Before Eleanor was born, I thought so much about how we would get her to sleep well at night that I completely forgot to think about getting her to sleep well during the day.
Newborns sleep A LOT – somewhere around 16 to 20 hours a day! – and a lot of those hours are during the daytime hours.
When we were in the hospital, she fell asleep with no issues. She could be in her acrylic bassinet, in a swaddle or not, on me, in a nurse’s arms while getting a bath… it didn’t matter where she was! But then we came home and after a couple of weeks, it was a totally different story.
Eleanor goes through some fussy hours in the afternoon (typically from noon to 2pm and sometimes even later), and it’s really hard to get her to fall asleep. It could be right after a full feeding plus a diaper change, so I know that she’s both full and in a clean diaper. She could be lying on me or in a comfy spot. But still she’ll fight sleep to the point where she is overstimulated and overtired (two words no parent wants to hear in relation to their child!).
When the fussies (as we call it in our house!) start, I try to follow the 5 S’s (Swaddle – these are our favorite swaddles!, Side position, Shush, Swing, Suck) and lay E down in her DockATot on the couch, right next to me. The beautiful thing about the DockATot is that she’s right near me but doesn’t need to be ON me, so I can still get up and get a snack or do something on my laptop while she’s dozing.
According to the book I’m currently reading about babies and sleep (the third book, in case you were wondering), it’s important to put them down when they are drowsy but not yet fast asleep, because you want them to learn to fall asleep somewhere other than on your body – so that later when they wake up in the middle of the night they’re able to fall back asleep by themselves.
Most nights Eleanor sleeps in her Rock n Play or in her bassinet, so I like that during the day she can sleep in something different. I don’t know if there’s anything scientific about this, but I don’t like the idea of her sleeping in one thing all of the time. I want her to a) not always be in the same position constantly but also b) learn to sleep in different situations so she doesn’t get used to only being able to sleep in one place.
I do think that we’ve been pretty lucky so far with our little lady as far as sleep goes. Sure, we’ve had some rough nights, but at 7 weeks I feel like we’re getting into a groove with our routine. (I should note that we’re not on any set routine day by day, but I just mean that we’re figuring out what her cries mean, what she needs at certain points in the day, and what we can do to help her. I’ve read books that suggest putting a newborn on a strict routine, but I just think she’s far too young for that – and there will be plenty of time for routine in the future!)
I wasn’t sure at first that we would need a DockATot… It seemed like almost every mom had one, but I wasn’t sure how we would actually use it. Well, now I see why almost every mom has one because it’s come in so handy! I’m afraid to just set her down somewhere and walk away, even though she’s not really mobile yet. And the first week we were home we kept bringing the Rock n Play up and down the stairs for daytime or bedtime, so having the DockATot downstairs is super helpful. I know I can set her down in it and grab a water bottle without worrying that she’s going to disappear.
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P.S. You can get $10 off your DockATot purchase using this link.
I should note: You should NEVER leave your baby sleeping alone in something with soft sides like the DockATot. It’s awesome to have your baby sleeping peacefully, but a newborn can easily suffocate and should be watched unless s/he is flat on his or her back in a crib or bassinet without blankets or stuffed animals. Talk to your pediatrician if you’re not sure if how your baby falls asleep best is safe!
Thank you to the DockATot team for sending me their product for review!
All words and opinions are, as always, my own.