Running your home life like a business involves more than just money. Time is your biggest commodity, and I recall how incredibly frustrating it was with my first daughter, when I sometimes walked her around for hours at night trying to get her to fall asleep. If only I’d known about the 90-minute rule.
We all know the caricature of the zoned-out mom with a newborn baby in one arm and a cup of coffee in her hand. Anyone who has been through it also knows that coffee can’t compete with the sheer lack of sleep we’ve all experienced. If you’re in the midst of it now, hang in there, mama! We all know it gets better.
When we welcomed our second daughter at the end of 2019, I had conveniently forgotten about all things sleep that we went through with my first. Thankfully, we had no less than 4 different types of swaddles to try with our newborn, a book that I found to be so enlightening I now gift it to all my expecting mom friends, and some tricks that have made bedtime and nighttime wake-ups as easy-breezy as they can be. Read on for my guide to efficiently using your time to get your baby to sleep.
Without further ado, here’s my list of baby-sleep must haves:
The book that changed my life
Polly Moore’s book, The Natural Baby Sleep Solution changed my life. Babies are awake in 90-minute cycles. When I first read this book, I didn’t believe it, but I’m here to tell you it’s true. Even on the worst of nights, “it’s only 90 minutes” became my mantra and it helped me keep my sanity. Just as the book says, most babies have a “tell” – my 3-month old gets inconsolably fussy at ~20 minutes before the 90-minute mark – and they are back asleep by the 90-minute mark. EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. Miss that window though, and it’s three hours.
Making the baby burrito
Fact: You’ve never truly swaddled a baby if you didn’t call them a burrito. When it comes to swaddling, in my world there is only The Miracle Blanket and no other. It is the only one that worked for my now three-year-old and for my three-month-old. It looks intimidating, but after a couple of practices, it’s easy to get the hang of it and your little Houdini won’t be able to wriggle out.
Light the night
Red light doesn’t disrupt sleep. It has something to do with wavelengths and science and I’m not here to explain it to you. What I am here for, is to tell you to get red nightlights for your little ones. We use nightlights from Emagine A because they can be set to automatically turn on in the dark. They give off enough light to see what you’re doing, without blasting baby with a bright light that can confuse them in the middle of the night. In fact, we have them all over our house so that we can see our way to the bathroom and to baby’s room in the dark.
What’s that noise
Blocking out ambient sounds is a major win for bedtime. We use a white noise machine and I also use the baby shusher for the getting-baby-to-sleep time. It has a 15 and 30-minute settings, and adjustable volume. With the shusher doing the work for you, you can focus on keeping yourself entertained.
Hear me out
Keeping your own sanity while putting baby to sleep will make the time go by much faster. Invest in a pair of wireless headphones or earbuds so you’re free to walk around the room while listening to your favorite music or a podcast.
So, there you have it. Anyone else have tried-and-true suggestions for getting your little one(s) to sleep?