Baby Milestones: Full Night of Sleep

Isabel, my firstborn, arrived fat and healthy at 8 pounds and 9 ounces, sporting a full head of dark brown hair. Like any new mom, I suspected that my days of uninterrupted slumber and sleeping in were in the past.

And I was correct: Isabel’s sleeping habits were erratic at first, causing my husband and I to be up at all hours of the night. I eagerly anticipated the day when I’d get my baby sleeping through the night. Of course, that baby milestone takes a bit of time to happen, but it eventually does.

Here’s my baby’s sleeping story:

Slow but Sure
By the 3-month mark, Isabel and I had set the bedtime routine: bath, nursing, story, and crib. This regular schedule helped her calm down at the end of the day and signaled that it was time to get some rest. I sent my new baby off to sleep each evening until 2:00 a.m. when she howled for the next feeding.

Almost There
Gradually, Isabel started to wake up a little later, a baby development milestone that gave me some much needed extra rest, too. My goal was to get her to sleep from bedtime all the way until 5:00 a.m. Would she make it?

She Did It!
When Isabel finally slept seven hours straight, I was a bit surprised. I knew eventually I’d get my baby sleeping through the night, but unfortunately, my body was ready for her to wake up sooner. Breasts need to be emptied of milk on a regular schedule, so while she was snoozing away, I was awake anyway, and with rather sore, full breasts!

A Quick Feed
As soon as Isabel was awake, I breastfed my new baby, so I could get some relief. She took a big drink from both sides, and then promptly fell back to sleep. After another week, my breasts had adjusted, and Isabel thankfully kept up her new pattern of sleeping a full night.

Now that Isabel is a few years older, she’s developed to the point where she’s a great sleeper. While I sometimes miss the days when she was an infant, I certainly don’t miss the days when my baby’s sleeping schedule meant I was up throughout the night. Now we are all snoozing more soundly!

Photo by Kevin Keith on Unsplash

Baby Milestones: Night in Her Own Room

How long should a baby sleep in mommy and daddy’s room after coming home from the hospital? There really is no set answer, because it’s a personal preference based on  your baby’s development and what works for each family. For our family, my daughter slept in our room for three weeks until we decided it was time to put her beautiful new crib to use in her own baby room.

We knew we were ready for this big baby milestone; we were ready to stop tiptoeing around our new baby, and to stop being afraid of waking our daughter when we turn in. While we knew it was the right decision for us, I began to miss her and worry about her incessantly, even though  the baby room was just a few feet away).

To help ease the worry that came with this transition, we put together an away-from-baby survival kit. The kit included:

·         Video monitor with audio Many moms find an audio monitor adequate, but there is something reassuring about seeing your baby in the crib while she is peacefully asleep.

·         Sleep sack This helped to keep her warm and ensure her safety in the crib. Our little one never enjoyed being swaddled, as she preferred her arms to be free.

·         Comfortable glider Since I couldn’t just grab my baby next to me and bring her into bed for nighttime feedings, we invested in a glider where I could comfortably sit in her room while feeding her. It was enjoyable for me, and I was able to rock her back to sleep.

I remember the first time we achieved this baby milestone. We put her to bed in her crib, which made her look even tinier, and immediately turned on the monitor. There sat my husband and I, for what seemed like an eternity, staring at our little one laying in her crib. I knew we had done everything right to ensure her safety, but as a new mom, I couldn’t help but worry.

I found myself looking forward to hearing her “I’m hungry!” cries, knowing I could spend that time with her. I also found myself sneaking into the baby room, holding my ear up to her face in the dark, listening to her breathing.

Our first night was a success, and with each night in her room, I became less and less worried. My husband and I were able to get back some semblance of normalcy and reconnect on our positive feelings about being new parents.

Photo by Ádám Szabó on Unsplash

Smart Sleep Spaces for Your New Baby

In addition to a healthy diet, your baby’s sleep is crucial for healthy development. As a new mom, it’s likely that you’ve already decorated your little one’s nursery to stimulate her mind and give her a safe place to play. But the right surroundings can also add to her comfort and may even encourage better, sounder sleep. Try these baby sleep solutions with your baby’s bedroom.

Baby sleep solution #1: Check the temp. A room that’s too warm isn’t a comfy sleep space for anyone, including your new baby. Be sure the air conditioning isn’t too cold, though (open a window instead if the weather is moderate). If you have a thermostat, set the temperature to 65 to 70 Fahrenheit.

Baby sleep solution #2: Dress to impress. Overdoing the clothes at night can leave your baby sweaty and cranky. When picking out pajamas, remember that babies usually need just one more layer than adults. An undershirt along with a cotton sleep sack is enough for most climates.

Baby sleep solution #3: Focus on the floor. A soft rug or wall-to-wall carpeting will help to warm the room up and create a nice play space on the floor. Rugs or carpet can also help to muffle noise, helping to create a quiet sleep space.

Baby sleep solution #4: Block light. Consider hanging blinds or darkening shades to keep out the early morning light. Installing dimmers on the lights in your new baby’s room is another way to create a soothing atmosphere. Dim the lights when you’re getting your baby ready to sleep, lowering them more and more as bedtime approaches.

Baby sleep solution #5: Turn up the volume. Not all babies like to sleep in a silent space. You might think about adding in some white noise, either with a special machine, a nature CD, or the radio. Some babies sleep better with the washing machine on and the vacuum running, so don’t be afraid to go about your regular household routine when she’s napping or down for the night.

You don’t need expensive sheets or fancy details in your new baby’s room to create a cozy sleep haven. Simply focus on the basics, follow your baby’s cues, and she’ll be sure to have sweet dreams.

Photo by Peter Oslanec on Unsplash

What’s Up with Your New Baby’s Snoring?

Now that you have a new baby, it’s likely your husband isn’t the only one snoring away at night. As many moms learn, some newborns are also noisy night breathers, emitting sounds very much like snores. Rest assured, this racket is common and isn’t usually cause for concern. Here, some reasons behind the snores and remedies for helping your new baby have a quieter night’s sleep.

Baby Snore Reason #1: She’s still little. Your newborn’s airways are narrow and filled with lots of drool, so her breathing may sound bubbly, wheezy, and downright loud. This baby snoring will gradually lessen and should eventually disappear as she ages, since her airways will get bigger and she’ll learn how to better swallow her saliva.

Baby Snore Reason #2: The common cold. Mild sickness, like an upper respiratory infection, can disrupt your baby’s sleep and affect her breathing, making it sound like she’s snoring at night.

Baby Snore Remedy #1: Just before bedtime, take your baby into the bathroom and run hot water in the shower to create an at-home spa. Standing in the steam may help to clear your new baby’s breathing passages. You could also add moist air to her room by setting up a warm-mist humidifier.

Baby Snore Remedy #2: Dirt and other household particles can irritate tiny nasal passages, which in turn may exacerbate your baby’s snoring. Make a habit of vacuuming well a couple of times a week and washing items that tend to attract dust.

Keep track of your baby’s snores, even recording them so you can learn whether her sounds are changing in any way. If her snoring is loud and occurs on a regular basis, or if you find that your infant’s breathing seems labored, speak with her pediatrician, as it could be a sign of something more serious. Rest assured, though, a few little nighttime gurgles and grunts during the first months of your new baby’s life are usually nothing to worry about.

Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash

Decode Your New Baby’s Sleep Movements

It’s hard to resist peering into your new baby’s crib to spy on her as she sleeps. But don’t be surprised if, instead of a peacefully slumbering infant, you see your baby twitch and flail her limbs. Try not to worry -- the jerky sleep movements are part of your baby’s regular development. Read on to take a peek into what’s going on in your baby’s sleep.

Dreamweaver
It may be tempting to assume your new baby is having a fascinating dream when you witness her sleep movements. But while babies do spend more time than adults in REM sleep, or the dream state, it’s unlikely that they are experiencing vivid dreams, as infants haven’t had many experiences and their brains are too immature.

Stretching out
Don’t forget that your new baby was accustomed to spending her time curled into a little ball in the womb. Now that’s she’s in the big, wide world, she’s learning to move her limbs and may flap and flounder about -- something that is completely normal.

New nerves
Your newborn’s central nervous system is still developing, leaving her rather out of control when it comes to her body’s movements. Once she’s older, your baby will have better command of her limbs and will be able to move them on purpose, rather than randomly twitching them.

Light sleeper
At this age, babies are very light sleepers and won’t enter many periods of deep slumber. In addition to her sleep movements and various twitches, you may notice that she grimaces, sucks, and smacks her lips, flutters her eyelids, smiles briefly, startles, and wakes up rather easily.

Time to roll
Always remember to put your new baby to sleep in her crib on her back (doing so can greatly decrease her risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS). But between four and seven months, your baby may manage to roll onto her belly in the crib, which isn’t something to be concerned about. Once babies can roll over consistently, they’ll pick the sleep position they want on their own.

Your baby’s sleep movements may seem rather strange, but they’re simply her way of learning how to control and use her body. However, if you think your baby is twitching too much or it’s making her uncomfortable and unable to relax, give your pediatrician a call. A better night’s sleep for your baby equals a better night’s sleep for everyone in your household!

Photo by Manuel Schinner on Unsplash