how we didn’t sleep train izzy, but i guess we sorta did (plus a q&a and her schedule)

i get asked about sleep training izzy often, and while it feels so braggy to say we didn’t have to, well we didn’t like we did with arlo, so i’m like just being honest!!! he was a very different baby, and we very much had to FORMALLY sleep train him, so if you need any help with that, you can read that post.

also did a q&a with a sleep training expert here!

anyway, a girlfriend of mine has a baby about the same age as izzy, so she’s been an essential part of izzy’s sleep habits– she is very much a regimented schedule person, so i just text her and she tells me what to do. i believe she said the schedule is from moms on call!

at around 4 months, we implemented a concrete nap + feed schedule as well as moved her into her crib and things improved a lot for her sleeping. it made a HUGE difference in my quality of life, and izzy’s nighttime sleep too.

the early days of izzy sleep

she was always a good sleeper from the start (as a newborn she could go a few hours very early), but she seemed to have some strong preferences, which we tried to troubleshoot right away. we noticed right away that she was NOT a fan of the snoo (arlo was!) so we kept it unplugged and just used it as a bassinet.

we noticed at that time it seemed like she didn’t like being super flat, so we also got leg extenders for one side so that she would have a small incline.

we even used an external sound machine because the one built in the snoo didn’t seem to be her favorite haha.

she could sleep through the night with only one or two wakeups mostly, i would typically nurse her around 3am and then we’d change her and i would nurse her again on the other side and then we’d put her back down and she’d sleep till 6ish.

now, i know that one wakeup a night is great for most babies, but i am a zombie unless i get like 9 hours interrupted, so i was really looking forward to zero wakeup days! it’s part of the reason we weren’t even sure we wanted a second baby at first, i really like my sleep!!

implementing a schedule

so in an effort to get her to sleep through the night, we sorta trained her by first implementing the schedule. as i said, it was so hard for me especially for the first few days going from sleeping/eating wheneverrrr to actually looking at a clock all day and paying attention to it. i would be very lax about her dozing off while nursing, letting her sleep on me, etc prior to that — but once we started with the schedule i made sure to be more rigid about that kind of thing.

it took a few days for us to both get used to it but i was glad once we did. it also made planning our days so much easier knowing when she’d be sleeping etc.

i am not a schedule person. i still have her schedule written down and sitting on my coffee table in case i forget to follow it, after months of it haha. i ignore daily savings times because the math is too complicated for me, so i just look at the new time and abide by it.

lightly sleep training

my goal very early on was to get izzy to sleep through the night without wakeups. once she started sleeping longer stretches and her pediatrician ok’d her sleeping through, i wanted to train her to stop wanting to eat in the night, so we started simply soothing her at night if she woke up and not feeding her.

if she freaked out like she was starving, i would feed her but we always had gid try to soothe and put her back down if we could. this honestly lasted only a few nights to a week before she got it and stopped waking up to eat.

i wasn’t planning on moving her out of our room around this time as well, but i think it may have helped. i did a nap or two in her crib, and she seemed to sleep better and was so happy to be out of the swaddle, so we just went for it.

i cried that night, mourning how quickly the newborn stage had flown by and my last baby was already in her own room and i watched her on the monitor with tissues and then i slept like a baby myself all alone in our room!! haha

we typically aren’t too concerned about going in if she cries, but we will usually wait a few minutes to see if she stops. sometimes she will and then sleep all night, sometimes we assume something is actually bothering her so gid goes in to figure it out. (normally it’s that her sleeve has rolled down and she can’t suck on her hand)

sleeping through the night and my supply

i get asked often about my milk supply and what happened once she started sleeping through the night. i did the same thing with arlo, i just let my body adjust. i know that’s scary for some people who want to make sure they don’t lose their supply but i honestly would rather sleep and produce less milk.

so for the first few nights i woke up very engorged and wet and then my breasts adjusted and now it’s fine. my production seems to be less this time around than arlo, maybe that’s because arlo wasn’t AS into solids or took bottles or something, but i just try not to worry about it too much.

for a short stint, i was pumping before bed and we were giving izzy a bottle before bed (in the good old days when she took one!) but i just hate pumping and honestly i’m fine with our situation. she eats a lot of solids when i’m not around and she seems to be content so i’m not too concerned! i’m going to do a second post about her eating since this post is so long.

i stay hydrated and i nurse has often as i can during the day and if my supply ends up drying up then i’ll figure out the new plan then. as moms we spend so much time worrying about things out of our control at all times, so i would really like to avoid worrying about it for now and see what happens!

i breastfed arlo for 11 months and then the doctor said he didn’t need to drink formula so i stopped. i planned to nurse for less time this time around because i felt much better and more like myself when i stopped breastfeeding, but since izzy doesn’t take a bottle or even want to drink formula out of a sippy cup i guess i’ll just have to go as long as i can!

the “crib dump”

i knew i didn’t want to sleep train the way we did with arlo, but i also knew i really didn’t want to have to do much to get her to sleep — a girlfriend of mine calls it “crib dumping” and i was envious and decided that’s the life i wanted too!

so when izzy moved to her room, i started just placing her in the crib wide awake. with arlo i was so scared to do this and have him cry, but the second kid crying is way less scary. she’s so smart she basically got it right away. there are still a few times where she’ll cry as i’m walking out of the room, but then she stops within seconds.

consistency is KEY for this. you just gotta keep doing it and they will get it!

and your life will be amazing if you’re not rocking and singing and whispering and lulling and shushing and rubbing them to bed!

her current 3 nap schedule (at 7m)

7AM — wake and milk
830AM — solids
9am — nap
1030AM — milk
1130am — solids
1230PM — nap
230PM — milk
330 pm — solids
4PM — nap
5pm — milk
630PM — BATH
645PM — BEDTIME routine (pajamas, nurse, book)
7pm — bed

*typically her naps range from 60-90 minutes. if she seems extra tired, i will let her go about 2 hours and change if she wants to. especially if she’s under the weather then i don’t mind her naps being longer.

some babies need to be woken up so they can nap again soon after, but she never has much of a problem. if she does go 2 hours, sometimes i’ll push the next nap a bit, but as soon as she shows sleep cues i’ll know shes ready again to nap (she’s a big eye rubber when shes getting sleepy!)

all of these times are mostly accurate but sometimes a little loose– i just nurse her whenever she wakes up, and if we’re out and we forget to feed her much i’ll nurse her again a bit if shes hungry. and if she falls asleep in the car, sometimes i’ve brought her inside, nursed her again and then put her back down to sleep more in the crib (it works sometimes!)

** some people asked about how she can eat so often after her last nap, if she isn’t super hungry for solids then we don’t push it, but she is kind of always in the mood to eat so it’s never been an issue haha.

her previous 4 nap schedule (at 4m)

7AM — milk
830AM — NAP
10AM — milk
1130AM — NAP
1PM — milk
230PM — NAP
4PM — milk (supper feed)
530PM — “DISCO” NAP *
630PM — BATH
7PM — BEDTIME milk
730 — bed

* sometimes she would resist this nap but most times not, it was too hard for her to stay up from the daytime nap all the way till bedtime so this nap has always been crucial for us and we just end up waking her up sometime between 40-60 mins after she falls alseep.

her bedtime routine

it’s very simple, with arlo we barely had a routine but in the newborn days we found it harder to get her to wind down for bedtime because there was so much action happening with arlo haha. so once we started a nice simple routine, she got used to it and now recognizes when it’s time to go to bed and she’s always ready.

after her last nap, i wake her up and she spends a little time with arlo or playing a little. then we sit down for dinner and have her sit in her high chair with us. we feed her little bites of whatever we’re eating and maybe a little spoon feed of a puree depending on how hungry she is.

at 630 we bathe her in the sink with warm water. we only use soap on her once a week or so, sometimes more on her butt depending on how many poops she did etc. we just use a washcloth and pour water on her and make it a spa like experience for her, she loves it. in the early days of bath time i even played spa music to get the vibe going haha.

then we bring her into her room with the lights dim and change her into pajamas, and rub some aquaphor all over her because her skin gets really dry without it. sometimes arlo will try to play with her a little and we never really turn him down even if its bedtime.

i nurse her in my bedroom and and then we put her in her sleep sack and gid brings her back to her room for a book before putting her in the crib.

that’s it! she sleeps through the night and we are so lucky!

her sleeping arrangements since birth

NEWBORN — izzy slept in a snoo (that she didn’t like but we had from arlo, who DID love it!) so we kept it unplugged and we used a white noise machine since birth too. she slept in two piece footed pajamas and then we swaddled her and then use the snoo swaddle as well.

4MO — when we moved her into her crib in her own room, we put her in a merlin sleep suit. she really enjoyed finally having her arms free so she could suck on her hand (she’s very into that) and we started putting her in zippered footie pajamas mostly. we also stopped using the portable sound machine and started using the hatch in her room instead. it’s nice that i can control both kids sound machines on one app and i have all her naps programmed onto it. sometimes for naps i would leave her arm out of the suit because she’d already be sucking on her hand, i figured that was a decent segue into a sleep sack. this is her crib mattress and it’s dual sided so when she gets bigger we can flip it over and keep using.

6MO — once she started officially rolling over in the suit, we switched her to a sleep sack. we were scared at first and didn’t want to risk her not sleeping as well, but it only took her a day or so to get used to the sack. at first she wasn’t a fan of rolling over but now she always sleeps on her side or her tummy.

BLACKOUT + WHITE NOSE — in all stages of her sleep we’ve always done both of these. the room completely dark and white noise. i know that makes her naps less versatile for on the go and travel but she sleeps so well and arlo slept so well with the combo that i won’t stop. she is still able to fall asleep in the car, and when the white noise timer goes off (i have it programmed to play for two hours for each nap) she stays asleep sometimes too soooo!?

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your questions, answered

i asked if anyone had izzy related questions on instagram and there were A LOT, so here are some that i didn’t really cover explicitly above! click on the question to read the answer.

once we switched from 4 naps to 3, they obviously got much longer and we try to keep her entertained and eating while she’s up.

i’m hoping to switch to 2 naps soon, but i’ve been trying to let her dictate when she’s ready. because she likes her sleep so who am i to stop her from doing it?

i feel like there is always a lot of pressure to move onto the next steps and milestones at all times but its much easier for me to just go with the flow and move to the next step when she’s making it known she’s ready.

it’s literally just been about being consistent. once we switched her from her swaddle to the merlin suit, we never went back, and once we went to the crib she never went back to the snoo. every new transition has taken some getting used to her for her (and sometimes a few tears) but she has always adjusted quickly because i guess she loves to sleep.

sometimes if we get home late after being out and/or if she falls asleep in the car on the way home, i’ll still try to nurse her before bed and sometimes she can start dozing off hard while she’s nursing so i just do my best to try to wake her up and keep her awake so she can eat a little bit before bed.

i don’t nurse her close to when she’s going to sleep for naps so it’s not a problem — i just nurse when she wakes up!

we all read her books often, but for the first few months i wouldn’t say she was that into it. i think the key for izzy is really finding the ones she loves. some of them she’s just so so on and some of them she’s PASSIONATE about haha. again, just be consistent! incorporate reading into your routines and they’ll start to enjoy i’m sure!

i don’t know if i mentioned this already, but her naps were MUCH, MUCH shorter prior to our schedule and crib change. it has changed everything for her! i could never rely on naps being longer than 20 minutes and it started to feel very suffocating because i couldn’t find the time to do anything for myself.

i highly recommend getting on a schedule and hopefully it helps you too!

at first she was eating a couple times a night, most nights she would wake up 1-3 times a night. i would feed her when she woke up and then she would just go back down immediately. it was always around the same, we would put her down for the night around 9pm (we’d wait till after arlo went to sleep) and then she would sleep for 6 hours or so and after eating and going back down she would normally sleep 2-3 hours after that.

i do feel nap trapped most of the time for sure, which is the reason i’d love to switch to 2 naps because every nap you drop makes your life feel that much more free! i remember the feeling with arlo. right now, if i want to take her out, i do it between naps so i make plans for 1030-12ish to go somewhere for brunch (after our trip i also want to put her in a class because i’ve been talking about it for 5 months now)

on weekends i try not to care too much about being strict about it, especially because we’re going on vacation soon and she’s gonna need to sleep on the go a lot so if you miss a nap here and there i think it’s fine, i just always try to do a good nap at home for the next one afterwards if i can!

peekaboo love, peekaboo moon, hi! and fruits in suits. (we need more of the peekaboo books!)

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