A baby's sleep changes so much in their first year, I thought it would be interesting to look back on Olive's first year of sleep in the form of a Q & A!
What was Olive's sleep like as a newborn?
Olive pretty much slept around the clock her first two months of her life. She woke up every 3-4 hours to feed, and usually went back to sleep right away. She only had 2 brief alert periods during the daytime the first two months, and I was actually worried that she was sleeping so much compared to Charlie! But she was born 5 weeks early, so I think she may have been a sleepier than average baby. The newborn stage when they sleep anytime, anywhere is so awesome. It's so much fun to hold your teeny tiny baby and watch them sleep. I really miss that.
Has Olive always slept in a crib? Did she cosleep or sleep in a bouncer or swing?
Olive has slept in her crib from day 1, and we've never coslept since I'm a night owl, and Mr. Bee is a very deep sleeper. I'm also way too anxious to cosleep, especially since Olive was such a peanut when she was born. We let her nap in her swing when she was a newborn, but she was never really a fan of sleeping in it, though she did like playing in it when she was awake.
Did you swaddle? When did you stop swaddling?
We were using a Summer Infant Swaddleme, and decided to wean her cold turkey at 4 months. At that point the swaddle just seemed to be disturbing her sleep rather than helping it because she'd wake herself up trying to free her arms. We put her in a sleep sack with no transition at all, and she was fine. In fact she slept 11 straight hours that first night! Alas it was just a fluke.
Does she sleep through the night?
Olive has slept through the night (10+ hours) a couple of times in the pat year, but they were complete flukes. I don't think she will sleep through the night until I night wean or sleep train. She's woken up anywhere from 1-4 times a night for most of her life. Luckily she usually sleeps 13 hours at night, and more if we let her. I'm such a night owl, it's actually easier for me to wake up in the middle of the night than to wake up early like I did with Charlie, who woke up at 5:30am for a very long time.
Did she go through any sleep regressions, like the famous 4-month or 9-month sleep regression?
Olive never went through any sleep regressions, but her sleep hasn't really improved much as she's gotten older either. She was waking up 4 times a night through 8 months. Then 3 times a night through 9 months. Then twice a night through 10 months. And once a night through 11 months. I was really hopeful that she'd drop that last waking on her own, but she's been sick most of the past month and has been waking up 2-4 times a night again. She's better now, but she's still waking up 2-4 times a night.
Did you ever sleep train or nap train?
Olive has been an excellent napper since we nap trained at 8 months. Prior to that she was taking naps that were 30 minutes or less. She couldn't fall asleep on her own and I was rocking her or nursing her to sleep. Post nap-training, we usually wake Olive up from every nap after an hour and a half so her bedtime isn't too late, but she can easily sleep over 2 hours if we let her. She was the easiest baby in the world to nap train, and only cried a couple minutes a couple times.
We haven't night trained yet though. I have a ton of excuses. I don't want to wake up Charlie. I like the night time snuggles. But mostly.... she's my baby!
Did you ever have to re-sleep train after illness or travel?
I was worried that we'd have to re-sleep train after we traveled abroad, but she fell right back into her nap routine pretty easily. Even when she's sick -- and she was sick for most of the past month -- she still naps well. But her night time sleep has never been great.
Did teething or physical milestones like rolling over or standing affect Olive's sleep?
Teething never seemed to bother both my kids that much. And though she started rolling over at 5 months, she didn't start consistently sleeping on her stomach until she was closer to 8 months. I think babies often become better sleepers once they can sleep on their bellies. That's why I think 4 1/2 months was the perfect time to sleep train Charlie (when he started sleeping on his stomach), and 8 months was the perfect time to nap train Olive.
Olive's night time sleep is worse this month than it was last month, and that could be because she's working on some physical milestones. She only started cruising in the past couple of days, though she's been pulling herself up to stand for over a month.
Will she nap anywhere else other than her crib, like in the stroller or carrier?
I wish! She used to fall asleep in the stroller or carrier pretty easily when she was younger. Now she will only fall asleep in her stroller if she's really, really tired. She did nap well with a back carrier when we were recently traveling at 11 months, but that was also probably because she was so tired. She pretty much takes all of her naps in her crib.
When did Olive drop from 4 naps to 3, and then 3 naps to 2?
Olive dropped her fourth nap between 5-6 months old. At that time she was taking 3, 30 minute naps, so she often had a very early bedtime. She dropped her third nap between 8-9 months old after we nap trained and her naps lengthened. Charlie dropped his naps at the exact same times. Charlie dropped his morning nap at 15 1/2 months, so if Olive continues to follow the same path as Charlie, she'll be on one nap in 3 months. I can't wait until then because both kids will be on the same schedule, and it'll be so much easier to go out and do things!
What is Olive's nap routine?
5-10 minutes before her nap, I put her in her sleep sack, and we sit on the floor of her room and read 3-4 books together. Then I turn on white noise, shut off the light, hold her over my shoulder while singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, then put her in her crib awake with her lovey (a burp cloth).
What is Olive's bedtime routine?
We start the bath at 6:00pm, followed by lotion, pj's, and sleep sack. I turn on the white noise, shut off the lights, and nurse her to sleep. Since she's over 1, we'll probably replace nursing with books at some point. But I think I'm going to be nursing her for some time still.
What is Olive's current schedule?
Her schedule hasn't changed much from 8.5 months - 12.5 months. We wake her up at 7:30 every morning. I think she's extending her awake interval right now though, so we may have to push her bedtime a little bit later.
7:30am – wake up
10:00am – 11:30am Nap 1 (1 1/2 hour)
2:30pm – 3:30pm Nap 2 (1 hour)
6:30pm – Bedtime
If you could change anything about Olive's sleep, what would you change?
I would want her to sleep through the night! I love her early bedtime, that she's not an early riser, and that she naps great. But I'm really tired of waking up at night since I'm a night owl and she often wakes up right after I fall asleep. I know it's totally habit since she doesn't really nurse when she wakes up in the middle of the night. I've heard from other moms whose kids didn't sleep through the night until they weaned. But it's difficult for me to sleep train/night wean her because when she's crying, I know she's going to be crying for me and because she wants to nurse!
I'd also love if Mr. Bee were able to put Olive down for the night, and tend to her middle of the night wakings. But since I have the boobs and she doesn't take a bottle, it's going to be tough to make that transition. I'm not sure what I'll do in the near future -- I will probably sleep train at some point -- but I really, really would love to sleep through the night.
I hope this was helpful! If so, some of the other Bees can participate. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments!