Sleep tips for 2 months and up
This post contains affiliate links which means if you click and buy I may make a commission at no cost to you. See my policy for more information.
This post is based on personal experience and not to be taken as medical advice. Consult with your pediatrician when making decisions involving your child’s health and sleep.
Ah, sweet sleep deprivation.
We mommas (and dads) wear it like a uniform. Those puffy eyes and three-day-old t-shirts might as well be name tags reading, “Hi, I’m Sarah and I haven’t slept in 167 days, 5 hours, and 13 minutes” (not counting the sleepless last weeks of pregnancy—oof).
We knew it was going to be tough, really tough.
But countless men and women have suffered through these sleepless nights before us, so of course we could handle it too.
But then we brought our little guy home and we were breaking – cracking at the seams.
Not only were the nights long with tears (don’t get me wrong – they didn’t all belong to the baby), but his days were full of naps that could only be had if he was being held.
We had read the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth during pregnancy and we were on board.
Side note – I whole heartedly agree with my friend who told me not to read books about pregnancy itself (your body was made for this), but expend your reading energy on what comes after the baby arrives. Sleep deprivation does you no favors when you’re trying to read about how to get your baby to sleep.
The problem was, we needed to actually learn our baby before we could put everything we had read into action.
In the meantime, I was feeding him constantly and holding him all hours of the day and waking up constantly.
Once our little bubba got to be about 8 weeks old, our doctor gave us some pointers that extended his stretches of night-time sleep to as much as 9 hours at a time!
Here are the sleep tips that worked best for us:
First, we stopped feeding so often.
I still feed on demand throughout the day, but I do time out his final two feedings before bedtime.
Between his final two daytime meals the goal is to have him contentedly distracted from his desire to eat.
I aim for him to go 4 hours between those feedings, but if no amount of soothing or distracting works, I do feed him earlier.
The idea behind this is that the baby will have a much larger feeding (more meal-like than the snack-like feedings of earlier in the day) and would therefore sleep longer and more soundly because he wouldn’t keep waking up hungry.
I kid you not – he slept 8 hours straight the first night we put this into practice. I could have danced a jig (I very well may have).
Second, we established an early bedtime.
This was tough.
Little Man goes to bed every single night between 5:30 and 6 pm.
Trust me, I know that sounds crazy.
Especially for us parents who don’t get to see their kids all day.
Having such a limited time with him in the evenings after work has caused many tears (mine, mostly), but he is a much happier child for it.
And he doesn’t wake up any earlier.
This just reiterates to me that he truly does need that sleep.
Our little guy has been waking up for the day between 6:30 and 7am ever since I can remember – whether he was going to bed at 1am (yup, that was a rough stretch) or 5:30pm.
Finally, consistency is key.
I highly recommend keeping bedtime fairly regular and routine.
For us, that routine looks like changing our little guy out of the clothes he wore all day, bath time, giving him a massage (which he LOVES) with lotion to fight off that Maryland winter weather, putting him into his pjs, feeding him, then showering him with giggle-inducing kisses and snuggles.
When he finally goes down for the night he usually babbles to himself for a couple of minutes and then drifts off to sleep.
If he cries it usually only lasts a couple of minutes and then he calms down and drifts to sleep.
I used to rush to his room when he cried, but it only prolonged the process of him falling to sleep.
Now I set limits – I know the sound he makes if he’s working himself up rather than just crying for the sake of attention.
I do still occasionally go up to comfort his cries, but he is such a good sleeper now that I only need to do that on rare occasions.
(Rushing to their side at every cry is a critical way to establish trust, so despite it occasionally being less than helpful in getting your kiddo to sleep, prior to 2 months we found it necessary to rush to his aid to cement that trusting relationship)
Good luck, momma!
However well or poorly your kiddo is sleeping, I hope this helps. Either way, you deserve that morning coffee. Cheers!