I live in a small home that doesn’t have a lot of space, so it was a little challenging when we found out we were having a baby because having a baby comes with a lot of things. We also don’t make a lot of money and having a baby is certainly pricey. We had to be wise in the decisions we made on what to buy.
Luckily, I am a simplifier at heart and don’t need a lot to be satisfied. I only buy things that are necessities and I love getting rid of things that are not. The thought of all the things we were going to need was extremely overwhelming for me though, I had to get creative to make sure we had the room we needed to make our living situation comfortable.
We live on a tight budget, so I shopped around a ton to get the best deals for what we needed. I am not the type of person who needs the latest fads and I am ok with buying SOME things used, so this helped our situation a lot.
TOP ADVICE AND MUST HAVES
1. Diapers and Wipes- You will go through so many diapers and wipes. This will be one of your bigger expenses.
- Target brand diapers are by far the cheapest I have found. We don’t have a Target where I live, so I order mine online, purchase them with my Red Card and get free shipping and 5% off! Costco brand diapers are pretty good too, but we don’t have a Costco where I live either.
- Start pulling money aside NOW and put it somewhere you won’t touch it. This will help you have a good supply of money for diapers. So many people advised me to buy diapers whenever we had a chance, but I found this to be difficult because we ran out of space to store them and you never know how long they’ll be in certain sizes, so saving money for diapers is genius!
2. Clothes- If you have older children and don’t already have a good supply of clothes from them or haven’t been given a lot of clothes by other people, then this is a big expense! If this is your first child then you’ll most likely get a lot of clothes from your baby shower, people just can’t resist buying baby clothes, which is wonderful for you because they are definitely needed.
- I am not one who cares to have my children dress in expensive top brand clothes. I am not trying to make this come across negatively, if you buy top brand clothes, it’s not a bad thing; I just can’t afford it.
- I purchase a lot of my children’s clothes from Ross, Target, and Wal-Mart. You can also find good deals at second hand stores.
- You’ll need a lot of onesies.
3. Rock n’ Play Sleeper- These are amazing! They fold up so thin to easily take places and to store. These can help a lot with acid reflux and babies that spit up a lot.
4. Crib- I don’t find it necessary to purchase a really expensive crib, but this is just my opinion and completely your choice. Crib shopping can be stressful, there are so many out there, it’s hard to choose from them all. It certainly is fun though and makes things become “real” real fast.
5. Bassinet- I definitely don’t think it’s necessary to buy an expensive one of these since they won’t be sleeping in it for very long. You may not even need one of these at all depending on if you want your baby to sleep in the same room as you and how much space you have.
- Some people feel best with their baby sleeping in the same room as them for a while. I did with all of my babies. It makes things so much easier too. I had a bassinet for my first two and with my twins they just slept in their Rock n’ Plays.
- Some people just put the baby’s crib right in their room with them; or use a Pack n’ Play. There are so many things out there you can buy. So, this is completely up to you.
6. Bouncer- These certainly do come in handy, but I don’t feel it’s very safe to put your baby in it for a couple months depending on the kind you get. The one I had I didn’t feel supported my baby’s head and neck very good and could easily block their airway, but it’s a definite must have when they are a little bigger.
7. Swing- You may feel you won’t need one of these if you have a Rock n’ Play.
- I had a 4Moms MamaRoo, but it broke after seven months of using it. I loved how small and compact it was, it didn’t take up a lot of room, but I don’t think I’d ever buy another one since it wasn’t very durable and pretty pricey.
8. Johnny Jump Up- Your baby won’t be able to use this for a while, but it’s a must have and so much fun for baby and for you.
9. Jumperoo- I loved my Jumperoo and so did all of my babies, but if you have the Johnny Jump Up you may not need one of these and can just safe your money.
- Go HERE for an idea of what one is
10. Exersaucer- I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Exesaucer and neither were my babies, but I think I put them in it too late.
- The second your baby can start standing on your legs pretty good and holding their head up well is the time to probably put them in the Exersaucer. I did it too late I think.
11. Baby Floor Play Mat- these are really good for your baby and can be used as early as you want. They are surprisingly quite expensive so if you can find a used one that would be awesome.
- For an idea of one go HERE
12. High Chair- My kitchen is pretty small and high chairs can take up a lot of room. This depends on your kitchen space and what kind you want to buy.
- Cosco high chairs are smaller and fold up so thin. I bought Cosco brand for my twins since I had to have two high chairs. I love them. We take them with us everywhere because they are easily portable. They are low in cost too. The only thing I don’t like is the fabric seat and belt buckles aren’t machine washable, there’s no way to detach it from the chair. Sooo dumb!
- HERE is a link to the kind I bought. I bought this one for my daughter and a blue one for my son.
13. Burp Rags (only if your babies are pukers)- All my babies were pukers!
- I just buy cloth diapers for my burp rags, they are amazing at absorbing all the spit up and don’t cost too much.
14. Bibs (only if your babies are pukers)- as I mentioned above. If your babies spit up a lot, bibs will save your life! It’ll keep you from change their outfits multiple times a day.
- HERE is a link to the kind of bibs I bought that worked great for little babies.
15. Crib Sheet Saver- If you have spit up babies, these saved me from doing tons of laundry and changing sheets all day.
- You can find the sheet savers HERE
16. Video Monitor- You need a video monitor to be able to see and hear your baby, but also for your enjoyment as your baby gets older it’s so fun to be able to see what they do in their cribs when you’re not around.
- The brand I bought was V–tech. I have really liked this brand.
17. Snuza Hero Baby Movement Monitor- I have a love, hate relationship with these things. These are a little like the Owlet pulse monitor, but way cheaper.
- They monitor the movement of your baby’s belly when they’re sleeping, and it alarms you if it doesn’t detect movement after 20 seconds.
- There were more false alarms more than anything and it got really annoying, but I am a worrier and SIDS is my biggest fear! With my twins being preemies, I was an even bigger mess than with my other children, so I was grateful for these and it put my mind at ease when I went to sleep at night.
- HERE is a link to purchase this
18. Infant Baby Bath– I just bought a basic, plastic baby bath and have had no problems.
19. Car Seat– I did a ton of research and our budget was certainly tight. I wanted a good car seat, but one that didn’t break the bank.
- I bought Graco Snugride Click Connect 35. These hold babies from 4-35lbs and 32” long.
- These are also the lightest car seats I could find. The car seat alone is only 7 lbs. I wanted a light car seat because those things are hard to lug around.
- My only complaint about these car seats is the canopy. It got in the way of the handle a lot and didn’t give good enough coverage for me, but nothing a cute canopy cover wouldn’t fix.
- HERE is a link to the one I bought
20. Stroller- This was a killer for me to figure out because I needed one that wouldn’t take up the entire trunk of my car.
- There are so many out there it’s insane. This is totally your choice and you buy whatever you feel you need, but here is a suggestion. The Baby Trend Snap n’ Go Stroller is amazing because it is super light weight and easy to fold. It folds up thin too. You just put your car seat on it and go.
- If you could buy it used it would be a better deal because it’s not a stroller that can grow with you. Once your baby is out of the infant car seat you’d have to buy another stroller, but there are a lot of cheap strollers out there that will do the job just fine when you need it to.
- Think about what you need and want and go from there. You may have other children and may need a double or even triple stroller depending on your situation.
21. Muslim Swaddle Blankets- I absolutely love these blankets, but they have some pretty pricey ones out there. There are so others that are the exact same material, but cheaper. I went the cheaper route and bought a lot from Wal-Mart and Amazon.
22. Sleep Sacks- I am a big believer in never putting anything loose in my baby’s crib when they are old enough to roll over and move around. Once they start moving around I stop swaddling them and transition them over to sleep sacks to keep them warm and safe. I love them. They have lots of different kinds out there and they have some that can grow with your child as they get older. These can be pretty pricey, but I feel are totally worth it.
- Go HERE for infant ones
- Go HERE for older ones
23. Double Breast Pump– No matter what, unless you plan to use formula right from the start you will want and need a good breast pump.
- I used Medela and it was so nice! A good pump makes a world of difference.
- Make sure you have an extra set of flanges, so you don’t have to do as many dishes.
- For the one I have go HERE
24. Bottles– With my first two baby’s I used glass bottles and loved them. With my twins I used Dr. Brown’s bottles and loved those.
25. Bottle Warmer- If you are strictly pumping then a bottle warmer is an absolute life saver!
- I couldn’t nurse because my babies had to have their milk fortified with formula for more calories and nursing just wasn’t happening for me. I strictly pumped and a bottle warmer helped so much!
- If you are doing formula there is no need for this because you can make the bottle with warm water already.
- I had the Dr. Brown’s bottle warmer, but I am sure any kind would work just fine.
- The one I had go HERE
26. Bobby (Nursing Pillow)- These are amazing for nursing and also to just lay your baby on. They are pretty pricey though, but a must have.
- Go HERE for a good bamboo one
27. Baby Carrier- Everyone I know raves about the Moby Wrap, but I never used one before. I have heard amazing things about it though.
- I personally loved this carrier. Infantino Cuddle Up Ergonomic Hoodie Carrier
- Go HERE to purchase. It’s so easy to use and can hold up to 40 pounds. I love the hoodie on it to help support baby’s head when it falls asleep.
28. Pack n’ Play- These are portable cribs that fold up fairly small. These are amazing and a must have. You can take it anywhere to have your baby play in or sleep in.
- They have a lot out there and the price range is huge. I don’t find it necessary to purchase an expensive one with all these crazy gadgets unless it’s something that’s necessary for you.
- HERE is a good one that’s not too pricey and basic
29. Cool Mist Humidifier- Whatever you do make sure you buy a cool mist humidifier because they work so much better than the warm mist.
- I love this one and it’s not too pricey, go HERE
30. Nose Frida- The bulb you get from the hospital that sucks all the guck out of your baby’s mouth after it’s born is wonderful for sucking out all your baby’s boogies, but the Nose Frida is pretty amazing as well! I promise you won’t get any of your baby’s boogers in your mouth.
- Go HERE to purchase and learn more about it.
31. Baby Wipes Warmer- I always thought that these were a waste of money with my other children until I got one as a gift and oh my word it makes the world of difference when changing your little baby’s bottoms. They don’t scream and cry the entire time they are being changed. They’re miracles.
32. Baby Mitts- I personally say don’t waste your money on these and just use socks, they stay on better and you should already have some anyway. Most baby outfits come with the covers built right on the long sleeve onesie’s anyway.
33. Baby Basics
- Nail Clippers- remember you can’t clip baby’s nails for quite a while until after the skin behind it stops growing with the nail.
- Baby brush and comb
- Diaper Rash cream- honestly, I think Vaseline works better than anything else.
- Baby Vicks
- Thermometer- I think the kind you put in their ear or move across their forehead are the best, they are pricey though, but last a long time and work well, so it’s worth it.
- Children’s Tylenol and Ibuprofen. DO NOT EVER buy Infant Tylenol and Ibuprofen, they cost more for way less. Your pediatrician will give you doses that correlate with Children’s Tylenol and Ibuprofen.
- Saline solution- this stuff is amazing to help get dry boogies out of your baby’s nose.
- Binkies- I’d wait on buying these until your baby is born because you never know what they will like. See how they do with the hospital one first and go from there or buy the kind you want them to like and don’t let the hospital give them any other kind except for that one.
This list is not in any particular order. It’s simply just a list.
Well, there you have it! I can’t think of anything else that are absolute must haves! I know this is super intense and overwhelming. There are a lot of these things you really can do without and will be just fine. If you don’t have the money or room for it all that’s ok. Some of these things you may not even want and that’s ok too. There may be a lot your baby might not even like and you won’t know that until it’s here.
A lot of these things you won’t need until your baby gets older, which is nice because it will give you time to gradually buy things and will help with space because you’ll be rotating things out for when your baby is older. Like your swing and bouncer will eventually be replaced with the Exersaucer and Jumperoo. It’ll all work out, I promise.
Just see what’s best for you and your family. It’s all a big experiment. Good luck! Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.
When I was pregnant with my first I read all the books I could to prepare myself for my pregnancy, delivery, and how to care for my baby afterwards. I talked to so many other moms about their experiences and what to expect, but not one book or person ever told me about how having a baby will change my relationship with my spouse FOREVER.
My husband and I were married for a little over a year when we decided we wanted to start our family. It took us four months to get pregnant and we were thrilled when that test came out positive!
I had a rough pregnancy and it was a long nine months, but then our sweet baby boy entered the world and our lives changed forever!
No one can prepare you for the changes in your marriage once you become pregnant and no one can prepare you for the changes that take place once the baby is born. I thought that having a baby would bring us so much closer and it does in certain ways, but it also can push you apart.
Pregnancy alone changed our marriage a lot. I was sick most of the time and we were both working, and my husband was in school. We already didn’t have a lot of time for each other with our busy schedules. Then to throw a sick, emotional, and hormonal wife into the mix, it sure made things challenging.
Intimacy went out the door real fast I’ll tell you that right now! Which is really hard, especially for the man in the relationship. When your relationship and intimacy is so strong before you get pregnant, and then quickly go to hardly being intimate at all it’s really tough on a relationship.
It’s hard to talk to each other about it too, because if your husband brings it up it makes him look insensitive to all that you’re going through. Then if you bring it up it makes it look like you’re just making excuses.
Communication is key though! As hard as it may-be you both need to discuss these changes that have taken place and you both need to work harder at understanding where each other are coming from.
No man will EVER understand what us women go through during pregnancy, but sometimes we have to suck it up and make our hubbies happy to get through this rough patch, and the same goes for him.
Once your baby is born you may think that you guys will magically go back to the way things were, but that is certainly not the case. It takes months after your baby is born to get back to where you were before and even then, you’re not going to be the same. Parenthood changes you.
I am not saying this in a negative way. Parenthood changes you in so many positive ways, but some may be negative as well.
HERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT MAY CHANGE BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE AFTER HAVING A BABY
- This is the first time you and your spouse have experienced having a baby together. Giving birth is not a pretty sight, it’s graphic and something that neither of you have probably witnessed before, so this may make you both feel a little uncomfortable and be quite shocking. When it’s all over, talk about it, joke about it, and laugh about it!
- Your relationship and each other may be put on the back burner for a while. Once your baby is born EVERYTHING is about your baby. Don’t worry though this is fun! It’s fun to experience this new stage of your lives together and to figure things out with your spouse by your side.
- You’ll both be so exhausted that you won’t really care about anything for a little while.
- You both may experience feelings of jealously. You may be jealous that your husband has more free time than you do. You may be jealous that he wants to spend more time with the baby than you when he’s home. You may be jealous that he gets more sleep than you. He may be jealous you spend more time with the baby than with him. He may be jealous that you seem to care for and pay more attention to the baby than to him. He may be jealous that you get to stay home and take care of the baby and he has to go to work. The list can go on, the point is that jealous feelings are completely normal and will pass.
- You may feel distant from each other because all your time is being put into taking care of this newborn. I remember one night my husband and I were sitting on the couch about to start a movie and I was holding our baby and we looked at each other and I asked, “Are we good?” My husband smiled his big, gorgeous smile and said, “I was going to ask the same thing.” We talked a bit about how we’ve noticed the changes that have taken place, but we’re both good for now and we both still are madly in love with each other.
- You both may be feeling stressed, tired, exhausted, emotional, upset, easily aggravated, and possibly even angry at times. There is a lot going on. You are recovering, you’re hormonal, you’re trying to figure out so many things like breastfeeding, caring for a newborn, schedules and routines. It’s not easy and of course you’re not going to take it out on the baby, so you’ll be taking it out on each other at times.
- It takes 6-8 weeks after having your baby to be able to go back to being intimate again with each other. Once you get the go ahead from your doctor you honestly may not even feel up to it. You’re tired all the time, you’re taking care of a newborn for heaven sakes. You may feel insecure with your body, you may still be experiencing some postpartum pain, but your husband has been counting down the days, so the pressure is on.
- When you have intercourse for the first time after having your baby it is not going to feel the way it did before. It may feel tighter or looser down there. You may experience a burning or stinging sensation. It honestly won’t be a lot of fun. My advice is to make sure you use a lot of lubricant (water based) and to take it slow and easy. This will get better over time.
WAYS TO HELP RESOLVE THESE ISSUES
- COMMUNICATE! This is HUGE and will make a world of difference. Talk about EVERYTHING you’re feeling, both the positive and negative.
- FORGIVE QUICKLY! Forgive each other quickly when you have tiffs or are on edge. Nothing can prepare for the rollercoaster of emotions you’ll be experiencing and it’s only natural to have blow ups here and there.
- TALK ABOUT YOUR EXPECTATIONS! Discuss with each other what you expect from one another with your new roles as parents now. This is new territory for the both of you and it’s obvious that the mother takes the lead in all this since she is the main care taker of the baby. Show your husband how to do things, but don’t belittle him for doing things differently. Include your husband in certain decisions, this will help you guys feel closer to each other and will help lessen the stress of parenting if you both decide on important things.
- BE PATIENT! Be patient with each other and with your baby. Be patient with your body and take it easy. Give yourself time to heal and to recover.
- PUT ASIDE TIME! Put aside time for each other without your baby. Even if it’s just 20 minutes. Take that time to talk to each other about anything other than your baby.
- PAMPER YOURSELF! Take time for yourself everyday to get a break and take care of yourself.
- GET SOME SLEEP! Take turns getting sleep. You both need it and it will help so much.
- GET OUT OF THE HOUSE! Get out of the house, go for walks, go visit family or friends, sit outside in a chair for a bit, just get out and get some sunlight and fresh air.
- BE INTIMATE IN OTHER WAYS! Be intimate in other ways until you get the go ahead from your doctor. Kiss and snuggle each other, express your love through actions and physical touch.
It’s really hard going from being husband and wife to parents. It’s always just been the two of you. It’s hard to adjust getting used to you both not being each other’s center of attention.
Your freedom is limited now as well. You can’t always go anywhere you want. It’s harder to stay out late with friends and family. Things become a little more difficult and it can be a little straining on your marriage.
Please know, that this is normal. It’s an adjustment that everyone experiences. It takes time and some work, but luckily you have this beautiful baby that you both love so much to pull you guys closer together and bond over. It doesn’t take long to get accustomed to your new roles and new relationship, so that’s good.
The only way to keep your relationship strong is to separate your roles. You are not only a husband or a wife, but also a father, and a mother now. You need to make sure that you are nurturing both of those roles.
Once you become a parent, you will always be a parent. There is a chance you won’t always be a wife or husband though, so, you need to work extra hard at keeping a strong relationship with your spouse.
It can be really easy to lose yourself to parenthood. It can easily consume you, but you have to remember that YOU are still an INDIVIDUAL with wants and needs. It’s ok to take care of those wants and needs. You need still be YOU in order to take care of your family. So, take care of yourself, your relationship to your spouse and your children, and remember to find joy in the journey!
I really hope I don’t offend anyone by all the things I’m going to say in this post. It’s all trial and error. Every child and parent are different. Every life and circumstance are different. If I suggest not doing something that you’re already doing please don’t feel bad or guilty for it, these are just suggestions. You keep doing what you feel is best for you and your baby. This is just what I’ve done and have had great results.
I am talking about my own life experiences and that’s all I can base this topic off of. So, please forgive me if I say anything that bothers or offends you. This is not my purpose. I am going to be blunt and honest in my experiences though.
The three most dauting things about babies are trying to figure out breastfeeding, handling a fussy baby, and getting your baby to sleep at night or during the day for that matter! It’s beyond stressful and hard. It’s exhausting in every way possible and it’s time consuming.
Every pediatrician I have ever talked to has always told me you can’t spoil a newborn. You can snuggle and hold your baby as often as you want, but once they hit 3-4 months this is when you need to start developing a sleeping routine and good sleeping habits.
For me, personally, I agree with the pediatrician, you can snuggle and hold your baby all you want and that’s exactly what you should be doing, but I personally believe that it’s never too early to start developing good sleeping habits for your baby.
My first child I did EVERYTHING wrong! I let him sleep with us whenever he didn’t sleep good at night, I held him way too much while he was sleeping. I rocked him to sleep until he’d be completely out. I didn’t have a good bedtime routine and I didn’t put him to sleep at the same time every night. I let him stay up way too late and he slept in way too long. It was a mess.
I think this is very common with your first child. You have more freedom with one. You’re usually younger and have a lot more going on. You’re still in that “hanging out with friend’s stage.” You can stay out late with them easier, you can keep them up late at night without it causing problems. You can take them with you anywhere. It’s just so much easier with one to create all these bad habits for babies.
Then if you’re anything like me and my child you end up creating a sleeping monster. Naptime ceases far too quickly, tantrums escalade, and everything seems to be out of control. Plus, they end up sleeping with you every night until they are 5 years old! IT’S TERRIBLE!
Having good sleeping habits and making sure your child gets good sleep is HUGE for EVERYONE!
My second time around I promised myself I would not go through that again! I was going to create a good sleeper who loved her bed; and I did! She ended up loving sleeping alone so much that even when she was sick I couldn’t get her to snuggle me or sleep with me at night, she just wanted her bed (that part made me super sad, because I wanted to just cuddle my sick baby.)
With your second child this is a lot easier to do though, because a lot changes when you have two kids instead of one, it causing you to become more home-bound. You have an older child now that can possibly be in school or is on a good sleeping routine, so it’s easier to blend your second child into their routine. It is also harder to go out and stay places late with two kiddos, so you tend to stay home a lot more.
Life just changes the older you get and the more children you have. Your freedom lessens, and your life becomes more of a routine.
So, now back to my theory of starting your baby on a sleeping schedule as early as possible. I truly stand by this, I think it helps tremendously. This strategy will be really hard to implement with your first child (because all you want to do all day is hold your baby.) I say this because when it’s your first child you actually have the time to focus completely on that baby and tend to all their needs, so you get to spoil them so much more than your second, third, fourth, and so on. When you have more children, you’re pulled in more than one direction, so it makes it a lot harder to focus all your attention on just one child.
STEP ONE: WAYS TO HELP EASE INTO A GOOD NIGHTS REST
This is not a fix your baby’s sleeping habits over-night strategy. It takes times, but I promise it’ll do wonders for you and your baby and will help your child develop good sleeping habits.
I have read multiple things on sleep training your baby and nothing I read helped me exactly where I needed help, or I just didn’t feel comfortable trying certain things, or I couldn’t handle letting my baby cry it out for hours, because not only would they cry, but I would too! It wasn’t worth it to me.
So, I started implementing different things that I’ve read different places followed by my motherly intuition and these are some things I’ve done that have really helped.
1. From the day your baby is born don’t be afraid to let your baby cry. I don’t mean to sit and let them cry for a long period of time, and I don’t mean to let them cry themselves to sleep. What I mean is that the second your baby starts crying, don’t rush over to them so quickly to fix their needs that they barely had anytime to even figure out what it was they’re crying over in the first place. Give them some time to fuss for a minute. Over time you’ll get to know your baby’s cries and so you’ll know exactly what they need and how urgent of a response you need to give them. I think it’s important for your babies to self soothe themselves and the earlier you allow them to learn this, the better. Although, it’s important for them to know you’re there, so if you don’t rush over to them quickly, talk to them, let them know you’re there and you’re coming.
2. The earlier you start helping your child put themselves to sleep the sooner they will sleep better for you and throughout the night. During the day if you’re snuggling your baby or feeding them and they are starting to get tired, put them down where they sleep at night (whether it’s a crib, bassinet, whatever it may be.) The key to this is putting them down DROWSY, not completely asleep or wide awake. You don’t have to do this EVERY time, snuggling your baby and holding them is good and it’s something you NEED to do, but if you do this 3-4 times a day while they are newborns it will really help you get a good jump start on sleep training. I know a lot of baby’s pass right out during feedings and after, if this is the case then this probably isn’t the best time of day to do this for them, or you can wake them up a bit before putting them down after feedings. If you put them down and they fuss for a bit, let them fuss (YOU HAVE TO LEAVE THE ROOM THOUGH, more on this below.) See if they can get to a self-soothing state on their own. Fussing and screaming is very different. If they are screaming then get them, but if they are just fussing then let them fuss for a good five-ten minutes and see what happens. If they don’t stop fussing and start to cry harder within those five-ten minutes, that’s ok, just go get them. You’re still training them by getting them aware of their surroundings during those drowsy states.
3. This one is a BIG DEAL! If you are putting your baby down to try and get them in the habit of self-soothing themselves to sleep then you CANNOT be in the same room during this time. So, make sure you’re putting them where they usually sleep or where you’re wanting them to sleep and you leave them alone. If you are sleeping in the same room and you yourself are going to sleep too, then this is fine, but if it’s during the day and you’re in your room doing things and trying to get them to fall asleep it won’t work. They need to be alone.
4. Everyone may hate me for this one, but this seriously is so important! In order for your baby to self soothe themselves and have good sleeping habits YOU CANNOT CO-SLEEP WITH THEM! I’m so sorry! I know this totally stinks and makes things even more difficult, but there is just no way to make any of this work if you co-sleep with your baby. They can be in the same room as you, but it needs to be in a bassinet, crib, pack n’ play, or whatever it may be, it just has to be completely-separate from your bed and from you.
So, there you have it for step one. These tips are to help you and your baby ease into the sleep training method. This will get the ball rolling into having your baby sleep through the night.
There is no set limit on how long to do this for until you move to step two. I think that once your baby is putting themselves to sleep easily for naps throughout the day then it’s time to move on to the next step.
STEP TWO: SLEEP TRAINING YOUR BABY WITHOUT ALL THE TEARS
If your baby is 3-4 months old this is when sleep training starts to become crucial and a must! The reason why this age is so important is because this is when your baby starts to really come alive! They’re personality is starting to burst. They are becoming more alert and aware of their surroundings. They are realizing when you are by them, and when you’re not. They are becoming more attached and know when you’re holding them and when you put them down.
At this point you should have a pretty good routine and sleep schedule down with your baby. If you haven’t already started doing the things mentioned in step one, then now is the time to start implying them.
1. In my opinion if there is no necessary reason to still have your baby sleep in the same room as you then this is the time to transition them into their own room. This is usually the time to transition them to their crib as well (if they weren’t already using one.) So, this is the first thing you need to do: get their crib all set up and ready to go; and get their nursery in order (if you haven’t already done so.)
2. If your baby was sleeping in a bassinet, pack n’ play or whatever it may have been while they were sleeping in your room then this is what you need to do for a little while to get them accustomed to their new surroundings. Put what it was they slept in, in the room you are transiting them to. Let them sleep in there for a good week or so before transiting them to their crib. This is very important! Every time it’s nap time or bed time they need to sleep in their room and you need to follow the same steps mentioned in step one: number 2 and 3.
3. If you were co sleeping with your baby before then this is probably going to be a lot harder. Try putting them in their crib multiple times a day wide awake so they can get used to their surroundings. Then start putting them in there for their naps through-out the day. This may be more of a gradual process because co-sleeping can make them be more attached.
4. When you are putting your baby to sleep in their crib there can be no distractions! Do not let them have any form of a toy, a mobile, stuffed animal, nothing! If you are wanting your baby to sleep at night, then you need to create an environment that will make them want to sleep. If there are all these things to look at and play with in their bed, then they won’t want to sleep.
5. This is one that a lot of people may hate me for saying. I’m sorry! When your baby is older and can hold their bottle on their own, NEVER put them to bed with their bottle or sippy cup. I say this for multiple reasons. They get attached to it, it is so bad for their teeth when they start to come in, it’s hard to wean them off this habit, it’s a distraction, it’s messy, and it really isn’t safe. The only thing that is ok to put in your baby’s crib is a binky. Loose blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, etc. are extremely dangerous as well.
6. Night time sleeping will be way different than nap time sleeping during the day. Your baby may take easily to nap time and sleep like a champ during the day, but really struggle at night or vice versa. If they are really struggling at night, please remember it won’t last forever. It’s super hard to endure and it’s exhausting, but don’t cave and let them sleep in your arms all night or put them back in bed with you (unless you really have to because your sleep deprivation may kill you.) When you cave you erase all your hard work and you have to start all over again, it may be worth it though if you’re that tired. It’s your call.
7. I am not one for letting them “cry it out.” I absolutely hate this method and I think it’s torture for you, your baby and your whole family for that matter. I will never let my baby cry for more than 20 minutes without going in and comforting them in some way (and I usually only do this when my babies are 6 months and older. When they’re younger I don’t let them cry for more than 5-10 minutes.) What I like to do when they’re having a hard time is let them cry for a bit (about 5 minutes,) this wears them out a bit. Then, I go into their room, I don’t turn on any lights or say a word. I put their binky in (if they take one, luckily for me, mine all did,) I rub their belly and their face for a minute and then leave the room. If they start to fuss again, I do it again. I try this about five times, but only if they aren’t screaming and really upset, this is only if they are fussing and acting restless. If these things don’t work, then I rock them until they are drowsy and once they seem to be getting tired I put them back in their crib and immediately leave the room. *Keep the room dark, quiet (or use a noise-maker/fan), and free from distractions.
8. I am a big fan of noise-makers. I honestly think this has been harmful to my kids though because I have used one with all of my children from the start and now that some of them are older, they have a hard time sleeping without noise. So, I honestly created a bad sleeping habit by trying to get them to have good sleeping habits. Oops! I do find them so helpful though to help soothe your baby and to sleep better, especially during the day because it drowns out noise in the house while they nap.
9. If you swaddle your baby and are now transitioning them to their crib and you notice they move around a lot and kick their legs up and seem fussier than they were before, they may not like having their arms swaddled anymore. When babies are put into a bigger, open space, like a crib and are swaddled they can sometimes be uncomfortable and feel like they are falling. When they are in a smaller, more confined space, like a bassinet, Rock n’ Play, DockATot, swing, or sleeping next to you, then they feel safer. Try swaddling them with their arms out and see if they do better with that. Apparently, you’re not supposed to swaddle your baby with their arms in anymore anyway because it increases the risks of SIDS. I was surprised when I had my twins and we were leaving the hospital and they gave me the run down of all the do’s and don’ts and they told me this. If your baby is moving around a lot or rolling, then you shouldn’t be swaddling them anymore because the blanket can become loose and they can suffocate in it. I suggest putting them in a sleep sack. You can find them HERE. Remember to remove anything loose and free in their crib to reduce the risk of suffocation.
Well, there you have it! I hope these tips are helpful to you. Remember that this is a gradual process. It takes time, but it is successful. It’s so much easier emotionally to do it this way, but if you don’t have the time or patience then my suggestion is to try the cry out method. If you let your baby cry it out, they should be sleeping through the night by day 5 for sure, but it’ll be 3-5 days of heart wrenching hell!
When your baby is older, like 6 months and up you do have to let them cry it out a little bit more with my method, but like I said I don’t feel comfortable letting my baby cry for more than 20 minutes, 30 minutes max, without consoling them. You do what works best for you and what you feel most comfortable with. Every baby is different, and every parent is different. You have your mother intuition for your babies, like I do for mine. There is no right or wrong, you do whatever you feel is best.
All my babies were binky lovers so this helped me a ton to sleep train my babies, but I always get rid of their binkies at 12 months old, so then I have to sleep train them without their binkies and I have to use the cry out method a lot more with this because there is really nothing else I can do to soothe them, besides rock them. I do that a lot too during this time, but then I don’t want them to get used to being rocked to soothe them to sleep, so the cry out method is the way I go when weaning them from binkies, nursing, and bottles.
Good Luck! You’ve got this! Just take one step at a time. I promise your sleepless nights won’t last forever.
UPDATED *I get a lot of questions about why their babies don’t stay asleep throughout the night. They tell me that when they put them to bed they fall asleep fine and sleep for a while, but they don’t stay asleep throughout the whole night. They wake up once or twice or even three times.
This is a hard question to answer because not every baby is the same and not every need for baby is the same. My daughter was an amazing napper and sleeper, but she wouldn’t sleep throughout the night until she was eleven months old. She always woke up at about 3:00am for a middle of the night feeding, but she’d go right back down after she was fed without problems. I truly believe that she was hungry and needed that midnight feeding.
So, I’m going to ask you a few questions:
When your baby wakes up at night are they just fussy, tossing, and turning or are they waking up screaming and really mad?
Are they acting hungry?
If you feed them do they go right back down?
How often are they waking up?
If they take a binky and you put it in do they go back to sleep?
Do you ever let them fuss and cry for a bit before you go in to get them?
Answer these questions and see what you feel may be the problem.
Some babies really do need that extra feeding at night. They may just need their binky. They may just need a little bit longer of a crying session before they all back to sleep.
You should know your babies cries by now, if it’s a hungry cry, then feed them. If it’s a fussy cry, then leave them alone for a bit and see what happens. If it’s a I want my binky cry, then give them their binky (don’t you wish you could tape those things to their mouths haha.)
If you think it’s just a habit and they are manipulating you, then try the cry out a method for a couple days and see if that works.
It’s really important to keep the lights off, don’t simulate them or talk to them when you go in, just put the binky and leave, or feed them and leave. You want to keep their surroundings quiet, dark, and calm so they will go back to sleep easily.
If they seem wide awake and nothing seems to work to get them back down, then you may be putting them to bed too early. Try putting them to bed an hour or two later at night and see if that helps.
I’m sorry! I wish I had all the answers. A lot of this is trial and error. It’s hard to figure out what to do and how to do it. Babies are experimental, but the upside is, if whatever you do doesn’t work, then you get another night to try something new. Babies are adaptable, nothing’s set in stone. Thank goodness!
Good Luck! Please leave comments with suggestions that work for you, or if you have any questions!
So, you just had a baby, you’re exhausted, you’re slowly recovering, and you’re now a mom to a beautiful tiny human that you never thought you could love so much!
Being in the hospital is nice. You have help. You’re catered to. You can send your baby to the nursey as needed to get some rest, but you’re home now, and it’s super nice (because there’s no place like home); but now you’re on your own; and that can be a little scary.
Whether this is your first child or not, the next 3 weeks are going to be HARD; and if you have more than one child at home, it’s going to be EVEN HARDER!
Don’t worry though, YOU’VE GOT THIS!
If you have other children at home the hardest part is going to be them! Bringing home a new baby is going to rock your other child/children’s world, whether it’s for the good or the bad.
If you have older children, about 6 and up then you don’t have to worry too much about this rocking them for the bad. They should be able to handle the adjustment to a new baby a lot easier than a child that’s younger, in fact they’re probably super excited and will be a HUGE help.
As for the younger ones, this is going to be harder on them. they will probably show a lot of excitement and interest in baby for the first week, but it will dwindle, and they will probably ask, “When does the baby leave?” (My daughter totally asked me this! HAHA)
The next 3 weeks is a BIG adjustment for the whole family. A lot of sweat and tears are going to be shed and it’s going to take a little bit to get into the swing of things.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS THAT CAN HELP:
1. Lower all your expectations! If you don’t have any expectations, then you will have no reason to feel disappointed or upset about anything.
2. Take one step at a time and move slowly! There is no rush for anything. Let your days go, let the dishes go, let the house go, let yourself go, and just enjoy this time with your family. Ease into all this and give yourself time to recover and enjoy your baby and other children.
3. Let your baby cry! If you want to stop sibling rivalry from the beginning, then show your kids that they are still your everything and are just as important as baby is! If you are tending to your other children and your baby starts to cry don’t drop everything and rush to your baby. Show your other children that you can finish what you were doing with them first and then go get baby. This probably won’t even happen much anyway at the beginning because the second they hear baby cry they’ll most likely be rushing over to them.
4. Include your other children when taking care of baby! Have your other kids help out with baby. Ask them to get things. Have them help give baby a bath. If you have any dolls lying around have them imitate what you’re doing with baby. Make them feel important, assign a responsibility to each child when it comes to taking care of baby (example, one can be-in-charge of getting their binky when it cries, another getting diapers.)
5. Rest as often as you can! This is a lot easier if this is your first child. When people tell you to sleep when baby does, SERIOUSLY, DO IT! I know it’s so hard because you just want to snuggle your baby all day and never want to put them down, but you need your rest. You’ll heal quicker, you’ll establish better sleeping habits for your baby and you’ll feel better. If you have other children, do the best you can to rest when possible. You will really need these small rests to help boost your energy and get you through your long day and nights.
6. Take care of yourself! Eat (and eat often), drink lots of water. Don’t deprive yourself from nutrients because you’re too busy taking care of your baby, and other children (if you have them.) You need to take care of yourself, so you can heal faster and have more energy.
7. Get help! If you have help available to you, take it! I’m not joking when I say these first 3 weeks are brutal. Your body is so exhausted and needs help recuperating. You can’t do it all!
8. When you are cooking dinner make easy meals! Keep things simple for a while. If you’re reading this and your baby hasn’t arrived yet, then I highly suggest making some freezer meals. Cook up some chicken, shred it, and freeze it. Ground lots of hamburger and freeze that as well, it helps for easy simple meals.
9. Sleep-depravation can be harmful to you and your family! If you are anything like me I get really grumpy, on edge, I shut down, my body maxes out, my mind gets foggy, and I just feel crappy when I don’t get sleep. Make sure you and your spouse are taking turns during the night. I don’t care if your spouse has to wake up and go to work in the morning, so do you! Have him go to bed earlier some nights and then have him take a three-hour shift in the middle of the night. It’s amazing how 3 consistent hours of sleep can make the world of difference.
10. Go to bed early! I am saying this for your whole family. Put your kids to bed early, and then put yourself to bed early. This is super hard to do because by the time you get your other kids to bed you want to take advantage of that time alone to bond with your spouse and your baby, and to be together just the 3 of you, but for the first little while go to bed early. You’ll thank yourself for this later. A lot of people think that by the time they get baby ready for bed, feed them, then get themselves ready for bed they have like 1½ hours before they have to feed baby again, so what’s the point. Well…that 1½ hours of sleep will be so good for you and your spouse! This isn’t going to be forever, just until your baby is on a better sleeping routine, then you can stay up as-long-as you want, but for now I can’t stress to you enough how much you need sleep!
11. Start establishing a bedtime routine with baby immediately! I know most things you read or even you hear from doctors that when your baby hits 2-4 months to really establish a good bedtime routine. I think this is true and wonderful advice, but I believe if you start one from the get go, it really helps get baby and you on the right track.
12. Throw all mom-guilt out the window! This one is mainly for mom’s with other kids at home. You are going to beat yourself up because of this big change in your family. Babies take a lot of work, they are time consuming, they are needy, they are your EVERYTHING right now, so where does that leave your other kids? You are going to feel so bad that you can’t give your other kids the attention they want and need like the baby is getting. Do the best that you can! Make sure you are still showing your other kids they are loved and not forgotten, even if that means coloring with them for a minute or playing a game. Don’t beat yourself up for your kids being on too much technology. You are needing to feed your baby every 2-3 hours right now and if you have young ones at home this can be a very stressful and difficult time because when mom is feeding baby that means she is stuck to the baby for a while, they pick up on this quickly; so, this is when they start to act out. It’s ok if you have to let your child watch a show or play a game on your phone for a little while every time you need to feed baby. Do whatever you have to do to stay sane and do it with out beating yourself up! 😊
I hope this list is helpful to you. I know a lot of the things listed on here are to help families with other children, sorry about that. It really is just so much harder when you have other kids at home with a newborn. The horrible sleep-depravation though whether it’s your only child or not has no comparison, it’s the same no matter what!
The first 3 weeks really are the hardest, but I always feel you start to turn a corner about a month in. It all gets easier!
Good luck and congratulations!