I have had many of my sweet friends ask how I started out implementing sleep techniques with my babies from the beginning.
With Kye, I did not learn about Babywise until he was three weeks old. But with Brittlynn, I started from birth by using some of these tips:
I’ve learned a LOT after going through Babywise with FOUR babies…if you’re just getting started be sure to sign up for my exclusive email series for your Quick Start to Babywise:
Focus on Full Feedings:
Nothing else during the first two weeks matters. Just do your best to keep your baby AWAKE while eating to make sure they get a FULL feeding.
You don’t want them to be snacking all the time…so tickle their feet, wet their little heads, do what you have to in order to keep them awake while they eat!
Baby struggling to stay awake? Here’s my tips for keeping a sleepy newborn awake for feedings
Feed On Demand:
Whenever Brittlynn woke up, I fed her.
Since I did focus so much of my effort on full feedings for her she fell into a natural 3 hour eating routine pretty early on.
The better you do with the full feedings, the less often they will wake up hungry!
Wake the Sleeping Baby:
Sleep is important, yes, but in the early days keeping your supply up and getting in those full feedings is TOP priority.
Make sure you are feeding your baby 8-10 times a day in a 24 hour period.
In the first few weeks they shouldn’t go longer than 3 hours between feedings (except after the late-evening feeding where you cross your fingers and hope they give you a little more rest!).
A sleepy newborn is a common thing but even at the hospital, I tried to have this cycle in place.
After she ate I would try to keep her awake before putting her to sleep. Even if just for a few minutes!
Literally, sometimes it was a quick second of her eyes being open before she went to sleep…but it counted 😉
Again, keeping the baby awake during feedings helps with this cycle. The only time you don’t want any awake time between eating and sleeping is during the middle of the night feedings!
Put the Baby DOWN to Sleep:
I never held Britt to sleep. Even in the hospital I always put her down in her little crib when she was sleeping.
At home, we always put her in her crib or pack and play or bassinet to sleep…never in our arms!
If she woke during nap I would move her to the swing to finish the nap but resisted ever rocking her/holding her to get her back to sleep.
It did happen sometimes but was always a last resort. That’s a beautiful thing about nursing…you get LOTS of cuddle time!
Avoid Sleep Props:
With nursing, you really want to avoid introducing a pacifier anyway, but I think it’s especially helpful for sleep training to not give the baby any type of prop.
My son was a pacifier baby and was also a terrible napper up until we weaned him from the pacifier at age two.
Brittlynn never took the pacifier and has been able to self-soothe so much better than Kye ever did!
Attack the Gas:
Gassy babies struggle to sleep because they are in pain. Britt was a gassy baby and it did cause her sleep issues.
During her (brief) awake times I would make my #1 goal helping her get rid of gas.
There are all kinds of burping techniques and other tricks to relieve a gassy baby (I loved to pump her little legs! Always did the trick!) and you can also give gas drops when needed to help.
A gas free baby is a happy baby 😉
Need help with a gassy baby? Here’s my post with my tips!
Respect the “Schedule”:
For the first couple of weeks, there is NO set schedule.
However, when she slept I didn’t wake her for visitors and such.
People want to see the baby but I told them she was sleeping and let them know when I thought she’d be awake again if they wanted to stay.
And even when she was awake she pretty much ate the entire time anyway so they could really only see the back of her head while I nursed her 😉
I would always let visitors hold and love on her as soon as she got done with the feeding, during those few rare awake moments!
Keep Sleep Conditions Consistent:
We swaddled Brittlynn at the hospital and continued to do so as soon as we got home. We swaddled her every time she slept.
We also made sure that wherever she was sleeping (in her room during naps, ours at night for the first couple of weeks) that it was kept very dark and that we had white noise of some kind.
It’s important during awake times (feedings too!) to have the conditions be noticeably different than they are during sleep times (have it bright, no swaddling, etc).
It is hard to do but you have to take care of yourself. Giving birth is no joke and you need your rest to be able to fully recover and give your best self to your baby.
Whenever I wasn’t nursing Brittlynn I would try to soak in a bath or SLEEP. People will WANT to help you…let them. You need it!
By taking care of myself I was better able to take care of her and give her what she needed to allow her to thrive 🙂
I truly believe that starting to implement the Babywise techniques from birth helped Brittlynn to develop into the wonderful sleeper she is today.
It is such a blessing to have a baby who loves her sleep. We are able to spend more quality time with our son and as a family together because she is always well-rested!
Ready to get started with Babywise? Ready for your little one to sleep, so you can sleep too? Be sure to sign up for my e-mail series below:
You can read additional pointers on starting Babywise here!
Our family the night we came home from the hospital with Brittlynn!
I was wondering if you feed on demand in the first few weeks or not with Babywise, good to know! I tend to do all those things already, except putting the baby down to sleep for all naps. My kids LOVE to play outside, so I'm worried about afternoons come May. I was planning to wear the baby while he/she slept. Maybe I could do a blanket in the shade though and just wear the baby if we were taking a walk….
This is GREAT! SO helpful!!! I'll print & stick it in my BabyWise to refer back to.
How in the world do you manage to NOT hold the baby while they're sleeping. That's the one part I'd have a problem with. I'm not gonna be able to keep my hands off the sweet little thing. Do ALL babywise moms do that? Is there a modified version of babywise or something? Lol
How do you put the baby down awake? I’m very observant of the short sleep windows my newborn has, I feed him as fully as I can, burp, etc., but there would still be crying if I were to just lay him down and expect him to put himself to sleep. Do you allow your newborns to cry? No bashing, I’m genuinely curious. I’m so afraid I’m going to emotionally/psychologically damage my little. 🙁 So many speak against letting them cry without response when they’re this little. 🙁
It’s super important to put baby down to sleep at the FIRST sign of sleepiness. Ideally, you want the baby already swaddled and ready for bed before they even yawn! Hold upright for a min or two before laying down also helps the baby relax and be ready for sleep. Hope this helps!
My question is regarding the first 2 weeks (and also beyond). I’m wondering if your baby ALWAYS naps after feedings as you indicate in the Schedule? I’m anticipating doing the Babywise method and am starting to “nudge” my newborn into the Babywise patterns as you’ve suggested. I’ve tried putting my newborn (10 days old) down for naps after feeding (paying attention to the few minutes awake, then lay him down in a swaddle, etc), but it’s like he’s wide awake with no interest in napping sometimes. I eventually go in and get him after 30-40” of him alternately crying/fussing, then being quiet, but never actually going to sleep. Do some infants not NEED these post-feeding naps? I’m trying to watch for sleep cues as well and it seemed like he was sleepy (yawn, blinking his eyes), but after several incidences of this, I’m starting to wonder if he’s just plain not sleepy after every feeding? Help!:)
Congrats on your new baby! This is very common and is usually a sign that your baby is actually over-tired. Newborns can become over-stimulated VERY easily and being overstimulated can cause them to not be able to fall asleep. The best advice is to focus on that full feeding and then limit awake time. If you are currently using a clock to decide when to put him down for nap, bump it up earlier so his awake time is shorter. One of my babies literally nursed and then went straight down for nap, her “awake time” was literally only the feeding. Hope this helps!
Do you always put baby back in crib for nap time?
Yes! It’s really important to “start as you mean to go on” and by putting baby in the crib for naptime it really helps establish that the crib is the place for sleep and helps baby learn from early on how to settle to sleep on their own. I aim for majority of naps to take place in the crib and for that to be the “norm” but sometimes a nap on the go or in someones arms isn’t going to ruin the whole thing either 🙂