Let me quickly set the scene, my son was 12 weeks old, it is the week of Christmas. My fiance and I have NOT slept more than 3 hours in the last 48 hours. In between these long bouts of being up with our son, I was feverishly moving through the top “sleep education” training books and websites as I prepared mentally for what we had discussed as a family our start date after the December holidays to pull the trigger on “sleep education start. But as my fiance walked in the door from a short day at work (when going into work was not odd) before being home for the next week for the holiday, I damn near tripped rushing over to give him our son and a printed off schedule. I simply tiredly said, “We’re starting tonight. I cannot do this anymore. I am not able to be a good mom with this lack of sleep.”
Update to give you an idea where we are now…Baby P sleeps close to 10-12 hours a night EVERY night (except for Christmas smh) since about 3.5 months, he is now 16 months. He does not have a strict bedtime routine or time, just to be candid, but we do pay attention to sleep cues, calculate time passed on the day’s activities and naps.
Below I will outline the books that helped guide our sleep education journey. I will also include our initial schedule we used that is based on the books and our little family’s daily routine. I will end with some of my candid thoughts and advice on sleep education as a new mom that just/is going through this!
Here are the books I read and some notes on each:
Oh last thing I will note, I started reaching these around the 2-month mark for our son. I felt like I was behind…but we weren’t.
|Book Title (and linked)||Lauren’s Mom Notes||Bonus|
|Moms on Call Basic Baby Care||This book was one I heard other young moms swear by, and a lot of them started like day 1 with this book’s methods. It’s a quick read that helps you lay down the process framework for healthy sleeping habits for babies. I did find the methods somewhat strict and felt like it would be a big life on my end that I honestly didn’t know if I could keep up with. I do think this book is helpful in understanding basic baby care and how you actually outline the process for starting sleep education.|
Last thing I will mentioned
|The authors also have a website with additional resources and the option to book a one-on-one virtual consultation with a sleep education expert. The appointments are actually not priced crazy. We didn’t go this route but I thought about it when we were not sure if our sleep education process was working (and I mean like day 3 of 7).|
|Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting (now with Bébé Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting)||THIS IS MY FAVORITE BABY BOOK! We had/have a running joke that I want Baby P to be a “french baby” based on this book.|
This book was absolutely transformative to my thinking about how I want to parent. Also outlining some of the hang ups I personally have with modern American parenting and “french parenting” as viable alternatives. And a big reminder, “It’s you not your baby!” We control this shit and we also have to create space for our kids to grow, mature and test out this living thing.
Not heavy on “now take this step” but more so focuses on the mindset and options to how to parent including sleep and eating with/for baby! (I add the eating bc this book helped as well when we started baby-led weaning)
|Baby S.T.E.P.S. To Better Sleep: How to gently coach your child to peaceful naps and rested nights||This is the ONLY book I found written by a black mom.|
This book helps outline steps for sleep education, importance, and gives tales of success (which is super helpful!).
Most helpful thing I found in this book was the strong emphasis on “DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU AND YOU BABY!” I needed this reminder after reading the other books and ending them like hmm that’s a lot of steps and really specific!
This book reminded me and gave me the confidence to take points I learned from ALL the books and come up with a plan that worked for the US!
|BLACK WOMAN AUTHOR|
|The Baby Sleep Solution: A Proven Program to Teach Your Baby to Sleep Twelve Hours a Night||This book is probably the closest to the plan we implemented starting out with sleep education, specifically the steps to soothe baby when you are first starting out with sleep education.|
The content is pretty step-wise and focuses mostly on process.
|There is another version of the book but both are about the same (content & author).|
This other version is very quick read and is just focused on steps to start sleep education: Twelve Hours’ Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old: A Step-by-Step Plan for Baby Sleep Success
|Taking Cara Babies||Myleik Teele swears by this and honestly I read all the books above first and then purchased this. It has a lot of the same content as the books but nice to see the consistency of the main points of sleep education success.|
This was a great tool for me because my partner rather watch videos than read a book.
You’ll get most of the same content in the above books but it’s always nice to get all perspectives and methods to figure out what works best for you!
|This is an online course and Cara has a IG account that has alot of helpful information.|
Also an option to have one-on-one consultations on site.
Here is the schedule we started using around 3 months, please note we (our little family) are not individually and collectively “schedule” people. We did understand the need to make some modifications to this lifestyle with our baby but honestly baby molds and in many cases works with the parents. For us that means we followed this schedule below, made frequent modifications that worked for us and our baby, but also started to lessen up on the strict times and create more time ranges or tracking amount of time up to help dictate bedtime.
Mock Schedule (lose, main focus is P3 up by 5PM at latest)
7:30-8:00 Wake up, change diaper, put on clothes, begin feeding
8:15-9:30 Hang out with daddy or mommy (1st tummy time)
9:45/10:00 1st Nap
12:00 (12:30 latest) Wake up from nap
12:00-12:30 Wake up, change diaper, begin feeding
12:30-2:30 Hang out with daddy or mommy (2nd tummy time and book)
2:30/2:45 2nd Nap
4:30 (5:00 latest) Wake up, change diaper, begin feeding
4:30-7:30 Stay awake!!! hang out with daddy after work
7:30 Bedtime routine starts (Bath, pjs, sing/dance, book, last feeding, prayers, into crib) ***P3 cannot fall asleep during feeding, and place in crib awake/semi-awake
1. Bedtime routine (should not last longer than 30mins)
2. Does not fall asleep while feeding; especially night time feeding!
3. P3 MUST be awake 3 hours prior to bedtime
4. Naps and bedtime all in crib
If P3 wakes up during nap time or bedtime (especially for bedtime):
1. Wait 10 mins (time please) before going into check on P3 (he may fall back asleep)
2. If I need to feed him, do so in a nursery with lights off or low. Minimize talking to P3 and activity outside of feeding
3. Try soothing in crib by rubbing his back or head making shoooing sound and nighttime phrase, “It’s time to go to sleep sweet boy”
4. If take P3 out of crib to soothe ensure he is AWAKE/SEMI-AWAKE when putting back in the crib
***This was sent to my partner and mother who help frequently with our son to ensure we were all on the same page as I knew us working together and staying consistent was going to be key.