newborn sleep essentials | tips + tricks

after four babies I think I’ve gotten a pretty good handle on what healthy sleep looks like for an infant.  that being said, all four of my kids have slept completely different from each other.   I’ve heard a billion things in regards to what it technically means for a baby to sleep through the night.  somewhere along the way someone has offered the magic “6 hour” timeframe and stated that was technically sleeping through he night. but goodness, in those early weeks I would be grateful for just a consistent 3-4 hours, am I right?  cluster feeds are not fun!
as first time parents with the twins, neither Jordan or myself had any clue as to what to expect as far as sleep goes with them.  Jolie was tiny- four and a half pounds of tiny.  she grunted and snorted like premature baby would keeping me up all night long worrying about her and checking her with every peep she made.  they both slept in a single pack and play in our room until about 4 months of age and we moved them to their separate cribs and neither slept through the night EVER.  Jolie finally figured it out around 6 months of age, but Parker didn’t sleep through the night at all until about 15 months old.  even then she would only give me a full night’s sleep randomly about once a week. at age four they are both in bed around 8pm.. often still awake until after 9pm and Parker wakes me once a night for a hug and is up every morning before the sun. 
Baker is an amazing sleeper. AMAZING.  she also slept in the pack and play in our room and was sleeping through the night at 6 weeks of age, flipped to her belly to combat a bit of reflux and she found her thumb really early and would self soothe through the night.  way different than the two before her.  around 6 months I did have to go through some sleep training with her (see my post on sleep training without CIO HERE) and worked like a charm.  Baker now goes to bed around 7-7:30pm every night and will sleep about 14 hours.  she prefers to stay in her crib until well after 9am in the morning.
so, now there is Brady. I will say that he sleeps pretty well so far!  one thing I did do before with the other three, and have been doing with Brady now, is maintained a consistent sleep routine.  with the twins we were totally winging it.  we didn’t know what we were doing at all, and I think I can speak to most first time parents in that those first couple months are a total blur.  I tried my best to follow routine and keep up with what all the books and apps were telling me to do for them regarding sleep but every day looked different for us and with two babes it was a little bit more difficult to manage.  when Baker came along, I was more seasoned and went straight to work on getting her into that sleep routine I had attempted before.  I have found that there are a handful of items and processes that have worked with all four of my kids and I hope that you guys can benefit from my sharing what we do!  
I mentioned in Brady’s 2 month update (HERE) that we recently started working with him on getting into a consistent sleep routine.  before now I was really focusing on getting to know him and his natural habits.. feeding him on demand, which included through the night.  reflux played a part against us in the sleep department, but once we got that under control I started him on a trail routine.  it definitely takes some tweaks and changes depending on your little one, but so far this is working for us!

bedtime routine @ 10 weeks
9pm: bath soak- usually about 20 minutes, bathed in lavender soap (we love Tubby Todd!) 
9:30pm: out of the bath, rub down with lavender lotion and into our jammies!
9:45-10pm: nurse + bed
bathtime really is a huge component to our bedtime routine.  I’ve learned that giving Brady a bath, no matter if its outside of that nine o’clock time frame, helps him sleep more soundly and also gives him the sense that okay this is what we do around bedtime.  he has come to really love the bath and it offers time to let him relax and chill out before he goes to sleep for the night.
you can find Brady’s bath seat HERE
Brady sleeps in the dockatot– which we have been absolutely LOVING. I get asked about the dockatot all the time! I won’t say that it is magical and can 100% guarantee that it will make your baby sleep through the night, because so many other things factor into healthy sleep for you and baby, but it is really something both Jordan and myself have come to love using for Brady.  we have used it for travel and will eventually use it in transitioning to the crib and upgrade to the larger dockatot grand as he continues to grow.  consistency is HUGE when it comes to healthy sleep habits, which is why the dock is so awesome.. we just move it around as we wish! Brady sleeps in the dock in our bed, and for now this is the only place he sleeps at night.  when I make the transition to his crib here in another couple months there will be a whole new process, especially when he starts napping in his crib, but at this age Brady knows that when he is in the dockatot that it is bedtime.
full belly
AND burped!  
personally I think the very best way to ensure a great sleep is to make sure they are fully fed and burped!  with Brady’s reflux issues I have had to make sure he is burped really well before I lay him down or he will be awake about a half hour later with gas troubles.  holding him upright just about 10 minutes or so after he’s eaten for the last time before bed is extra helpful in keeping him comfortable to get into a deep sleep and to hopefully sleep through the night.  I also have learned that the more the baby eats during the day the longer and more satisfied he will be through the night.  be really consistent with feeding your infant every 3 hours while you are trying to establish a sleep routine.  if he’s sleeping randomly for a 4 or 5 hour stint through the day then he will make up for what he’s missing out on during the night.
the swaddle
when it comes to swaddling, all of my kids have been different.  the twins were in the swaddle until almost 6 months.. no joke.  they loved it.  they were swaddles at night and during the day for nap time.  they were smaller than your average, so size wise they might have been the equivalent to a four month old, maybe? after we got them out of the swaddle, Parker and Jolie transitioned to sleep sacs and slept in sleep sacs until they were over a year old.  
the swaddle had its 15 minutes of fame with Baker and then she was done.  we stopped swaddling her all together by 6 weeks of age and after we moved her out of our room at four months she used a sleep sac until about 6 months.  she didn’t care for it the same as the twins- maybe because she’s a summer babe and its so hot she didn’t need/want the extra coverage?
so, now with Brady, we are back at it with the swaddle.  nighttime is the only time we swaddle him and we have discovered the most AMAZING swaddle (they have sleep sacs, too!) nested bean has created the Zen Swaddle, which offers a breathable lightweight option for swaddling Brady.  the swaddle features a weighted egg on the chest and sides of the swaddle that simulated the weight of my hand so he falls asleep with the comfort of mom or dad close by.  not to mention that the fabric has the perfect amount of stretch to get him in a good solid swaddle- the tighter the better as it helps him feel the most secure.  once Brady is swaddled he knows its time for bed! when we transition out of the swaddle (the Zen Swaddle is useable for babies 0-6 months of age) I’m totally getting my hands on the Zen Sac to keep up with comforted sleep habits.
wanna try one out for yourself?? I’m so excited to share that the great folks at the nested bean are offering a special discount for my readers!  use code MASSEY15 for 15% off your entire purchase!
if you have any tips and tricks for sleep that you have done with your babies I would love to hear them! I’m always learning as I go and getting encouraging feedback from you guys is just the best!! 

June 1, 2017

  1. Grace says:

    Honest question about the doc-a-tot. I'm not trying to criticize, I'm genuinely curious. Everything I've ever learned about safe sleep says that you put baby on a firm mattress with nothing soft near them. The doc-a-tot, from pictures, looks to not follow any of those recommendations. In fact, the first pic with Brady and Baker makes it look like Brady could get his face smooshed into that soft side. Why does this not concern you? Are the doc-a-tot pictures misleading and it's not as soft as it looks?

  2. Chrissy H says:

    We ordered the Zen sleep sack in desperation and Remington's first night brought a 6 hour stretch. It's a God send, and I'm fixing to order another just for backup. Haha.

  3. amber says:

    Hey Grace! Thanks for the question. its more of a "firm pad" than a pillow or anything like that. Brady hardly moves in his Dock these days and his head remains clear of the sides, regardless. I definitely can understand your concern!

  4. amber says:

    Chrissy! This is AWESOME!! I love it, too!!

  5. alison says:

    Love this post! I've been blessed with good sleepers but the one thing I couldn't live without is a sound machine! It helps them realize that it's bed time and the minute it's on they start yawning. I've also learned to try and put them down drowsy but awake so they learn how to fall asleep in their own.

  6. Thank you for this post! I love the reality that every baby is different! I also love all your suggestions and look forward to testing out the zen swaddle! My third baby is putting me through the ringer with tongue tie, reflux, sleep issues and irritability! Almost 8 weeks in and feel like a first time mom all over again! It's helpful to see and hear through other mom's stories strategies and helpful tips!

  7. I love this! You ALMOST have me sold on the DockATot, but our number three baby is almost exactly Brady'a age (a few days after) and I feel like we missed our window to make it worth while. And she sleeps like a champ in the trusty old pack&play. But I'm swearing by the SwaddleMe wraps – she loves arms in swaddle and sleeps 9 hours every night! (But she's small – not quite 10 pounds). Also obsessed with our Owlet. Happy to hear Brady is more like Baker and still have major respect for twin mommas!

    Kourtney @

  8. Emily says:

    Did you start Brady in a full swaddle with arms and transition him out? Or did you always leave his arms out? What time does he wake up after he goes down at 10? Amazing that Bakwr stays in her crib until after 9! ?!?!