the ultimate sleep guide for newborns

s l e e p.
hang on, let me grab another coffee…
ah, that’s better. ok. moving on.
any mama will tell you that those first few weeks with a new baby are exhausting, but after twins, i learned a thing or two about healthy sleep habits for preemies + newborns. what’s interesting is that all three of our babes have slept differently and in their own ways.  our experience from the very beginning has been drastically different…from 31 weekers who spent a full month in NICU to a full-term 39 weeker who came home with us from the hospital. that in and of itself is enough change…let alone the logistics of 2 babies vs. 1.
i breastfed the twins + had to supplement with 27 cal formula for one bottle and also pumped after every feeding.  while in NICU, the girls got on a 3 hour schedule of feedings and pretty much slept the entire rest of the day. when we did finally come home, we kept the girls on the same 3 hour schedule that we then eventually faded out. because of their weights, we weren’t able to let them go too long between feedings, so it wasn’t until 6 months that they were allowed to sleep through the night.  lila picked it up right away and easily transitioned, but piper took some work.

routine

babies {and kids} thrive on knowing what to expect and this is the first key to setting your infant {and you!} up for healthy sleep.  it takes some time to bond and get into the groove of things, but each day, i try to work towards getting into a good routine.  those first few weeks {or months for preemies}, babies are so sleepy they have such little wake time in between feeds. as they get older, you can start noticing babies having a little more wake time in between some feedings.  it’s at that time i start working on setting up a schedule. for us, that is a sleep, feed, wake {play} cycle..repeat. it sets baby up to be well-rested for feedings, ensuring they have enough energy to get a good full belly, have a little play time, and then are tuckered out to for a solid nap. at this point, mills only has about 30 minutes of wake time in between feedings during the day.  at night time, i do my best to not fully wake miller, but listen for early cues of his hunger, feed him, change his diaper {every other feeding}, nurse again and then put him down.  i don’t talk, play or turn lights on to stimulate.

about this time, we also get into a solid night time routine.  this can look differently for everyone, but this is what it looks like for us:

5 week old routine
7:00-8:00pm feeding
15-30 minutes of play
8:00-9:00pm swaddle bath {total game changer!} + baby massage
jammies + swaddle
nap in dockAtot
10:00-11:00 feeding
night night in dockAtot
mills will then sleep anywhere from 3-4.5 hours depending on how his feedings when during the day unless he cluster feeds which has only happened 3 days since he’s been born.

delivery robe c/o {on sale!!} | swaddle c/o

eat

in my experience, this is by far the most telling sign of the night ahead… if mills gets a super great feeding, a really good burp and then i switch sides to top him off followed by one more burp, i know i’m going to get closer to a 4 hour stretch before he’s waking up. my pediatrician is more concerned about how many wet/dirty diapers and number of feedings in a 24 hour feeding than he is about how many times he wakes in the night to eat.  homeboy gained almost an ounce per day at our last weight check so i know we’re doing just fine! if you are concerned about going more than 3 hours at night between feedings, talk with your ped to confirm. {we weren’t able to let the girls go more than 3 hours between feedings due to weight concerns}. i also make sure that we don’t go more than 3.5 hours during the day between feedings, but it’s more like every 2.5-3 hours.  it’s important to note that if miller has a 4-4.5 hour stretch during the day, he will be making up for that soon…and i prefer that to not be at night 😉

swaddle c/o

swaddle

ooooh how i have learned so much in this department. this has been a game changer with baby 3 and i finally have found products i love and all for different reasons.

swaddled babe

i am so excited to share this small shop for so many reasons… let’s start with the prints: teepees {pictured above}, milk jugs, xoxo, and the list goes on. give me all of them! quality of the material {genuine muslin}: 100% cotton, lightweight, breathable, soft, functional and easy to care for. versatile: ideal for all seasons, varying climates and can be used as a nursing cover {i’ve received so many compliments when i’ve used it as such!}, burp cloth, car seat cover, stroller blanket, tummy time / play mat, cuddle blanket and more!!
i am SO excited to team up with swaddled babe to offer fueling mamahood readers all swaddles for only $10 each for the month of july with the code Mamahood10 + free shipping for orders $30+! upcoming baby showers or a new babe on the way?! save one for yourself and gift two for only $30…don’t worry, i’ll be using my own code 😉

love to dream

when love to dream reached out to see if i wanted to try a swaddleUp with miller, i’ll be honest, i wasn’t too sure about it.  it kinda looked funny and i thought it would be just like any other swaddle we’ve tried. mills LOVES to have his hands above his head when he sleeps and likes to suck on his arm or hand when his pacifier falls out, but always scratches his little face or winds up waking himself up with that morrow reflex.  he isn’t a bad sleeper by any means, but is frequently jolted by toddler hands or toys being thrown around him, etc. and then is up until the next feeding. this swaddle is literally a game changer. the dual zipper makes for easy dressing and late night diaper changes {zach loves this feature!} and it’s on your babe in one quick zip.  you don’t have to worry about the swaddle not being tight enough or it coming undone.  it simply is one of those that you wish you smack yourself in the head for not having for those first babes.

the ollie world ‘smarter swaddle’

known as the ‘smarter swaddle’, this moisture-wicking swaddle is made to reduce the risk of over-heating, making it perfect for these hot summer months.  my favorite part of this swaddle is that you’re not fussing with any extra fabric and the velcro allows for a snug and custom fit every time. i always struggle to get a super tight swaddle keeping mills contained and feeling secure, but this swaddle is finished in just 4 easy steps.  this super-soft fabric is and appropriate stretch allows for optimal hip development and movement while also keeping him snug. it did take me a time or two to get the hang of, but once i did, he’s been sleeping soundly each time! the one-size fits all feature means i won’t be purchasing the ‘next size up’ when miller puts on those extra pounds…that doesn’t need to happen tooooo fast!

space

if you follow along on instagram you have seen so many pictures of mills in his dockAtot and for good reason… we LOVE it!! a few days ago when i talked about the dockAtot  {here}, many of you had questions and i got a lot of emails/messages asking if i truly thought it was worth the investment and every single time, my answer is ‘without a doubt!’  i have a few friends who are expecting their babes and it’s the one item i’m consistently raving about. like i said before, i don’t think it’s a miracle worker in getting your child to sleep, but we are pairing the dockAtot with sleep so he knows when he is in it, it’s time for sleep. i’m hoping for a fairly smooth crib transition when that happens! regardless of what you use, have a space that is consistently baby’s ‘sleep space’.  this will become part of the routine and gives baby  clear expectations…’when i am in this space, it’s time for sleep.’

as i’m wrapping up this post, i’m sipping on my coffee, watching my sweet little boy sleep quietly after a 6 hour stint of sleep last night, only nursing twice! i’d say we’re getting the hang of this sleep thing..can i get a hallelujah?!

so what are your tips a+ tricks for getting as much sleep during those first few months?!

a huge thank you to dockAtot, swaddled babe, and love to dream for providing product for me to review! all opinions expressed are 100% my own and as always, i appreciate your support!!
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11 thoughts on “the ultimate sleep guide for newborns

  1. Lindsey such good information for mommas of new borns! Such great products that are functional and adorable as well! I’m sure this will help lots of ladies! I’ll share it with my friends on Facebook because alot of them have daughters who have either just had babies or are pregnant!!

  2. Those first months of sleep are definitely a blur to me now. I love your tips. It’s funny because I followed the same advice with my little one, but he was still a horrible sleeper for the first year. I think each kid is different.
    I really love those swaddle blankets! They are so cute and your little guy looks so sweet wrapped up in them!

  3. I tried to get an eat, play, sleep routine going with my first. She got the routine well, but struggled at night. She didn’t sleep through the night until almost 10 months. Here’s to hoping we do better with baby #2!

  4. Love this! We’ve been doing an eat, wake, sleep routine. She did a bunch of 6 hour stints and then stopped…growth spurt maybe!? I just want it back! We also are all about the swaddling!!

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