I would have liked to have written this post a loooooong time ago. But when we were in the trenches with Harper not sleeping, I was so afraid that if I actually wrote that what we were doing was working, I’d jinx myself and she’d be back to waking up at all hours of the night. So I waited. And waited… Here I am, 13 months later and I’m super happy and super rested. Why? Because our 14-month old toddler sleeps 12+ hours and still takes 2 solid naps a day. She has followed a great sleep routine since she was five and a half weeks old. Yep, our little lady gave us 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep starting at the 5-½ week mark. At her two-month birthday it was 7-8 hours a night, at three months she slept 9-10 hours a night, and then from four months on we’ve had 11+ hours.
Now, I don’t say this to brag, I say this to suggest that it IS possible. Before I share what worked for us, and hopefully how it can help you, I want to say that I do realize that while this method worked for Harper (and us), every baby is completely different and it may not work for you. But when you’re completely sleep deprived and at your wits end, you’re willing to try anything. At least we were.
Let me set the stage… Harper was 4-½ weeks old and refused to sleep anywhere but on our chests (she’d scream bloody murder when we’d try to put her in her crib). I was balling my eyes out, completely tired, and wanting to give all of our life savings away if someone, anyone would watch her for the night so we could get a good night’s sleep. I very quickly realized that I couldn’t keep this routine going any longer. That’s when I called one of my best mommy friends (thank you Olivia!!!) and asked how in the world she got her son to sleep through the night. She told me, “Lindsey, you need to get the Moms On Call (MOC) app, it’s a sleep routine that will revolutionize your life. Also, get on their website and watch how they swaddle (their video is posted below). It’s like magic.”
That day, I bought the MOC iPhone app, their book and a swaddle blanket and I already felt a weight being lifted off my shoulders. I finally had a plan. I looked over the schedule and it was pretty simple. The order of things went like this: Feed, Play, Nap, Repeat. They offer schedules based on the age of your child (e.g., 0-2 weeks, 2-4 weeks, 4-8 weeks, etc.) and there are step-by-step directions on what to do. For example, we started on the 2-4 week schedule and it looked something like this: Between 6 & 7 am: Feed, 7:30 am: Nap, 9:00 am: Feed, 9:30: Play. This repeats until the end of the day and even has a midnight feeding built in. Under each Feed, Play, Nap you can tap the word (on your iPhone app) and a drop down will appear giving advice on the amount to feed, suggestions for fussy babies, etc.
The other golden ticket we learned about was the MOC method of putting babies to sleep. They have a tried-and-true method of swaddling (Harper didn’t like it at first but later on couldn’t sleep without it and to this day sleeps in a sleep sack), insist on using a sound machine (yes, I’ve read the recent articles on keeping the volume of these appropriate), and advocate letting your baby cry it out (but in short spurts). At first this all made me nervous but then I’d try to remember, “She’s fed, dry, not in pain, and all bundled up in her swaddle. She will be fine.” And she was. The first night was a struggle but the next day I closely followed the routine and guess what? She took to it! In fact, I’d say Harper thrives on routines, which is exactly what this is.
Even now, at 14 months old, our routine goes like this: 7 am: Wake, have sippy cup of milk; 7:30-8 ish: Breakfast then play; 9-9:30ish: Nap; 10:30: Sippy cup and snack, then play/errands; 12:00: Lunch; 1:30: Nap; 3:30: Sippy cup and snack then play; 5:15-5:30ish: Dinner then play; 6:30: Bath; 7:00: Bedtime. Harper has been going to bed at 7 pm since she was four months old.
Bottom line, this schedule was a lifesaver for us. I couldn’t (and neither could my husband) have survived the early months of motherhood without it. I know everyone says, “I need sleep” but for me, it is a medical necessity. Being an epileptic (have I ever mentioned that on here?), a lack of sleep is one of the triggers for seizures. So sleep is a must. If you’re looking for a sleep schedule then MOC is my recommendation. Our baby thrived on it and I hope yours does too!
Moms, do you have any other tips you would like to share?