Sleep. Is this a foreign concept to you, mama? One of the biggest issues with being capable of managing mom-time effectively in our busy lives is the ability (or lack thereof) to recharge and properly rest. I would argue that one of the most impactful ways to supercharge your efficiency as a mom and make your time more valuable is to focus on sleep. Sleep for everyone! There are baby sleep hacks that every tired mom should know.
But, how do you do that when your little one is up at all odd hours? Also, what happens when you are their only form of comfortable? Don’t make the same mistakes that I made as a new mom! I struggled, surviving from day to day, living off of two hours and sometimes even 45 minute chunks of sleep at a time. It doesn’t have to be that hard. There is a way! Continue reading for a list of products, tips, and tricks that will help your little one learn to be a good sleeper and recharge your life.
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Baby sleep products that will hack the tired mom brain:
A friend recommended this adorable infant sleep sack. Much like my own daughter, her daughter also struggled to fall asleep on her own. One desperate night while my little one was refusing to sleep at about 3am, I hopped online, ordered the Nested Bean, and expedited the shipping. I didn’t care how much I had to spend, I just wanted some sleep.
After my hasty decision in the middle of the night, I read reviews and researched the product a little more the next day. I don’t recommend this approach, but sometimes, moms just get that desperate for sleep! After reading reviews, I saw that this was a highly praised product that offers growth with your child. The first day we got it we immediately ran it through the wash. Because of the little beans in the chest, it did take a bit to dry. But, once we got it on our daughter, we did notice a measurable increase in her ability to soothe herself to sleep. This sleep sack alone did not fix everything. We still had a long road of sleep training to go. I’ll chat about this later, but we did notice a positive reaction to the sack.
On the chest of each sack, there’s an appropriate amount of “beans” to simulate the feeling of having mom or dad’s hand on their chest. Each size up has more and more “beans” as the child grows older and stronger. That slight pressure soothes the baby and aids with sleep. We bought the 5-15 month size for our 7-month old. We were able to use it until we discontinued using sleep sacks all together and transitioned to a blanket at about 15 months.
Moving forward, I’ll definitely make sure that my future children have a Nested Bean and spare right from the start to help develop those good sleep habits!
When we started using the Taking Cara Babies sleep training course, she recommended having a video monitor. After much searching and review reading, and I mean a lot of reading, I settled on the Infant Optics video monitor. It has a closed circuit monitor and camera that I appreciated, decent enough coverage, and was moderately priced.
My only complaint with this monitor is that it tends to have connection trouble when too many walls are between the camera and the monitor. For example, when we are out in our garage, which is on the opposite side of the house, we sometimes will get a beeping singling that we are out of coverage. However, I’ve also been downstairs with perfect reception. I’ve even been chatting with a neighbor in my front yard, which is directly in front of, but a good distance away from my daughter’s room.
How does this help with baby sleep? Read on for how Taking Cara Babies recommends using it. Basically, having a great video monitor is crucial in being able to properly support your young sleeper in learning how to best sleep. It helps us know when we are needed and when our little one can sleep on her own!
Another recommendation from Taking Cara Babies. If you feel comfortable with having a stuffy of some sorts in the crib with your child (and, I would only consider this once your child is capable of maneuvering themselves out of danger). We found that placing a lovey in the crib while my daughter was in the beginning stages of sleep training helped her soothe herself. We’d see her on the monitor rubbing the lovey over her face and would cuddle up with it for comfort. Our lovey was a gift from our baby shower, but I would highly recommend purchasing one for your little one if they don’t have one.
My daughter’s teddy was a one-year birthday gift game changer. Right around 12 months, we hit another pretty significant sleep regression. Her uncle and aunt had given her this little plush teddy bear. From the moment she opened up the present, he was one of her besties. She takes him everywhere. Every night she gets him in her crib too and will snuggle him to fall asleep.
We recently took a road trip in which we forgot Teddy! And, we realized this mistake when it was too late to turn around. She did her best not to need him. But, she did have a harder time falling asleep and would yelp when we left the room, which is very uncharacteristic of her sleeping habits now. We have since bought additional Teddys to keep as backups just in case something were to go array again. Thank goodness, I haven’t had to pull a backup Teddy out yet, but I’m prepared if I ever have to!
When I was registering for my baby shower, I thought to myself, why would I want to incorporate pacifiers. If the child never knows they exist, then she’ll never be dependent on them. Thus, I’d never have to worry about having to wean.
That was before I learned all of the benefits: nighttime safety, sucking alternative, sleep aid, etc. At about nine-months, we naturally weaned our one-year-old from daytime binkies. So, my concern was invalid anyway. We still let her have them at night because it is such a big part of her sleep routine. The Mam pacifier ended up being my daughter’s favorite from all the samples that we had gotten with different registry perks. Continue reading on in my sleep hacks to learn about one of the biggest binky game changers in my daughters sleep skills.
Another sleep product that I fought. I figured… my child doesn’t need this! She’ll need to learn to sleep in many conditions. I was wrong. The completely dark room was not only a requirement of the Taking Cara Babies course, but a must for my very active child. We ended up going with Blinds.com which we used for all our other windows. They are a great low cost option for customizable window coverings.
However, if given the choice, I’d probably choose a different option or do a little more research. We ended up selecting an oversized over the window one, which still lets light in. Face palm. Our quick fix is to use painters tape to tape down the edges as needed. It’s only really important when it’s sunny, which doesn’t happen too often here in the Pacific Northwest. Looking back, the in window option is much better for total blackout. We opted to avoid that one because we wanted to keep the blinds in the window as well to give us some variation for daylight hours. Oh well, lesson learned. In the window options are much better.
I was also a little on-the-fence about having a sound machine. I honestly thought that they were just a marketing ploy to get parents to spend more money. Little did my naive, new mom self know was that those little machines allow us moms to have normal lives while our children sleep. Therefore, boosting productivity and making the household feel sane.
We originally registered for the —- because it was cute and offered some fun options. Plus, it was relatively inexpensive. But, the sound is quite tinsely and I find the sound relatively exhausting. When the Yogasleep Rohm Portable white noise machine was recommended to us by a friend, I tried it mostly because I loved the sound. It offers a few different sound options. It offers a bright white and gentle surf sound. My favorite is a deep white noise that sounds very natural. It is very pleasant from the parent’s perspective sleeping in the other room. It also has a rechargeable battery built in, so it makes it easy to take on trips, camping or even for car naps. The small size coupled with the hook and portable battery makes this one of my MUST haves for baby sleep at home or on the road!
Baby sleep hacks for tired moms
Baby Sleep Hack #1: Use a team of pacifiers
Binkies. Lots of binkies. Every tired mom should know this baby sleep hack! When I first decided to start trying to sleep train my sleepless seven-month-old, I realized real quickly that the millions of times my husband and I would replace my daughters binky throughout the night would be no more. We combatted the level of independence our daughter needed by playing a binky game during tummy time.
I laid her on her tummy, put 4-6 binkies out in front of her, and let her practice picking up the binkies and bringing them to her mouth. At first, I literally helped her pick it up and get it to her mouth so that she could understand the motion. Once she got the hang of picking the binky up, we worked on getting them to her mouth. When she mastered that step, I tried flipping her on her back, the way we put her down to sleep. She struggled with this step more, but, after lots of practice, she ended up getting it.
This whole pacifier practice process took about a week. We started sleep training when she had figured out how to get her binky back in her mouth. On night one of sleep training, she dropped her binky. Within about a half an hour of crying had found one and got it into her mouth.
The start of a routine
From there on out, I would put 4-6 binkies in her crib at night and during naps. This gives her the best chance to find a way to soothe quickly when she wakes up in between sleep cycles. It has been a huge life saver because she relies on her binky to self soothe and as long as she finds one quickly, she is able to put herself back to sleep before she wakes up too much.
Baby Sleep Hack #2: Put baby down drowsy, but awake
Everyone says this, and it can be so tempting to just let your adorable little munchkin fall asleep in your arms. I gave in to the temptation, and oh my goodness, we paid for it. My little one actually got to the point where she was up every 45 minutes and could only be soothed by mom. Falling asleep while breastfeeding was normal to her. The advice that I’ve heard, and should have listened to, is that even if they fall asleep, you have to wake them up just enough to get into the crib or bassinet drowsy but awake.
The reasoning for this is that when they fall asleep in our arms, all cozy and safe, then wake up alone in a different environment, it freaks them out. I’d freak me out too! By getting them drowsy with a solid bedtime or nap time routine, and then putting in the crib, it gives them a chance to grow the skill of falling asleep. And, let me tell you, it is most definitely a learned behavior!
Baby Sleep Hack #3: Have a bedtime or nap time routine
This is also a common baby sleep hack that is easy to cut corners and lose the benefits. We had a hard time of finding something sustainable, yet effective.
After going through a sleep training course until now at 18 months, here’s a sample of what our bedtime routine looks like:
About 15-30 minutes before bedtime, we migrate to my daughter’s room with all things needed for sleep. We bring her binkies if we had packed them for the workday. Then, once in the room, we dress her down to her onesie, let her play to get wiggles out, and keep all the super engaging toys away. We typically let her play with books and stuffed animals.
When we’ve deemed that she has wound down enough, we change her diaper and dress her in PJs. Then, we ask her to pick a book for us to read. We sit and snuggle while reading the book. Once we’ve read enough books (usually two), then, we’ll pray the Lord’s Prayer and a more personalized bedtime prayer. The idea is that some day the Lord’s Prayer can be something she can take over when she is ready. For now, she folds her hands together and bows her head. It also helps us keep her quiet while we’re praying.
After that, we’ll give her hugs and kisses, put her down with her teddy, say good night and walk out. If she stands up and yelps, we leave her to figure it out. Every once in a while when she’s due for a sleep regression, she’ll do that more, but most of the time she just lays there when we leave.
Baby Sleep Hack #4: Diet makes a difference!
I can’t confirm scientifically, but I can speak from experience. When my daughter was about 4 months old, we thought that we were experiencing the dreaded four month sleep regression. Which, we probably were; however, she often looked like she was in physical pain in her tummy.
Later on, we found out that she has many food allergies, two of the worst were dairy and eggs. At the time of her regression, I did not think to eliminate those foods from my diet even though I was exclusively breastfeeding. When I finally did minimize those foods, I did notice a difference in her nighttime demeanor. It can’t be truly confirmed, but I feel that it is too coincidental to be overlooked as a possible cause of her early sleep problems.
Baby Sleep Hack #5: Get help with Taking Cara Babies
I wouldn’t necessarily consider this tip a baby sleep hack, but I would definitely consider this a powerful tool in your parent knowledge bank! I’ve been referencing throughout this post that I’ve sleep trained my daughter. Taking Cara Babies ABCs of sleep is the sleep training course I used. And, I absolutely loved it! We purchased the course for 5-24 month olds and it changed everything!
The course is organized in manageable videos with a booklet to go along with it. I chose to take notes throughout the videos and shared the ideas with my husband to keep us on the same page.
Many of the ideas shared by this mother, neonatal nurse, and wife of a pediatrician are common sensical, yet something that myself and many other new parents overlook simply out of desperation to get our children to sleep. I found that the course was really for mom and dad more than the actual child. The whole premise is to empower our babies 5 months to two years old to learn how to sleep, and we do this by a gentle approach to crying it out. She talks about specifically timed intervals for check ins and does a great job of providing a peace of mind throughout the night.
To speak from experience, it took my daughter about a week longer than the promised timeline. Also, it seemed that our daughter cried about a total of two more hours than what was stated in the course as normal for each of the fourteen days. She also took an extra week to really learn how to consistently put herself to sleep.
We followed the directions to a T, but presume that we may have just built up that many bad habits or have an extraordinarily stubborn child. She fits that mold to a T in every other area of her life, so I wouldn’t put it past her. Cara mentions the headstrong children actually learn quicker, but I can see how much my daughter digs her heels in when she wants something, so I just want to put that out there, that she eventually chose to sleep and make it a nice experience for everyone.
Every baby’s sleep journey is different, and there are many strategies, products, and pieces of advice out there. Ultimately, every parent and child is different, and each of us find what works best for our own children. Chances are, each child we have will need a different strategy and approach as well. That’s the beauty of our own uniqueness. So, when it all boils down, as long as you are protecting your child and giving them the best opportunity to find sleep success, you are doing an amazing job! No matter how you get there! You’ve got this tired momma! You can sleep again!
Did you enjoy these baby sleep hacks for a tired mom? Be sure to like and subscribe for additional efficient mom hacks and tricks. Also, be sure to check out my Tips for Efficiency in Crazy Mom Life to learn about other ways I’ve learned to super charge my mom-fficiency. have some great baby sleep tricks? I’d love to hear what your MUST do sleep strategies or products are in the comments!
The Mama behind Momma Life 2 the Fullest
Hi Mama! I’m so glad that you are here! My name is Ashlyn and I am a wife, full-time mom and full-time university faculty among other less important titles, such as coffee junkie, outdoor lover, craft and Pinterest enthusiast, energetic traveler, activities planner, and to-do list master. I find that my day sometimes feels like a swirl of diapers, meals, meetings, chores, etc. And, I created this blog as a landing spot to share my experiences and purpose to live this crazy mom life to the absolute fullest.
I was born and raised in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I was homeschooled for the majority of my childhood, which offered me some unique traveling and cultural opportunities. I earned my degree in English and my Masters degree Instructional Design. Before landing my current, work-from-home job, I also taught in the classroom as a 9th grade English-Language Arts teacher.
When we had our daughter, I knew that I wanted to do everything I could to be as present as possible for my little one, so that’s when I found my current flexible-schedule, work-from-home job at an online university.
Mom life is a true gift from God. We were selected to be our little humans mommies, and that is a tremendous blessing and a huge responsibility. This life isn’t meant to just get by. This life is meant to live to the fullest, and our children deserve the most present, life-breathing versions of us.
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