double-blanket swaddling method that worked wonders for us (TLB would always wriggle out when we swaddled her with just one blanket).

irishbaby is 6months old. Currently she sleeps from 9pm to 8am solidly and naps for between 30minutes and 2hours during the day. She doesn’t like daytime naps much, and she won’t go to sleep if put down before 8pm.

We were planning not to co-sleep, but it just naturally happened. For the first few weeks they wake every 2 hours to feed, so we just put her down in her pram in the living room during the day and then took her up to bed with us at 11pm. I’d feed her and put her down in her Moses’ basket beside me. Come 2am when she woke up, I’d bring her into bed with me to breastfeed her, and I’d fall asleep before I could put her back in the basket, then I’d barely have to wake to feed her at 4am and 6am.

I have the luxury of a long maternity leave and a weekly cleaning lady, so I made up my sleep deficit with long lie-ins(in bed with the baby) until 10 or 11am, so I’ve been tired, but not like the horor stories I’d been hearing.

At 4 months we put her in her own cot in her bedroom- by then she was only waking at 2am. Her first night in her cot she slept from midnight through to 7am and that was it.

A couple of weeks ago she went through a growth spurt and started waking at midnight, 4am and 6am- starting solid foods seems to have put an end to that, thank goodness!

We have a baby monitor, but I keep it on the lowest volume setting or I wake up when she rolls over. She does wake during the night, but she just sucks her thumb and goes back to sleep 9 times out of 10.
It is different for everyone- my SIL and her husband are an early-to-bed-early-to-rise family. Their kids have long daytime naps, are all in bed by 7pm, but are all up at 5am when their dad gets up to milk the cows.
irishfella and I are night owls who are rarely asleep before midnight and don’t have to get up before 7am and irishbaby seems to have fitted into our routine.

Just do what seems right for you, don’t be afraid to experiment with different approaches, and take into account what your baby does.

I am very lucky in that my mum breastfed my sisters and I, so she was always there with help and encouragement. I fed on demand and apart from the first 2 weeks (which hurt like a mother f$%ker) I haven’t found it particularly problematic. Neeps- if you ever want a bit of support or have a question I’d be only to happy to help.

Yeah, my son was really tough too. He still doesn’t sleep through the night, and he just turned 40. :stuck_out_tongue:

I think this is great advice. You can also get ideas from other parents and your pediatrician.

Neeps, about the breastfeeding thing: Books are useful (I liked the Nursing Mother’s Companion by Kathleen Huggins), but having a lactation consultant to help is invaluable. Some hospitals offer classes on breastfeeding. Check to see if your hospital has lactation consultants that will see you while you’re in the hospital. Ask your OB if you can have a nurse come visit you at home a few days after you get home - mine was also a lactation consultant. You can also go see a lactation consultant, although they are pretty pricey. I was lucky enough to have a free breastfeeding clinic in my town, but I think they are pretty uncommon. There’s La Leche League as well, although I have never been to a meeting. In short, line up as much help as you can, because nursing can be tricky at first and most mothers I know needed some additional help with it. But almost all were able to successfully breastfeed. Good Luck!

So this is something you can learn, then? If I reproduce it’ll be within the next few years, and the whole sleep thing is kind of daunting to dwell on. I’m not a good sleeper myself, taking up to 45 minutes to fall asleep and rarely sleeping more than 3-4 hours in a row, and I’m afraid that my future sprog will be like that too…but choosing different times from me to wake up!

Neeps- you’re UK based, right?

So, presuming you give birth in an NHS hospital or at home with NHS midwives, you’re going to have a fair amount of support with breastfeeding.

The midwives at my hospital encouraged me to breastfeed within 30mins of delivery, checked my latch, showed me how to hand-express milk, how to feed irishbaby with a syringe and cup, how to use the electric breast pump and various different breast-feeding positions (it was them who showed me how to feed her while lying down).

Don’t forget you’ll also have midwives calling with you at home for the first few days- they’ll check your latch again and are there for advice and support. Then after 21 days you’ll have your health visitor calling out and the local babyclinic. You’ll also probably get the details for local breast-feeding support groups.

You’ll probably get a fair amount of free government literature. I have a large purple “breast is best” guide to brest feeding and a “Birth to Five” book. The latter, which has everything from how to change a nappy to how to discipline a 5 year old, contains handy hints like “if you or your partner use illicit drugs, make sure to keep them in a child-proof container out of your child’s reach”!!

I hate to be a downer, but since having kids I’ve gone from “takes a long time to get to sleep, theen fine” to “serious insomniac”. The Super Mum Sense Dangerosa refers to has really buggered me - the least little cough or squeak wakes me up, then I can’t get back to sleep because I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop and also I know it’s quite possible someone’s going to be wanting to start the day at 6 in the morning (in fact, they’re generally pretty good and I don’t get poked till 7 or even 8…but it’s the possibility)

Also, I’ve discovered my personal biorhythm “best sleep times” and it turns out that they’re about 5 till 8 in the morning, and 2 to 6-ish in the afternoon.


I have no idea which pattern is typical though. Maybe you get lucky…

I’ll second this as the most sensible and pragmatic approach.

As you’ll already have seen, you have got about 30 replies and 30 different snippets to consider already, let me chuck in another couple just to confuse you further.

We had huge success with keeping their rooms dark, letting them settle themselves to sleep, but not tiptoing around them. Don’t bash cymbals obviously but I think there is such a thing as* too* quiet.

One thought to leave you with . On her first night home, 2 days old, my little girl snuggled up in “sleeping bunny” mode on my chest and went to sleep. Possible the cutest thing I’ve ever seen and enough to move me to tears now.
I promise you’ll have enough moments like that to get you through anything.

Have fun!

Our most successful strategy was:

when the baby woke, I (voluntarily or involuntarily) was prompted to get said baby, change if needed, and deliver to the feeding station. My wife would feed said infant, while I dozed off (so did she, sometimes), until baby needed burping and (usually) changing again. I woke my wife to give the kid a quick topup, then baby was winded, put back to bed, and I could get back to sleep. My wife was well asleep by then. Once or twice, I fed using a bottle.

I need less sleep than my wife, so it worked well for both of us.


Perhaps “learn” is not the right word. And everyone is different. YMMV. Past performance is not a guarantee of future gains…

But yeah. I remember watching the beginning of movies with my kids, and waking up for the end. I’d be out during the credits. Before kids, I never slept if the TV was on (and I don’t now that they are older).

And I agree with AC, try things. Look for others for advice, do your own research, and as long as it isn’t dangerous, give it a try. My daughter spent six weeks sleeping in her carseat (it was one of those baby buckets) because she had a cold and it was easier for her (at about six weeks) to sleep propped sitting up. Some babies like swaddling, some parents hate cosleeping, some babies want white noise, some parents really don’t mind rocking baby to sleep every night (and have easy transitions when they want to stop - cause that’s really the thing with rocking - at some point, you have to stop, and babies usually aren’t too fond of that particular change). Neither of my kids were pacifier kids, but I suspect that’s because I wasn’t a pacifier mom - they’d spit them out, and I stopped putting them in.

The one piece of advice I have is don’t start anything that you don’t want to do long term without some plan in place for stopping (not that you can follow the plan, but at least think about it)…like rocking to sleep. Or the pacifier. (ETA: Or even breastfeeding - its a good thing, but have some idea about how long - and if that how long is old enough for a toddler to need to be cut off, some research on how to accomplish that without a lot of stress for you or the toddler - you may not need it, but saying ‘I wish I had thought about how I was going to stop’ after the fact doesn’t help).

Yup, I’m up in Scotland. I’m still a little fuzzy on all the services available, but I do know that there are breastfeeding classes I can go to before the birth, and as you say, help available after the birth. I guess I’m just nervous after all the stories I’ve heard about how difficult things can be for the first few days/weeks, and I seem to know more people that have given up breastfeeding than have managed it successfully (my own mother included).

I like the idea that other people have suggested of having quite a few resources to get ideas from, but being flexible enough to go with the flow at the time.

Thanks for your offer of help, as well. I may pm when the time comes and I forget everything apart from that offer :wink:

Best advice of the thread so far?!

Here is the contact info for La Leche League in Scotland. I highly recommend going to a meeting or two before giving birth. They LOVE to have expectant moms, and it does give you a grounding in the types of challenges that are most common, and a support network that has answers for those challenges. Also, having a midwife or LC assess and help is one thing, having a group of other mothers who are in or have been in the situation you’re facing is quite different and can be more helpful in some ways!

I liked the pregnancy advice I saw in one book, which advised me to give up heroin during my pregnancy. Right, then. And keep it in the child-proof container if I can’t give it up?
Neeps, I nursed my son until he was twenty months, and I think **Unauthorized Cinnamon nurses her kids until about four. It can be done. Just make sure you get support during the rocky initial phase.

Also, about sleep- you’ll survive. You may feel kind of crummy for a while, but parents have managed for thousands of years. The idea of being without sleep is scary, but you really will cope.

I sort of feel like I’ve taken over the thread, but I just wanted to say thank to everyone for the advice they’ve given.

Bolding added - this seems to be the bit that most people miss out when they recount their experiences :slight_smile:

If they’re alive to recount those experiences, everything is fine. Even if they haven’t eaten anything but takeout in a few months.

I found it helpful to imagine a woman going cross country in a covered wagon with an infant. It helped me to remember that you don’t NEED three dozen onsies, a mobile that matches the crib sheets, and a wipe warmer to raise a kid…and in this context, people have successfully raised children for a very long time, and for most of that time under much more difficult circumstances than I have.

The best baby sleep plan for someone who works at home is to balance the sleeping infant over one shoulder and then going about your work normally.

One of my favorite parts of working from home. Although once they hit a year old, this gets less feasible.