Cora sleep tips. After having a great conversation with y’all on Instagram, it sounded like my parent audience needs some help in the sleep department. Let’s be honest, kids or no kids we all do lol. So to put a disclaimer on this post, I am no expert and I’m not telling you things that you need to do. These are the sleep tips that specifically helped and worked for Cora. All babies/kids are different so what worked for me may not work for you.
Also, please don’t come for me for some of the “unconventional” methods I’ve used or allowed. Do what works best for you and your family. Let me start at the beginning. Cora was a preemie and a breastfed baby. When we brought her home we did and tried to do all the right things like swaddling her and having her sleep in her bassinet on her back. From day one I noticed that she kept breaking out of her swaddles no matter how good or tight they were. After about a month of the swaddles not working we got the Love To Dream swaddle. I also had her in bed with us (don’t come for me).
The first month or two Cora was in bed with us were great. We were all getting sleep….until we weren’t. She wanted/needed her own space. At Cora’s 5 month checkup, the pediatrician suggested sleep training. We did the “Cry It Out (CIO) Method” and honestly it was awful at first. Hearing your baby cry knowing that you can comfort them brings on ALL the mom guilt. The first week was so hard and I wanted to give up. Eventually after 2 weeks she was sleeping in her crib.
Fast forward to her now being 10-months old and we had to relearn sleep training. With the holidays, her being sick, us being sick and sleep regressions, we got out of the good habits: her nighttime routine, putting her in her sleep sack, and sleeping in her crib. I was frustrated and thought it would take another 2 weeks for her to relearn but thankfully she figured it out after 2 days and we are back on track!
LOOK FOR SLEEP SIGNALS. Sleep signals like rubbing eyes, yawning, and in Cora’s case; shaking her head “no” are all signs that she is winding down and should get ready for bed. I act immediately when I start to see this because otherwise she gets overtired and it’s almost impossible to get her to sleep when that happens.
PUT BABY IN CRIB FOR NAPS. Your baby won’t sleep in their crib at night if they are unfamiliar with it. The best piece of advice my pediatrician gave was to try to put Cora in her crib for naps. That way it makes it easier for night time sleep and it really does. I probably should have but I don’t use the Cry It Out Method for naps. Since they are so much shorter I don’t feel the need to have her crying longer than she would actually nap. It’s been working for us.
HAVE A CONSISTENT NIGHTTIME ROUTINE. I thought this was nuts at first but trust, it really works. For Cora, her nighttime routine starts at 7p and I try and get her in bed by 7:30p. First we do a bath. Note: I don’t use soap on her every night as to night dry out her skin. Some nights just her being in the warm water helps to calm her down and get her ready for sleep. She is usually in the bath for 15-20 minutes playing lol.
Afterwards, I lotion her down, change her diaper, put on pajamas, put on her sleep sack, and then give her a bottle. I give her the bottle in her dark room with a little light from her Hatch Sound Machine nightlight. She gets so distracted if there is too much light. She drinks her bottle, I sing to her and she usually goes to sleep. I wait about 10 minutes for her to be knocked out and then I place her in her crib on her belly. Don’t at me, it’s literally the ONLY way she sleeps.
We have the Newton Crib Mattress so she can breathe if she is ever face down. Plus she is old enough that I feel confident and comfortable with her being able to “rescue” herself or roll over if needed. Once she is in the crib, I hope and pray that she stays sleep and quietly leave the room.
On nights that aren’t easy to get her to sleep, sometimes I have to put her in her crib wide awake and I just walk out of the room. She will cry and protest from 30 seconds to sometimes even 30 minutes. Last night she only cried for about 10 seconds before putting herself to sleep. It was the ideal situation. Note: it’s never easy hearing your baby cry. You are not a bad parent for this. The Cry It Out Method works best for your baby in teaching them how to self soothe or tire themselves out so they go to sleep. Any time you step in to stop them from crying actually delays the whole process of getting them to sleep. STAY STRONG (and consult your pediatrician for help/tips).
SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS. When we had to start sleep training again and getting her back in her crib, I figured any sleep that she does in her crib is a win. If she only slept in her crib for 15 minutes I was happy because that was better than not at all. Also, give yourself and your baby some time to adjust. This does not happen over night. 10 months later it’s so much better but we are still in it. Also, realize that no baby will sleep 12 straight hours uninterrupted. They stir at night just like adults but hopefully these sleep tips will help them know how to self soothe themselves back to sleep.
Sleeping Through The Night
This is a hot topic because many of us think there is something wrong with our child if they aren’t sleeping “all night”. As I mentioned above, no baby sleeps for 12 straight hours. Sleeping through the night is actually defined at sleeping 6-8 consistent hours (at least 6). If your baby is doing this, pat yourself on the back mom and dad. Cora may wake once, possibly twice a night. With sleep training, she has learned to fall back asleep rather than cry out for help.
I may have to write another post on sleep regressions but I will briefly talk about them. These are when your baby’s sleep pattern shifts and they wake up often through out the night. This happens when they are going through a growth spurt or developmental leap (brain is developing). Oh and teething makes them that much worse. They can happen anytime from 4 months on and happen almost every 2 months. Sometimes you might not notice them. They can be very frustrating for the household because it seems that they come as soon as you feel like you have it together. All I can say is have LOTS of patience. You aren’t doing anything wrong and neither is your baby.
I really hope this post helps all my parents and parents to be out there. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment.
Thanks for reading!