I have had 5 boys and every single one of them (except 1, which I will explain why later in the post) started sleeping through the night by 5-6 weeks old. One boy was sleeping through the night at 3 weeks. We had our first boy when I was in the middle of nursing school. I had no idea how to juggle it all from, nursing, pumping, drop offs, pick ups, feedings, naps. I had heard horror stories how babies wouldn’t drink out of a bottle. I was terrified of leaving my baby and making it hard on someone else. I had 3 weeks during Christmas break to figure it out before I had to go back to school.
I had already learned a lot from my sister who was great at getting her kids to sleep through the night, and I also learned a lot from a book I call my “baby bible”, (click here to get it). This book is fabulous and I highly recommend it! The thing that worked best in my mind was to start him on a predictable schedule fast, so that those watching him would know when to feed, and when to put him down for naps. I wanted it as easy as possible for my husband and grandparents, who were watching our little guy.
Now I know many moms feed on demand and let your little one sleep whenever they want. There is nothing wrong with this. I don’t believe there is a wrong or a right way. The trick is finding what works best for your family! This is what worked for me and was very successful at it. My boys slept through the night consistently when they were 5-6 weeks old. I got the sleep I needed. During the day their naps were predictable and feedings were like clockwork. Each one of my boys had close to the exact same schedule! I have had the opportunity to help other moms through this process, and am happy to share all I know to help your life a little easier.
This post will be the first of a series of posts which will all lead up to your baby sleeping through the night! It is a process! It takes one step at a time. This post will have 3 steps to start with. (NOTE: I use him/his/he through this post on purpose. I am a mother of 5 boys, and to save me time trying to figure out if I should use she or he, I simply use he. I love your baby girls too!)
If I had 2 WORDS to describe this journey they would be – SCHEDULE and CONSISTENCY!!
From kids to adults we all thrive around a schedule! We feel safe when we know what is coming and what to expect. We also know that being consistent in life leads to great outcomes! It may be hard, but will be worth it!
I mentioned one of my boys who did not sleep through the night by 5-6 weeks. He was my second child and he didn’t start sleeping through the night until he was 5 months old. I was out of nursing school and I was not pushed to have him on a schedule. I fed him on demand, I let him sleep whenever. It was very discouraging, exhausting time for me. I just thought he was a difficult baby, until I realized……..I DIDN’T HAVE HIM ON A SCHEDULE! I quickly changed what I was doing and put him on a schedule. He was soon sleeping through the night.
Step #1 The first week you bring your baby home, love on that baby and hold him as much as you want!
Cherish this time! They don’t stay that small forever. Enjoy it! At some point, real life catches up and you realize you can’t just hold your baby all day long. Especially if you have other children. After the first week or two then go to the next step. The trick is to start early. You can start slow, but start early.
Step #2- Start observing and write down a schedule.
Observe when your baby sleeps, eats, lays awake and then write it down. You might be surprised that some babies create their own schedule. Do this over a couple days and look for any kind of commonality.
Step #3 – Start training your baby to eat every 2.5-3 hours.
Feedings are one of the struggles I hear from new mothers. They don’t ever know when their baby will wake up and be hungry. They feel they can’t go anywhere or leave, just in case baby wakes up! Others feel like they are a human pacifier ALL DAY LONG. This can be a little intimidating, especially if its your first. However, if you can get them on a schedule, you will know when they are hungry! You will get to a point when you are comfortable leaving your baby with a full belly and know they will be fine for couple hours.
This is also the time when I introduce the binky. (This one is my favorite) I am a big advocate for the binky. In the book I mentioned above, it talks about the need for babies to suck. She calls it sucking energy, and this is what babies do. Many moms misinterpret this sucking need vs being hungry.
Let me give you a scenario to help you understand the difference between the two. Have you ever had a baby act like he is hungry and quickly drift off to sleep after only a couple minutes of nursing? This baby probably was not hungry, but just needed to get rid of some sucking energy. This is where the binky comes it. It may take a bit for your baby to become accustomed to the binky, you may need to hold it in for awhile. If your baby starts to get fussy before the 2.5-3 hours is up, give him the binky to hold him off. Work hard on keeping the feedings 2.5-3 hours apart.
BE STRONG AND NURSE ON!! HA HA Ok I’m done!
The next step is to Conquer your babies daytime schedule