How We Created a Good Sleeper

I think one of the first questions you get asked as a mom of a younger baby is "how is he/she sleeping?" I get asked this ALLLLLL the time.
Let's be real, sleep is SO important...and when you're sleep deprived you will do, buy, or try just about anything to get your baby to sleep better and longer.

Do I have the magic answer? No. But I do have some things that worked for us, and I figured if I can help one sleep deprived mama out there, then I'll do it!
What Worked for Us:

~The TakingCaraBabies newborn sleep class 
I took this when Ella was 5 weeks old. I'd seen an ad or something for it on Instagram (check out her instagram--she has awesome tips etc) and followed along. And in those first few weeks of being tired, I finally decided I needed to try it.
*I had been reading Baby Wise to try and get Ella on a schedule during the days because this was when MG went back to work and I felt like I was just flying by the seat of my pants every day. I think the tips in BabyWise are awesome, but I didn't feel like it showed me HOW to do some of the things like getting a baby to follow Eat, Awake Time, then Sleep. Ella was doing Awake Time, Eat then Sleep which is a big no-no when getting babies to learn to sleep well (I learned). 
The TakingCaraBabies class really helped me SEE, and understand some of the concepts in BabyWise, along with a bunch of other things I'd looked up on the internet (because the internet is your friend when you have a new baby). It's a great combination of a lot of the things out there.
By 5 weeks, she was sleeping 5 hours between feedings at night, 6 weeks was 6 8 weeks she was sleeping for 7-8 hour stretches between feedings and we felt like new people again (although I'm still perpetually tired and I think this will just be how I feel until she's 40).

~Noise Machine
We've used both the Dohm ($$) and the Homedics Sound Machine. I personally like the Homedics one better (it's cheaper, more portable, and has volume adjustments). Ella currently uses the Dohm in her room now because it was expensive and I want to get use out of it. But we used the Homedics one when she was sleeping in our room.

~Swaddling Ella at night. Not a blanket swaddle because 1) they aren't safe, and 2) I could never do them correctly even if they were safe...making them WAY more unsafe haha.
We got this swaddle at the recommendation of my friend whose baby was a month older than Ella. It was one of those 2am Amazon purchases that I paid overnight shipping for so we'd have it the next day lol. I'm not joking.
We LOVED this swaddle because it kept her arms in--most of the time--and made her feel all snug. And we still use it for nap time since she's not rolling over yet (We get this for all of our new friends having babies now)

~I practiced putting Ella down in her crib during the day for naps. She slept in the Rock and Play at night until about 13 weeks old. We attempted putting her in her crib for her 7pm-10pm sleep several times but she just wasn't ready for it (we are talking screaming/crying/writhing). So for many nights of many weeks, Ella slept in our arms from 7ish until 10 when we'd dream feed her and put her in the rock and play. I think the crib practice during the day helped her eventually get ready to fall asleep in her crib at night.
~Dream Feeds. Another recommendation from TakingCaraBabies that we continue to use with Ella even now. Maybe she doesn't need them anymore...maybe she does. Mama's not really willing to risk finding out at this point. #ifitaintbrokedontfixit
We feed her before she goes to bed, and then we feed her again before WE go to bed. This gives her a little extra to "top off the tank". Luckily, she never has a problem going back to bed afterwards. I know some babies wake up with a diaper change and feeding, but Ella always did well with it.

Ella has used a pacifier to fall asleep since....I think maybe 6 weeks. Maybe before that. Honestly, the first 6 weeks are still kind of a haze lol. This was another TakingCaraBabies rec that worked for us.

Once Ella was falling asleep in her crib around 13 weeks, we kept her in her own room. It was better for her sleep (and safer, because technically you're not supposed to let them sleep in the Rock n Play, but dammit that thing was a life saver), and it was better for our sleep.
Everything was fine and dandy until Ella started rolling over from her tummy to her back. So I started freaking out that she was swaddled and I'd need to start transitioning her out of the swaddle. I asked my new moms facebook group about some items to help (Magic Merlin Sleep Suit, Zippadee Zips, etc etc etc) and basically got mom shamed by several of them for even thinking about "another sleep aid" because "she could be rolling over at any second and it's not safe and how could I?" 

Umm...Ella is now 21 weeks and hasn't rolled from her back to her tummy yet--she's showing signs, but not yet. I didn't appreciate the mom shaming, but they shamed me enough that I looked up online how to transition out of the swaddle. We'd tried it one other night and Ella just pulled her pacifier out and couldn't get to sleep.

There were lots of options including just doing it cold turkey (nope, already saw how that worked out), but the one I tried was to swaddle with one arm out. We did that for over a week and then Ella got sick and basically poop hit the fan and we reverted to a Rock n Play and fully swaddling because that's what she needed to get good rest.

When she was feeling better, we went back to swaddling with one arm out for a few weeks, then we switched and swaddled the other arm out (I figured if she got used to the feeling in both arms, separately, it would help when both were out). One night she stopped needing the pacifier--she kept pulling it out with her one free hand and I was tired of fighting her on it so I left the room, and she went to sleep minutes later without it. The next day I didn't even offer it to her, and left and she went to sleep. Now, we don't use it for anything but naps.

Right before I decided to do both arms out, I ordered The Nested Bean sleep sack (I used a discount code that TakingCaraBabies provided), with free shipping, and a free return policy for any reason. I had nothing to lose! It's a great quality sleep sack and it has a very light bean bag egg that is supposed to mimic the feel of your hand on their chest.
Ella was dealing with her second cold, and waking up at 2 and 5 am, sometimes 3 or 4 am...not a fan. I was nursing her back to sleep and it set my boobs off schedule again. No bueno. So I ordered the sack and tried it last Thursday and little miss slept until 6am when I woke her up. She slept until 645 the following morning, 630 the next morning and 530 the following one. Allllll of these were better than 3 am!
One of the other things that I think has helped us to avoid a HUGE 4 month sleep regression (unless the Gods are mean, and are planning on giving us this at 5months instead) is that Ella has practiced putting herself to sleep in her crib. We don't rock her to sleep, or nurse her to sleep. We don't hold her and then put her in her crib once she's asleep. She now has the skills to put herself to sleep at night, and if/when she wakes up in the middle of the night. The times she does wake up, I know that it's for a need (9 times out of 10) and not because she just can't get back down.

Some other quick tips:
~We keep the tv off after her last evening nap until she goes to bed. She was way too stimulated with it on, even if she wasn't watching it, to go to sleep on her own in her crib when we had it on

~a bedtime routine. We started this later than other people started it--maybe it started helping her to get ready for the crib sleep when we'd try it at night.
 I feed her, then we either wipe her down with a warm wash cloth or give her a bath (she gets a bath every other night usually), change her diaper and get her into jammies (or a new onesie during the summer since she was fully swaddled at the time), read a book, and then swaddle her (or sleep sack her now) and leave her be. Some nights we have to go back up once, but most nights she's asleep within 5 minutes.

So...this is my long winded, hopefully helpful, post about what worked for us. Keep in mind, each baby is different. I happen to think Ella is a good sleeper in general, but I also know we started early, put in the work with her practicing these skills and I think it's made a HUGE difference. 
I should also point out that this is NOT a sponsored post for TakingCaraBabies. That was/is just a fantastic class that I continue to reference to this day. I paid for the class, I bought my own sleep sack, pacifiers, swaddles, noise machine, etc. and I'd do it all over again in order to have the good little sleeper that we have!


  1. I find this so interesting!!! I will be saving this for later!!!
    Sarah at MeetTheShaneyfelts

  2. Go Ella! And go mommy! Sleep is a precious precious thing!

  3. I hope you help some other mom! Glad everyone is sleeping!

  4. Don't get too cocky! haha - totally kidding! ;) I hope she continues to do well with sleeping. Our son didn't sleep through the night until he was nearly 3 and he's almost 4 and still wakes up at night. We went through 3 sleep consultants and did everything but he just doesn't need sleep. 80% of babies/kids will be "good" sleepers and then 20% actually do not need the "by the books" sleep we are told is required. I learned A LOT about sleep the past 4 years!

  5. Y'all sound like absolute pros! And isn't that Rock N Play sleeper a godsend?! That was hands the best product we had for both of our kids!

  6. I definitely think every baby is different in the way their sleep patterns are. I'm so glad you have a good experience with Ella and her sleeping. E has always been a great sleeper as well and I'm so thankful.

  7. Mom shaming is SO unacceptable!! You do YOU! And let Ella be Ella!! Jacob is rolling over every which way for weeks and Shelby still doesn't want to. All this to say... each kiddo is different (even twins!!) and shamers need to step off!! Glad she's such a good sleeper!! XOXO, R

  8. These are such amazing recommendations. We used the noise machine until the girls were just over 2. And those sleep sacks are amazing. We also use the pacis. I think Ella is doing amazing when it comes to sleeping. And she is putting herself back to sleep too which is awesome.

  9. I love this. My baby girl, Addison is 10 weeks and sleeping though the night about 9pm-5am....but naps during the day are hit or miss with her only napping for no longer than 30 mins...just long enough for me to either shower or unloaded the dishwasher and start laundry lol. What do you suggest I do to get her to nap longer?? This whole parenting thing is "ya take some, ya loose some" lol

    1. I emailed you back with my experience (Ella is/was very similar to Addision with napping short stretches). And yes it's totally a win/lose some situation haha. I'll take shorter naps for sleeping through the night!

  10. Good for you all!! I desperately need to learn the eat/awake/sleep method when we have another. Like you I understood why it was important, but never really got the how with our Little.

  11. I loved taking cara babies!!! My husband and I watched it when I was 38 weeks pregnant. I'm originally from phoenix, so a lot of my friends took her in person class and said how great it was. Anyway, my baby is only 6 weeks, and sure enough, right when she turned 6 weeks, we got her first 6 hour stretch. She can put herself to sleep like a champ. I am terrified, though, for her transition out of the swaddle, so I'll be sure to reference this post when that time comes. Thank you!!

    1. You are totally setting her up to avoid that dreaded 4 month sleep regression! My next concern is when she starts flipping onto her tummy--I've heard that's a tough transition too.
      You will be great when it comes to transition out of the swaddle! Don't fear it--it will be fine I promise!!

  12. I'm reading Baby Wise and just can't get in to it- so I'm checking that class out that you recommended. I also registered for one of those swaddles and am happy to hear it helped. Thanks for the tips!

  13. not ashamed to admit this -- i'm a total sleep nazi. i protect K's sleep as much as i can and people often wonder why ... it's because people need sleep; especially kids! i don't care if school's out for the summer or if it's a weekend; K's bedtime is still her bedtime and the only time she goes to bed later is if we're physically away on vacation or it's a special event (ie. wedding, fam jam, christmas party etc). way too many kids are sleep deprived - you can see it in their faces and their behaviour...not to mention them always being sick. i get that little babies get sick a lot as their immune system develops but around K's age (9), their immune systems are way better and they have a higher probability of NOT getting sick when they have proper sleep.

  14. I so don't understand the mom shaming! I mean we are all in this together and should help each other in any way that we can! I still rock Bowen to sleep at night so I am pretty sure I am no help to anyone...haha I just love snuggling with him until I can't at some point.


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