Sept 30, 2021
Managing Your Baby's Sleep Schedule (And Your Own)
Written By: Lexi Coerver
An Open Letter to all sleep deprived parents
"The days are long, but the years are short."
I had no idea what this phrase meant, until I was forced to understand it as life with a child began the cycle of sleepless nights and frequent naps. Here you are, up for the 2nd (or 7th time) in the night feeding/rocking/burping and thinking..."they said the days are long... but what about the nights???” Cue the insanity…
Yes, those first days, nights, weeks, months are l-o-n-g. The nurses don’t come home from the hospital with you and show you how to care for your newborn. Babies don't come with an instruction manual (or return label), and they certainly don't come with any sort of internal clock that even hints at a circadian rhythm. So, here is my unsolicited advice to you, my dear sleep-deprived friend: have a plan to teach your new little family member the art of sleeping.
That's right, learning to sleep is a skill, one that must be taught… Prioritizing that skill by creating a schedule is one of the healthiest and most liberating things you can do for yourself and your family. Schedules exist so we can plan, right? Right. So, once your baby is on a schedule, then you can plan to rest, shower, or even GO ON A DATE!
"Here is my unsolicited advice to you, my dear sleep-deprived friend: have a plan to teach your new little family member the art of sleeping."
See that glimmer of hope up ahead? That's your schedule calling.
Like all new parents, we received all kinds of tips and suggested reading material on how to care for your newborn. But I will never forget the day a friend of ours gave us his copy of Twelve Hours of Sleep By Twelve Weeks. It was earmarked and highlighted and pretty beat up. He looked at my husband and I and, in a very serious tone and said, “This was the best gift we ever got. And it is the best gift I could ever give to you. Do it."
And we did.
That book became our Bible. It provided a step-by-step action plan and a plethora of solutions to refer to when we ran into trouble, which was A LOT. BONUS, it's a super short read.
My mother-in-law even bought a copy so that she could be on the same page. Seriously, having that book was like having a playbook that anyone who was taking care of our baby could use for reference. It was a little slice of freedom. I'm not saying that this is the end-all-be-all of sleep training books, it's just what worked for us.
No one is at the top of their game without proper rest. Not you. Not your baby. No one. Troubleshooting a baby's sleep schedule when you are sleep-deprived and barely lucid is impossible.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are tons of resources out there. The key is to find a plan that works for you, your family, and your baby. It takes consistency, time, and perseverance. All the leg work is worth it, it's the best way to make the days a little brighter, and the nights more restful for everyone.