Working Moms

sleep training prep for return to work

i am 2 weeks into my maternity leave i am, of course, falling in love w my sweet little girl. i will be going back to work after 10 weeks my husband will be taking the final 2 weeks of leave we work for the same company. i am breast feeding but plan to start pumping to build a reserve in the next 2 weeks.

i am curious if you have had success with any type of sleep/feed scheduling or any specific tactics you used while on maternity leave to get your babe to successfully sleep through the night by 810 weeks? i think i will be a better mother employee if i am able to get a decent night's sleep so i am trying to get insight from real moms with real babies.

i'm currently reading a book called 'babywise' have a book called 'happiest baby on the block'. both guarantee to get the baby to sleep through the night by 8 weeks but i would love to get insight from real moms who've been there, done that.

thanks in advance for your insight!

Re: sleep training prep for return to work

  • I think it is pretty uncommon for babies to really STTN that young. One to three night wakings at that point is more the norm. My friends who claim their babies STTN usually mean from like midnight to 5am. DS sleeps from 8pm to 7am but only started that at 9 months old.

    Please lookup Babywise- just read the Wikipedia page at least. The author is a religious fanatic that was kicked out of the church he founded in part because of his views on parenting. The publisher dumped the book so he published it himself. And Dr Sears called it the most dangerous book out there.

    just try to establish routines that will help your baby establish a routine such as eating dinner around the same time, bath time, lights down, etc. a good bedtime is around 8 pm. Sleep begets sleep.



  • Yes please look up babywise for the reasons pp said.

    I went back at 6 weeks with DD. What helped me was cosleeping and eventually bed sharing so I wasn't getting up and moving around in the middle of the night
  • 8 to 10 weeks is much too early for sleep training. You can begin to establish good routines a strict bedtime routine is very helpful but as a PP mentioned, sttn at that age is just 5ish hours. You can try and control whe. The wake ups are with a dream feed, but nothing is guaranteed.

    Your body will adjust. I am back to work for over a month now and LO is now 4months. We have occasionally gotten a night of 10pm 4 or 5am but nothing is guaranteed no matter what the books say!
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  • L started sleeping from 8pm to 4am at 13 weeks, but before then would wake at least twice a night at 11 and 3. And now he is going through a growth spurt or sleep regression and is sometimes up every two hours. This is all to say that sleep and wake up is very variable in these first few months. I know what you mean about needing sleep to be a good employee but just see where your LO is at when you are there. Get DH to help also!
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  • There's no way to force it at that age.  DS was still waking every 3 hours or so when I went back to work at 12 weeks.  In fact, he woke up at least 2-3x a night until we sleep trained when he was 9 months old. 

    The thing is, you get used to it.  Seriously. Your body will adjust.  Obviously it's not healthy long term, but I didn't feel like the walking dead most days.  I went to bed around 8, and DH took baby duty until midnight or so.  I took over after that.  

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  • Holy shizz the best thing to do with Babywise is burn it. FWIW, I read the entire book, along with several others.  Babywise is written by an author who has no medical training of any sort and is estranged from his children. 

    I found the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child to be incredibly helpful.  It's written by an actual doctor who has studied infant sleep.  So it has, you know, factual medical information.

    With that being said, there is nothing wrong with getting your kid on a schedule.  I did it, and I swear by it.  Keep in mind, the schedule won't be executed with military precision, but it can be a helpful guideline.

    I wouldn't worry about anything until your LO is about 6 weeks old.  I had DS on a feeding schedule before that, but it was flexible.  He ate about every 2.5-3 hours in the day and went about 4ish hours overnight. As he got a little older, the nighttime stretches lengthened and he would go about 5 hours in the first stretch and then another 4 hours after that.  The daytime was every 3 hours until he was about 7 months old.  By the time he was about 16-18 weeks old, he was sleeping a solid 8-9 hours at night, then eating around 3-4 am, then sleeping another 2-3 hours.

    Honestly his sleeping schedule didn't evolve until closer to 6 months old.  He just sort of napped whenever.  It worked fine when we sent him to daycare at 13 weeks old.  No daycare expects them to be on a solid schedule at that age.  

    But again, burn Babywise.  It's total garbage.  When the AAP bothers to come out and issue a formal declaration against one of the 10 million baby sleep books out there, I'd avoid it like the plague.

     

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  • I don't think you should even consider sleep training until 4 months.

  • I did want to add re: the sleeping/napping schedule.  Around 6 months old, he was transitioning from 3 naps to 2 naps a day.  We moved to the 2-3-4 schedule.  So his first nap was 2 hours after he got up for the day, the second nap was 3 hours after he got up from the second nap, and bedtime was 4 hours after he woke from the second nap. 

    Before that, he was taking 3 naps, but the third one was sort of short and sporadic.

    Again, I cannot say enough good things about Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.

    But the main point of all of this is that if your kid is tired, let them sleep.  If they are hungry, feed them.  The time for schedules and routines will come eventually.  It was really the one thing I will do completely differently next time.  I won't stress at all about feeding and eating schedules because they will happen.

    DS is 13 months now and sleeps like a champion.  One 2-2.5 hour nap around noon and then bedtime at 7:00 pm, up at 6:30 am.  Not a peep in between.

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  • image shannm:
    I don't think you should even consider sleep training until 4 months.

    Well there is a different between "sleep training" and working toward a sleep/eat schedule.  

    Trying to put your baby on a schedule (while being flexible with it) is fine from much younger than 4 months old.  

    However, I do agree that sleep "training" (aka CIO, ferber, etc.) are not appropriate until at least 4 months old.

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  • Your baby will find her own pattern somewhere around 4-6 weeks, but there will still be a lot of variation in it and depend on whether you are formula feeding or BFing.

    I would work on making sure your baby understands daytime is for awake time - eating, playing, singing, lots of light and activity and nighttime is for quiet, sleepy times.

    It would be unusual and lucky to have a young baby that sleeps more than 6 hours at night (which is the definition of STTN).

    I am totally pro-sleep training, but I wouldn't even attempt it until your LO is at least 4 months and even then, I'd be cautious if I didn't think she was eating enough during the daytime.

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  • I started a bedtime routine at around 5 weeks and he started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks. By sleeping through the night I mean sleeping for 8 hours straight. Unfortunately, that didn't mean that I got to sleep through the night since I'd go to bed a couple hours after him.

    I'd definitely recommend sticking to a routine. Also keep in mind that infants are constantly changing and developing. He may sleep through the night for a month and then have a growth spurt and not sleep through the night again for another month.

    It's only been 2 weeks so right now I'm sure you're exhausted. It does get better though so try not to stress too much about sleep training right now. A lot of experts don't recommend sleep training until 6 months.
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  • I agree with the PPs in that it's much more manageable to work toward a regular routine than attempt to sleep train. Your body will adjust. my recommendation is to go to bed as early as you can until your body adapts to your new working schedule. That will help make up for those middle-of-the-night feedings and night wakings. I found that around 12 weeks when I went back to work my twins had a pretty predictable routine so I knew when to pump at work. GL.

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  • While I did sleep train my kids I think 8-10 weeks is too young. I suggest getting Solve your child's sleep problems OR Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child which I think has a very realistic approach to sleep training.

    In general the sleep experts agree that 4-6 months is the window when sleep training OK.

    I got once a night until 11 months with my first and about 9 months with my second. It was fine with it to be honest. I just went to be a little earlier most nigths during that window.

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  • It really really depends on the child.  My first STTN at five years old.  My second STTN at 6 weeks (8-12 hours).  My third we just sleep trained at one year.  Previous to that he was up 3-5 times a night due to some reverse cycling.

    I would just try to get into a routine so you can train  your body and survive night wakings - it always helped me to know what to expect.  At 10-12 weeks you can try to shape the schedule more, gently.  I suggest a night time routine/bed time routine as a foundation and consistent MOTN sleep cues (dark rooms, quiet, all business no eye contact or chatter).

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  • thanks everyone! i had no idea about babywise so thank you for the heads up. it was clear that the advice in the book was very unrealistic though which was what prompted me to post this question.

    sleep training was probably the wrong term, i was really looking for any scheduling tips which y'all have helped with that sets your babe in the most successful position to sleep optimally at night. my child is actually only waking once at 2am after her 10pm feeding so far which is totally bearable so i was hoping there was some way to keep that pattern. but y'all are right she is going to have evolving need as she grows we will just have to modify and adjust to meet those needs.

    thanks for the real life perspective and book recommendation. VERY appreciated!
  • I don't think you can sleep train that young.  Some babies will STTN at that age, but I think it is just happenstance.

    My LO started STTN at exactly 3 months to the day - as in he goes to be bed about 8-9 pm and wakes between about 6:30-8:30 am.  Typically, he will sleep 10-12 hours straight.  However, we did NO sleep training.  He just started doing it on his own.  However, even now at 5 months he will occassionally wake up at 4 or 5 am if he soaks through his diaper or didn't get enough to eat at his last feeding.

    At 10-12 weeks, he was probably waking up one to two times a night.  I also went back to work at about 9-10 weeks.  What DH and I did was to alternate nights.  We literally even slept in different rooms so one of us could at least get a good night's sleep every other night.  We also had my Mother come in and stay my first week back to work to keep him at night.    

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  • Baby whisper is a great book for how to move your baby to a routine and I found supper helpful while on mat. Leave. The basic premise is at any age the baby's life should be this pattern EASY eat, activity, sleep and you time
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  • Honestly, it's extremely rare for babies to STTN by that point. I was VERY lucky that mine did, but I didn't do anything specific to get that to happen besides following her cues and seeing when she would begin her longest stretch of sleep and then establishing a bedtime routine around that. She has had roughly the same bedtime routine since she was like 4 weeks old.

    I've heard good things about Happiest Baby, but I echo what everyone else is saying about Babywise.

    And you are probably right...you will be a better mom and employee with more sleep, but the fact is that new babies tend to not sleep. You won't be the first parent to deal with sleep deprivation. We've all been there at some point. 

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  • Even if you get on a schedule know, you might want to anticipate a set back after you go back to work.

    You baby's days are very predictable now that you are home with him but going back to work will be a major change. My baby took about a month until he really got in the groove with me being gone all day.

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  • image shannm:
    I don't think you should even consider sleep training until 4 months.

    I agree.  In fact 4 months is still too early.

    You can start trying to teach good sleeping habits by establishing a routine and stuff but babies get hungry even at night and you might have to feed your baby.   

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  • image realityspeller:
    thanks everyone! i had no idea about babywise so thank you for the heads up. it was clear that the advice in the book was very unrealistic though which was what prompted me to post this question. sleep training was probably the wrong term, i was really looking for any scheduling tips which y'all have helped with that sets your babe in the most successful position to sleep optimally at night. my child is actually only waking once at 2am after her 10pm feeding so far which is totally bearable so i was hoping there was some way to keep that pattern. but y'all are right she is going to have evolving need as she grows we will just have to modify and adjust to meet those needs. thanks for the real life perspective and book recommendation. VERY appreciated!

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it! That's about what my LO was doing when I went back to work. It was very manageable. He did regress at about 5 months, and after awhile we did end up doing the Ferber method.  

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  • image HilarityEnsued:

    image shannm:
    I don't think you should even consider sleep training until 4 months.

    Well there is a different between "sleep training" and working toward a sleep/eat schedule.  

    Trying to put your baby on a schedule (while being flexible with it) is fine from much younger than 4 months old.  

    However, I do agree that sleep "training" (aka CIO, ferber, etc.) are not appropriate until at least 4 months old.

    I agree, I am all for schedules.  I was addressing her original title that said "sleep training" and her goal of getting more sleep.  My DD, as scheduled as she is, still loves to see me every 2.5 hours through the night if we let her.   So in that case, schedule did not equal more sleep.


  • Babies that age are not meant to STTN.....medically STTN just means a 6 hour stretch.

    You learn to go to bed earlier and still feed the baby at 3am, or twice, or whatever.  You get over it and remember that you had a baby to make a life, not to "train" a child to follow a schedule he or she is not ready for yet.  Most BF babies will still need to eat overnight until at least 6 months....

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