I wish I could say I used some magical formula and all of the sudden my baby started sleeping through the night. That was very much not the case.
Let's start off by saying that I am someone who values a routine and everything I researched about babies and sleep, is that they also value a routine. Win, win right? The moment my baby was born, I busted out all the sleep schedule books and the very expensive sleep training course I just had to have. And in between nursing, burping, changing and recovering from my c-section, I mapped out the routine that I felt worked best for me. I timed my feeds, recorded how many pees and poops my daughter did that day and took note of how many "puppy naps" she had, followed by her awake windows. It. Was. Exhausting.
Whenever I talked to a friend or a family member, the first question out of their mouth was always, "is she sleeping through the night"? Occasionally she was but it definitely wasn't "routine". I felt defeated and found myself going back through the books and the expensive sleep training course only for my daughter to continue to not sleep. This cycle went on for months which eventually turned into middle of the night google searches only to be told my baby was just going through another "regression". By her first birthday, we were still dealing with at least one middle of the night wake-up - I swear I aged 5 years in those 12 months. The months continued to go by and eventually my daughter just started sleeping through the night on her own. Our routine had finally arrived and I felt like a new person! Some how my husband felt the same (I've heard that you can't hear a crying baby from your partner's side of the bed). And finally when we got into our rhythm, she got croup. Followed by six new teeth coming in all at the same time. And it was at the moment, something clicked for me. That this was just my new normal and the sooner I accepted it, the weight of worrying and trying to figure out why my child wasn't sleeping was lifted.
As this was my experience as a first time mom, my only advice that instead of taking care of baby, you make sure to take care of mama first. I am now pregnant with my second baby and can already say that I will definitely take a different approach. One that will still involve a schedule, but we will call it "Schedule Light".
And for those nights when you can't go back to sleep, my only suggestion is retail therapy.
Here are some of my favorite splurges for both mama & baby: