Sisterly Advice

Lessons I’ve RE-Learned with My Second Child

My daughter is now four months old and she is my second. My older daughter is five years old, so it has been a while since I’ve been through this! Here are the things that I have found most important and helpful:

  • Up until 10 weeks, do whatever you can to get you and the baby as much sleep as you can. Don’t worry about “spoiling” him or creating bad habits at this age! Rest is the most important foundation. That goes for new moms too. Ask for help and take a nap whenever you can.

  • After 10 weeks, start putting the baby down for naps in her crib in a dark room with white noise. Dark rooms make all the difference – I’m a fan of contractor bags and painters tape; it’s not pretty but it’s cheap and easy!

  • Sleep begets sleep! We say it all the time, but it’s so true. When I could get my own daughter down for a nap before she got too tired (after 60-90 mins), she slept well for that period. If I waited too long, she became fussy and hard to soothe. Don’t worry if your little one can only stay awake for short periods of time; this is normal. Following the baby’s cues is really the best way to establish healthy sleep.

  • By 15 weeks or so, I was already starting to think about my baby’s schedule. This is a good time to start a sleep log so that you can begin to notice any patterns that might be emerging. Don’t be afraid of earlier bedtimes – it doesn’t mean she will wake up more at night!

  • “Dream feeds” don’t always work. Many moms wake their babies to feed them before mom’s bedtime. For many people this works. For me, it was a disaster! First, I felt it was cruel to wake my sleeping baby to shove food in her mouth – I wouldn’t want someone to do that to me. Second (and more importantly), I noticed that my daughter’s sleep was often worse when I woke her earlier in the night – presumably because I had interrupted her sleep cycle. I decided that I’d rather wake up sooner after I fell asleep and get a longer chunk of sleep instead of waking more frequently (although later in the night).

  • Swaddle as long as possible. I’ve stood over my daughter’s crib and watched her on the few times I tried to have her sleep without a swaddle. She tossed and turned and was not able to settle. Until she’s able to roll over, I plan to have her swaddled. She rarely is able to get out of the Miracle Blanket. When she outgrows that, I will use the Merlin Magic Sleep Suit.

  • After 10 weeks, putting my baby down drowsy but awake for a few naps a day really helped her learn good habits. I knew that I didn’t want to end up having to rock her to sleep when she was 4 months. Now that she’s older and on a schedule, I swaddle her, pick her up to give her a kiss and put her down, eyelids heavy and she falls asleep!

  • Cut yourself some slack. When my daughter doesn’t nap as well as I’d like or if she has a “bad” night, I try not to get to upset about it. I know that the next nap time or night is another opportunity for us to have greater success. I try to move on and focus on the next task ahead of us. There’s always tomorrow!

  • Our great-grandmother, Ida, always said that, no matter the weather, a baby needs to be “aired out” every day! I always think of her when we’ve been inside all day. I feel better and my baby sleeps better when she’s gotten fresh air. Here on the East coast, it’s not always easy in the winter, but even if it’s just a few minutes of standing on the porch to look at the trees, I think it makes a difference!

  • Don’t believe everything you read or hear. I’ve joined many moms’ groups and forums online. I’m often surprised at how many people say they are doing something because they read it online or because a friend told them. It’s really important to make sure you’re getting good advice based on solid research or experience. There’s a lot of bad information out there! And don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing it “wrong!” Everyone is different and there’s more than one way to reach the same result!

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Let us know if we can help your family get your little one into a great sleeping routine.


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