Before diving into sharing how my little newborn and I are surviving, it really wouldn’t be fair to leave out how our Eva made her grand appearance into our lives. Believe me, it’s a story that could make it to the big screen.
It was the Saturday before my due date and the hubby, Nicholas, and I decided to go to the local mall and spend some time together. After we arrived, Nicholas and papa sat on the carousel together, played in the play area, and of course finished off with some french fries ( I know, not the healthiest lunch but…eh). On the way out of the bathroom, I decided to stop by Old Navy, since they were having a Spring Sale of the absolute, most perfect, shift dresses that I could wear for the next few days, and well into Spring. I had picked out a denim dress, some floral ones, and even found the perfect solar system shirt for little Nicholas (he’s obsessed). Now it was time for papa to leave us for a visit to the bathroom. While Nico admired his perfect solar system shirt, all of a sudden, I felt a strong cramp and sure enough, standing in the middle of Old Navy, MY WATER BROKE!
There I was, dresses in hand, Nicholas on one side, in a pool of water. For some strange reason, I looked at Nicholas and made an announcement that my water had broken (right, as if he has any idea what that even means). For all he knows, mama was standing in Old Navy, completely having peed herself. All he kept saying was, “Mama, what happened? Water broke?” I called my husband, and poor thing hadn’t even made it to the bathroom, came back and off we went. I even waited to clean up my mess, but the hubby put all my dresses down, grabbed Nicholas and hurried us off. I walked through the entire mall, completely drenched (I even took a picture to remember this crazy moment, forever). There you have it. 14.5 hours later, little Eva made her appearance, stole our hearts, and every minute of our sleep.
I digress. Let’s get back to why you clicked on the post to begin with. You want to know all the secrets a Sleep Consultant has about how she is surviving the newborn fog. Let me share,with you, all of my secrets. Ready…drum roll please….a HUGE cup of coffee. When I refer to the newborn phase, I am really referring to the first month. During the first month, newborns need all the cuddles, all the love, and all the calories as they make their transition from the womb to this crazy, scary, outside world. I wish I can share a secret schedule or a method, but the truth is, it’s just straight.up.survival.
Now, if you’re still following and have gone past the first month of birth, keep reading because here is where I give away all the secrets. After about 3 weeks of being in that thick, sleep-deprived, fog (as I best like to describe it), you are now ready to implement some routines, schedules, and get your babe sleeping through the night, in no time.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, newborns need about 16-17 hours of sleep. Why then, are we so sleep-deprived? This is because newborns need to eat about every 2-4 hours, around the clock. Typically, breastfed babies are closer to 2 hours, formula fed babies can stay full longer since it takes longer for the body to digest formula. They can also sleep anywhere from 2-4 hours at a time. They can only handle about 45 minutes to about an hour of wake time, and really shouldn’t exceed anything more than that.
Here is an example of my day with Eva. We are also following an EAT-PLAY-EAT-SLEEP schedule.
8:00- Wake up, eat, I nurse on one side, then burp. (All of this takes about 25 minutes)
8:25- Change her diaper
8:30- Play. Usually on an activity mat. We also do tummy time almost every single time.
8:35- Eat, I nurse the other side to make sure she has had enough calories, then burp.
9:00- Swaddle her and she is placed in her bassinet, completely awake. This piece is very important to avoid developing any unwanted habits for later. Even though she is fed right before sleeping, the fact that she goes into the bassinet awake will prevent developing a feed to sleep association.
She sleeps anywhere from 1.5 hours to about 3 hours, then we start this same routine all over again. At about 6 p.m., instead of the 5-10 minutes of play time, we do a quick bath. We only soap her body and hair every other day to prevent her skin from drying. She is then fed, swaddled, and into bassinet by 7p.m., again completely awake.
The idea of placing a newborn into a bassinet awake and expecting her to sleep is a complete mystery to many moms. It certainly was for me as well, before I became a consultant. You read over and over again to place your baby into the crib, drowsy but awake. HA! Easier said, than done! We all know that the moment you place them down, the screaming begins.
This is the part where I share my juicy secrets. Keep reading!
Now what I am about to share, is not easy, but it’s worth it. It takes practice, consistency, and patience. You have done your routine. You have kept in mind that little babe is not to stay up past an hour. And, you have fed her so that she is nice and full. You have also swaddled her (even though moms swear that their little one hates a swaddle, you will swaddle her). You put her down in the crib and she starts immediately screaming. You will time 2 minutes, or until she is absolutely upset. If she is fussing, you can go ahead and let her “fuss it out” ( I will one day coin this term). You will pick her up, walk around the room and calm her down. You will then place her back in the crib. Chances are, she will start screaming again. You will wait another 2-3 minutes, pick her up again and calm her down. Once she is calm, you will place her back in the crib and wait for her to either sleep, fuss, or be completely upset again. You will repeat this process for an hour or until she falls asleep. If she hasn’t slept after an hour, help her fall asleep, and try again for the next nap. At this point you can try to leave her in the crib and “shush”, “jiggle” and
“pat” without rocking her. This will, at least, still encourage her to remain in her crib.
Within 2 days of doing this, Eva’s naps became significantly easier to manage and she stays asleep for longer stretches of time. Even if she wakes, I will give her a few minutes before picking her up. Chances are she can fall back asleep and almost 70% of the time, she does. If it has been more than 1.5 of napping, we will pick her up and keep in mind the time of not exceeding an hour of wake time.
I hope that this post has been helpful by providing you with some guidance, but more so, of taking off the pressure of “avoiding habits” from the moment they’re born. Enjoy the beginning few weeks. It’s true that these days don’t last forever (neither does the baby smell). Cuddle. Love. and Cuddle some more. Then, pour a cup of huge coffee and repeat.
If you’re past the newborn phase and looking to get some support on how to get babe sleeping, let’s chat. Schedule a free 15-minute evaluation and let’s talk about ways that I can get you and your little one sleeping.