Saturday, September 10, 2011

Routine Series: Sleeping at Night

One of the first parenting dilemmas you will face: getting days and nights in the right order! I realize I mostly just got lucky, but here some of the tricks and routines we used to get Gav on the right rotation:

  • Keeping him awake during the day. Sounds simple, but it's hard! At some level babies just have to sleep a ton, but we also kept the lights bright, didn't lower our noise levels during the day, spent a lot of time outside, and would mess with him a lot - tickling, talking, playing, etc.
  • Keeping the room dark at night. When he was little enough and waking up often enough that I had to change his diaper every time he got up, I would keep a night light on all night. That way I didn't have to change the lighting in the room when we got up. Once he could go all night in the same diaper, I didn't even use the night light. There was enough ambient light to pick him up, nurse, and put him back down.
  • Keeping it quiet. I also didn't talk to him at all in the middle of the night. In fact, I still don't (on the rare occasion that he wakes up at night).
  • Keeping it cool. Our doctor clued us in on this one - keep it warmer in the house during the day and cooler at night. That slows down baby's metabolism at night so they don't need to eat as often and can sleep longer between feedings. Jon was happy - he likes it cold at night. (Just make sure baby is dressed warmly enough.)
Coupled with a regular bedtime routine (post coming soon), Gavrel was sleeping almost completely through the night at five days old - waking up once to eat between about 10PM and 7AM. I realize that I mostly just got a good-natured baby, but these things definitely did help.

Gav will now sleep about 12 hours straight (and no, he's not eating ANY solid foods yet, so it can be done while nursing), but when he does wake up at night once in a while, I still do all these things to keep him calm and help him get back to sleep faster. Heck, I do them myself to help me get back to sleep faster.

What other ideas or tricks have you used/heard to get your baby on the right day/night rotation?

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