Now, I know what you are thinking, “Why would I listen to sleeping advice from this lady when she says her baby doesn’t sleep?” I know, I know. It’s true, my baby is not a great sleeper, BUT he was once an even worse sleeper than he is now if you can believe that (I sometimes cannot believe it).
When Eli first came home (and for about four months following that) he was up every hour to two hours every.SINGLE.night. We tried EVERYTHING! People kept throwing advice at us, trying to find the solution to this non-sleeping baby, but nothing worked. In my professional mommy opinion (take that with a grain of salt) I don’t think he was ready to sleep. I do not think there was anything we could have done to get him to sleep better. He just wasn’t ready! I know baby sleep can be a controversial subject (cry it out? don’t cry it out? put him on a strict schedule? no strict schedule? etc.), but this is not about any of that and I do not want to get into that in this particular post.
When Eli was around 4 months old his sleep started to be manageable and was so much better than those every two hour wake up calls. He was stretching his sleep time to every 4 hours and that was survivable. I wanted to share with you what products we noticed that really helped make a difference with Eli’s terrible sleeping habits in those early days. These are the products that helped us as parents and that helped Eli be more comfortable with his sleeping, which eventually led to those nice longer stretches of sleep.

These are the items that I will most definitely be pulling out of the storage when the next baby comes!

1. The Woombie

Eli did not like being swaddled with blankets and we did not like swaddling him. It was always a big ordeal. He would fuss and fight it and even once it was done he just always seemed uncomfortable and even from very early on he would figure out how to bust out of his little burrito. We found the Woombie and loved how easy it was to put on him. We just zipped him up in his little pea pod and he really liked it too. I think he liked the fact that the fabric gives a little and he was able to still rest his sweet little hands on his chest while still being wrapped up tight. He was all about those hands being nice and close to him. I also love the fact that you can zip from the bottom up so that was nice during those middle of the night diaper changes and not having to unswaddle him and then reswaddle him while he’s screaming like a banshee! I’ll be honest, Eli still woke up a lot with the Woombie so I wouldn’t say it was a lifesaver or anything (he did sleep longer stretches with the Woombie on than any other swaddling blanket) with his sleep, but I noticed a BIG change with his comfort level once he had the Woombie. He just seemed much more cozy.

2. Gas Drops

The Gas Drops were really helpful for us in those early days. Eli had a hard time with his tummy around two-three months old, especially late at night. Poor thing just seemed so uncomfortable and it woke him up quite a lot. When we started giving him some drops here and there we noticed a difference in his comfort level and they really seemed to help!

3. Video Monitor

This was more for the parents. Obviously, Eli is not getting any better or worse sleep with a video monitor. I found this calming to be able to see him. At first I was constantly looking at it, but now I only check it if I hear him. It is so helpful for us to see if he lost his paci or if he’s standing up (he seems to forget he has the ability to sit back down in the middle of the night even though he sits himself back down all the time if he’s up and playing) or whatever else we need to check in on. I would have worried 30x more than I already do without having the ability to check in on him every once in a while with the monitor! It’s also a plus that I get to watch his sweet and cute little self snooze away. They always look like such angels when they sleep (if they sleep…)!

4. Soft Sheets

I don’t know if Eli even noticed this, but I would like to think so. We use these sheets with his crib. We had regular ‘ole crib sheets when we first started putting him in his crib and to me he just seemed like he could never get comfortable. I don’t blame him. The sheets seemed scratchy and stiff and not very comfy. If he is anything like his momma then he is all about comfort in his bed! I felt bad thinking he could be uncomfortable on those sheets and not be able to tell us so I found these sheets online and they had great reviews! They are super soft. They are like sleeping in a velour track suit. I mean, how is that not the most greatest thing ever? He also seemed to settle better and did really seem much more comfortable once we started using these sheets.

5. This Mobile

We got this mobile when Eli was two months old. I did not rush on getting a mobile when I was pregnant because I did not know how important it would be and how much we would need one. This is very helpful in putting Eli to sleep. We like this one because it plays a little light show on the top of it and he just watches it and watches the animals spin and listens to the soft music and gets very sleepy. I think it is really comforting to him. Although, now that he is standing he likes to stand and attack the animals with all his might.

6. Sound Machine

This is another big necessity in our house. Our house is loud. It’s old. The floors creak and the dog makes a lot of noises … and so do the three cats we have. We do not have a fancy sound machine. We plug the iPad in and use a white noice app that makes static noise. I forgot to put it on once and Eli did not sleep good so, it is very necessary for us. I know a lot of people worry that if you use a sound machine with your baby they will then be dependent on it for the rest of their lives. Eh, not a big deal to us. If we have to carry around an iPad with us whenever we travel or wherever we go so Eli can get some decent sleep then that is fine with us. If he has to have an iPad on (or whatever other latest gadget is out there by the time) with him to get some good sleep as he grows up then that is fine. I think there could be worse! He can always take it with him and it’s no big deal. His college roommate will just have to get over it or else momma bear will come over and rip his face off. Just kidding …sort of.

If the iPad didn’t work so well as a sound machine we would give these a try:

Sleep Sheep
Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine
Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother

7. Wubbanub

These were huge for us! Eli started using the Soothie pacifiers as soon as he was born, so it’s great that they are the same pacifiers attached to the Wubbanub. These were and still are so helpful with Eli’s sleep because he can easily find them in the middle of the night in his dark nursery and he is able to easily put them in his mouth. When he learned how to put his own paci back into his mouth that was a GAME CHANGER. We were no longer having to run back and forth from our room to his to reinsert the paci. These were a big way that he learned to put them back into his mouth on his own. He is also super attached to them and they’re really cute! He puts himself to sleep when he is sucking on his Wubbanub and playing with their little arms and legs. He LOVES them. We have the giraffe and the elephant.

8. Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit 

Two words. LIFE SAVER. I am sure you are like me reading this and seeing the picture of this giant snowsuit and you are skeptical. I was skeptical too, but I was also desperate. The reviews on this suit are really positive and Eli was around 4 months old when I ordered it and this house needed more sleep! I remember when it arrived I was SO EXCITED. I ran down to the laundry room the second it was in my hands and threw it into the washer so it would be all ready to use that night. When it came time to try it Eli seemed fine in it. He definitely preferred this other than being swaddled and he did not seem confused at all about why we were stuffing him into a giant spacesuit. The first night we used it I did not see much of a difference and I was feeling pretty disappointed, but we wanted to keep trying. The second night he actually slept a little better! Was it the suit? Or just a good night? Okay, the third night he slept 5 HOURS STRAIGHT! First time ever! I was floored! We kept using the suit and his sleep improved SO MUCH. I have a friend who I recommended it to as well and it really helped with her baby’s sleep too!
I ended up ordering two more when he went up in size and we enjoyed a good two months of some pretty decent sleep and I credit that ALL to the suit! It is truly what it says – magical! When Eli started to roll over in his sleep and then started standing in his crib we sadly, had to say our goodbyes to the sleep suit and I packed it up with care in the storage to go up to the attic. You better believe we will be busting out the suit whenever we have our next baby.
Magic Merlin Sleepsuit, I love you.

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I am wrapping up the Breastfeeding Mini-Series with an amazingly raw and honest post from Danielle over at ooh breathe, just breathe. She so very graciously offered up her intimate journey with breastfeeding and I hope you will find it as encouraging and touching as I do. I think this is an important post to show that your journey will always be YOUR journey and you may not be able to breastfeed for as long as you hope or want, but it’s important to rejoice in the victories you have, whether you breastfeed for one week or one year!
Your baby is beautiful no matter if formula fed or breastfed and that is a fact. I think as mothers we need to make it a priority to do less judging of what other mothers are doing and more loving. As long as the baby’s needs are being met and that mother is doing the best they can and they are being fed and loved then that is enough for me!

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