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One of the biggest problems that plague new parents and parents of little ones is the issue of sleep. When babies don’t sleep, they’re cranky, when mamas don’t sleep, they’re cranky, too. Let’s be honest, it is really hard to function on inadequate sleep. For me personally, it was really challenging with each of my children dealing with the sleepless nights, interrupted sleep, etc… I’ve got a few strategies up my sleeve that lead to sleeping babies, aka happy babies, and therefore a happy mama.
The sleep battle starts from day one home from the hospital. Of course, I will go ahead and say that newborn schedules are unpredictable. They wake, eat, sleep again and again throughout the day and night. There will be sleepless nights, many of them. However, the key during those first weeks is to survive. You’ll be in survival mode and that’s okay, we’ve all done it. However, you can start gearing up to help baby get better sleep.
The first step is to get baby to realize when it is night time and when it is day time. We did this by keeping baby alert and active when awake during the daylight hours. Then, night wake ups were quiet, we spent time in a dark room and I didn’t talk to them or interact with them. We would rock or whatever we were doing to get to sleep at the time and then baby would go back to sleep.This way, he was already learning about night time and how it is a quiet, sleepy time.
Of course, baby is going to nap at first a lot- that’s what newborns do, they will nap anywhere and everywhere when they feel like it. However, as baby gets bigger it’s a good idea to let them nap where they sleep. We started baby off in a bassinet at first, but after a couple of months we transitioned him over to his crib. Getting him to nap in the same place he slept was so helpful. Whatever your sleeping situation, I think that consistency is the key. It helps clue baby in that it is time to snooze.
I do always want to mention, when talking about baby sleep, that we have avoided having anything in baby’s bassinet or crib, because safe sleep is something that is very important to us. He does just fine, we just make sure we have the AC set correctly and plenty of warm footie sleepers around so that he will be nice and toasty- no blankets or other extras needed.
We are a formula feeding family, we tried breastfeeding and it didn’t work out for us, so we count on Gerber® Good Start® formulas. Gerber has listened to the needs of their formula feeding parents and their preferences and now has Non-GMO formulas across their entire line. Gerber has many formulas available for the different feeding needs babies may have. We use Gerber® Good Start® Gentle Stage 2 Infant Formula. It is designed for tummies introduced to solid foods (6-12 months) and modeled after the changing protein levels in breastmilk.
Gerber sent us some samples, but we normally pick Gerber® Good Start® up at our local Target, which is where we recommend you get it too!
Finally, as babies get older you can start working them into more of a schedule. This doesn’t have to be a hassle or a big deal, baby will naturally start to lean towards this schedule. We began this about the time our most recent little one was good with sleeping and napping in the crib, and we followed the Eat, Activity, Sleep pattern.
Those are just some of the things we’ve done to get our 6 month old sleeping well throughout the night but I think the biggest key to all is to understand that this is just a stage of your life and that you will sleep again some day. You can try the methods that a hundred people tell you, but it’s all about knowing your baby, and doing what you think is best for your baby and your family. It will likely be a lot of trial and error, but you can make it happen!