I think almost every new mum has a few moments of madness where they just CANNOT get their baby to sleep despite trying everything in the world. And when they finally do sleep you run to the loo, put the kettle on, put some laundry on, then sit down to drink your cup of tea.. and just like magic they wake up! A whole twenty four minutes later! This ordeal is repeated multiple times a day until you are literally ready to tear you hair out.
So here I my tried and tested ways of getting a baby to sleep..
- Feed to sleep. This is the simplest, easiest method out of them all. Feed your baby until they fall asleep. Simple? Although many books, experts and other mums will tell you that you must absolutely NOT do this and you will ‘make a rod for your own back’ which is why I spent the first 9 months or so with my first little monkey avoiding feeding him to sleep but had an even worse ordeal in doing so. And now, my new little cutie will not feed to sleep and I so wish he would! Typical!
- Go for a stroll. This is a win win all round, baby gets fresh air and so do you (and a chance to burn some calories in an attempt to lose some baby weight.. only to go home and destroy a whole pack of chocolate biccys after 😂), and they will peacefully nod off. The only problem is if you have cheeky monkeys like me you have to keep walking the entire time you want them to stay asleep, otherwise they wake up the minute you stop!
- Take a drive. This is perfect if your feeling to lazy to go for a walk or the weather is rubbish or your so shattered from trying everything else. But again, my monkeys will wake the moment the car stops!
- Wrap your baby. This worked like a dream when my baby was first born. I could pop him in my ring sling, carry on with chores and he would be asleep in minutes. But now he’s older he screams and screams when I attempt to put him in and my toddler is sat in the pram ready to go and gets impatient so when we attempt this we end up in a full blown disaster.
- Rocking.. This is another one that the ‘mum police’ will tell you to avoid unless you want to be rocking your child until they get married! But if it works you’ll do anything to get them to sleep when you so desperately want them too! You could also add in some humming and singing for quicker results.
- Humming or singing. Some babies will sleep to just music with no rocking involved.. worth a try!
- A bouncer/ swing. Your baby may weell fall asleep in these, perhaps with some encouragement (meaning rocking/ bouncing it so much it never stops). Mine very rarely did or do.
- Swaddling. This apparently works like a dream, if only you can figure how to swaddle without annoying your baby so much they are no longer tired from all the crying!
- White noise.. such a good way to calm down a screaming and overtired baby. You tube has many noises to choice from, or you can even just switch the tap on :). My baby seems to know the difference between ‘real’ white noise (the rap running) and ‘fake’ sounds on you tube, which my husband is rather unimpressed with as we have a water meter.. hmm.
- A combination of 1 or more, or ALL.. if your desperate like me, you might need to attempt more than one of the above. I rock, and sing AND use white noise all at the same time, until he finally nods off 🙂
You’ll be pleased to know, this mainly applies to the fourth trimester, after that, its easier to predict when you baby will be tired, and therefore easier to get them to sleep in a more ‘normal’ manner. So hang in there mama’s those first three months go quickly, and then you move on to new challenges!
So you have your hospital bag all packed and ready, the baby bag is ready, and your nursery all set up. But as a first time mum you can easily overlook preparing what you will need post baby, I know I did first time round resulting in my sister making daily trips to the supermarket.. bless her.
Second time round I was more prepared and it’s made a massive difference so I thought I’d share my postpartum survival must haves with you all..
- Nipple cream.. I used Lanisoh. It’s pricey at around £10 a tube but so worth it. The early days of breastfeeding are extremely hard, and I don’t think anyone prepares a first time mum for how painful it really will be. This little purple tube, takes some of that pain away.
- Maternity Pads.. first time round I certainly wasn’t prepared for the amount of bleeding and length of time this would continue. I think I only brought a couple of packets of pads. You will need more, a whole lot more, so stock up! Boots usually have a 3 for 2 on maternity products, and I found these ultra slim ones to be the best. While your doing an online shop, you might as well pick up number 3 & 4 too..
- Disposable bed mats.. great for when your waters break (not saying your psychic and will know when this will happen but if your in early labour you could prepare), and for using for the first few weeks post baby, these are great for savouring your bedsheets.
- Disposable briefs..you may think why?! But, you won’t have time for loads of laundry and you can keep spares on hand in the bathroom as you may get through a few a day and I just found using these easier and less faff in the first week or two while the bleeding was very heavy (nobody told me about how much I would bleed?!). Again, I got these from the boots maternity section. You can find them here.
- Nursing tanks.. or nursing friendly pjs.. this will make nursing throughout the night so much easier. With my first I wore baggy shirts which was a faff and you end up annoying your newborn as your top waves around their face. A nursing tank or buttoned pjs make such a difference.
- Spare pjs to hand! The amount of times I’ve been puked on, my milk has leaked and even poo’d on during the night is unreal. Keep some spare pjs out, especially if like me, your clothes are all kept in your spare room where your visitors are sleeping 😂.
- Water! It’s crazy how thirsty you get when your up at night, especially if you are a nursing mum. I keep a big bottle of water and a glass on my bedside table so I don’t have to get up during the night.
- A breast pump! This was particularly useful as a first time mum as I leaked and felt ‘full’ a lot in the early days. It hasn’t been as bad second time around, but I found a pump really helped to relieve the pain and fullness. I really do want to start pumping more his time and trying my little munchkin on a bottle so I can catch a break every so often.. it’s just finding the time to pump for this seems impossible.. sighs.
- Nappy stations.. This has been vital with a toddler and a baby about. I used to do all nappy changes in the nursery with my older monkey but it’s not simply possible to leave what you are doing and head upstairs as I can’t leave my oldest downstairs alone for a second. So I’ve set up a ‘nappy station’ downstairs with both boys nappy essentials and lots of spare clothes, and two more upstairs in different rooms. This has helped a great deal when my newborn has needed a whole outfit change and I have two screaming babies to deal with. Everything is right there on hand!
- Sleepyhead. When your a first time mum you can easily get carried away with paraphernalia aimed to give you the ‘perfect baby experience’. I’m not one to get carried away with this and we have barely brought anything new for baby number 2.. BUT I can’t recommend the Sleepyhead enough. It’s worked a treat with both my boys, and allowed me to put them down as soon as they are asleep. My newest monkey did still resist being put in it for the first four or five days but soon got used to it with some persistence. This would be my number one baby item if I could have only one thing in the world..
So that’s my top ten things for making the early weeks just a little bit easier.. what are your just have things/ hacks for the first few weeks? Would love to know..
I still can’t get my head around the fact that I’m a mum to two little humans, and I can’t believe we have survived a month already. Suprisingly I am coping pretty well with a 20 month old and a newborn and here is how…
- Going to bed early! As a first time mum everyone tells you to ‘sleep when your baby sleeps’ which is simply not possible when you have an active toddler who only naps for an hour a day! So the only way I’m coping with the 2-3 hourly night feeds is by going to bed super early. My toddler sleeps by 7/7.30pm, I then do a few chores and take my baby upstairs and we’re both asleep by 9pm! This helps with the 5/6am starts. Such a glamorous life I lead 😂
- A good routine. This goes with the above but basically having set nap times and a bedtime for my biggest monkey means I can semi plan the day and I know when to grab some lunch or start with dinner. I’m hoping to eventually have both boys in bed at the same time so I can get a couple of hours to myself. Maybe wishful thinking right now though.
- Doing grocery shopping online. I’m pre planning all my meals and ordering food online and getting it delivered as I just don’t have the time to go and do a food shop. I try and cook and prep dinner when my toddler is napping at lunch. I’m very fortunate to have my mum and sister nearby so one of them is usually here in the afternoon so as long as the baby is asleep they can entertain my toddler while I cook.
- Organising everything the night before. Once we come downstairs in the morning, it’s hard to just pop back upstairs to grab something as I don’t want to leave my monkey around the baby as anything could happen. Every evening I make sure we have enough nappy change essentials and spare clothes downstairs for the next day.
- Getting out of the house. This one is easier said than done. Firstly it’s winter so taking a newborn out requires more effort. And secondly getting out of the house with two takes longer than you would expect. But now we have all car seats and pushchairs set up, it should get easier. I’m finding it a lot easier to entertain my biggest boy out of the house, as he was getting very bored of being cooped up inside. And my littlest mainly sleeps while out and only feeds every 2-3 hours so this gives me time to focus on my oldest when out and about.. (Sami used to feed up to three times an hour which made going out when he was a newborn somewhat more challenging). Now the weather is nicer I plan to go out at least once a day, even if it’s just a walk around the block. We will also be taking advantage of our lovely garden.
- Strong support network. As I just mentioned my mum and sister live round the corner and help me daily. I am very lucky! As I’m breastfeeding there’s not much they can do to help with the baby but they help to entertain my toddler, by taking him out, feeding him, and helping with bath and bedtimes! I also have a very tight knit extended family who are nearby so have had lots of meals sent from aunties and cousins… I am very lucky I know and not everybody has their family nearby.
- Lowering my standards (and expectations). This one is an important one… I’m slowly accepting that my house will not be as immaculate as I would like. Things may be untidy and out of place, the laundry may pile up for a few days longer than I’d like, some days my toddler (and me) will stay in pjs all day and some days my toddler may watch nursery rhymes on TV for longer than he should. We may eat take out more then we should, some days my toddler will have weetabix for dinner… but it’s okay! Sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves and there’s no need. Don’t get me wrong, whenever I get a chance I am doing housework, or cooking, or trying to do worthwhile activities with my toddler, but some days nothing gets done and the world is not going to end!