What is the most common thing people tell new moms about their baby sleeping? Answer: Sleep when your baby sleeps. But is it really that easy to do?
As I mentioned in my first post, Baby S arrived about 8 weeks early, and we spent 3 weeks in the NICU after he was born. I spent my time with him during the days and nights, and even slept over with him. As a NICU resident, Baby S learned to sleep well in his incubator, and later in his bassinet.
When we finally got to bring him home, I was sure that we were so lucky that Baby S already knew how to sleep in a bassinet. That first night I layed him in the upper level of our Pack N Play, and to my surprise, heard the loudest scream ever from Baby S. What's going on? He's been so easy until now. Maybe he just has to adjust to a new environment? Am I swaddling him wrong? No one told me this was going to be different at home...
I learned that I could feed him, hold him upright for at least 30 minute because of his reflux, then lay him on the bed to swaddle him, let him sleep another 20 minutes, then lift him into the Pack n Play. That became my routine for the next 2 weeks, and it worked pretty well.
This is also the time I decided that my baby is telepathic- Lol. Seriously though, after I lay him down, and watch him sleep for several minutes, I would finally lay down myself. And just at that moment he would flinch or wake up or start to break out of his swaddle. (Ha! Right on cue. I just looked over at Baby S sleeping in his Rock n Play, thinking how wonderful it is to have a few minutes to blog and BAM- he wakes up crying.) Each time I got up to re-swaddle, watch him for several minutes, and just before my head hits the pillow, WHAH. It's like every time I compliment myself that I got him to sleep, he wakes up just to prove me wrong! I hope someone out there knows what I mean so I don't sound too crazy.
Speaking of crazy,, do you ever find yourself leaning over your sleeping baby to make sure he is breathing? I'm much better about it now, but I still do this after I set him down. He's never had a problem breathing, but I just love him so much I have to prove to myself it's okay for me to close my eyes a bit. It's definitely easier to see him breathing when he's swaddled in a pattern blanket compared to a solid colored blanket.
Now that Baby S is 4 1/2 months old, I have tweaked my nighttime routine. Now I'll feed him, have him fall asleep on me, hold him for about an hour because of his reflux and to make sure he's in a deep sleep, set him in his Rock n Play, and then wrap him into a swaddle. I sleep with my eye glasses on during my night shift to stay more alert in case he chokes or something. It's also easier for me to spot check him if he makes a sound, or I wake up to look at him. I'm also becoming familiar with his variety of little sounds so I'm not as alarmed as I used to be.
I'll talk about nap time another day because I'm getting sleepy talking about all of this!
What has been your experience putting your newborn to sleep at night? Do you have any tricks that made it easier for you to sleep while your baby sleeps?