11 week sleep routine

[My last post about sleep for a while, I promise! It’s a valuable commodity, though, and wish I would have read more about sleep routines and tips while I was pregnant]

It still mystifies me that babies fight sleep.

Someone tells me to go to sleep… um, twist my arm. Goodnight 😉

Even though we definitely have some all-nighters over here, I feel like we’ve got a solid nap and bedtime routine going.

All babies are different, but here’s what’s been working for us:


-Since we’ve been following The Baby Whisperer routine during the day (Eat, Activity, Sleep, You-time), Livi is ready for her nap within 1-2 hours of each time she’s awake. When she starts to get sleepy, she’ll smile less, kind of zone out and start to yawn. I’ll try to catch it by the first yawn, so she doesn’t get overtired, decide if she’s going to sleep in the Pack n’ Play or in my arms- usually it’s about half and half each day.

-I’ll close the blinds, take the hanging toys out of the Pack n’ Play, turn on the Pandora Lullaby station,


(the swoonmaster himself, aka Michael Buble, is frequently played)

and tell her we’ll see the sun in a little while- it’s naptime.

-Rock her to sleep either in the rocker or bouncing on the stability ball.

rock or bounce

When she’s crashed, I’ll either enjoy smelling her baby hair and just relax, grab the Kindle and read a book as I hold her, or put her in the Pack n’ Play. (Thank you so much to the mom who left the tip to put her head down first so it doesn’t startle her awake- she actually stays asleep for a little while now!)

-If she’s in the Pack n’ Play, it’s the perfect chance to blog or answer emails, clean up around the house, start dinner, or take a little snooze myself.

sleeping beauty

*One of the things I’ve learned in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child is to respect naptime. That book and The Baby Whisperer made a great point in stating that our bed isn’t in the middle of the living room with loud noises and a TV on, so we should respect the baby’s chance to rest and make it a peaceful environment for them. Liv still naps when we’re out and about or in her carseat, it’s not the same quality of sleep, so when we’re home for naps, I’ll turn the TV off, play some pretty lullaby music for her, so she can sleep soundly. I’ve found that even since I’ve started turning off the TV for naps, she’s slept longer and isn’t cranky pants when she wakes up. She’ll coo and make funny sounds, and when I go to see her, she’s full of smiles 🙂


-Earlier is better! In the beginning, we made the mistake of putting Livi to bed when we went to bed: around 11:30. We figured that if she stayed up late, she’d sleep later, and it was quite the opposite. We’d have an overtired, angry little elf on our hands, and we’d party all night. Now she’s going to bed between 7-8 and sleeping so much better (and later! wahoo!).

-When we put her to bed, we’ll put her jammies on, swaddle her, turn on the Jewel CD and Tom will rock her to sleep in the nursery. He’s usually just getting home from work, so it’s his cuddle time with Liv, and I’ll hang out with them in the nursery until she falls asleep. We’ll take her into our room, turn on the salt lamp, put her in the bassinet with the Sleepy Sheep on, and turn on the baby monitor. We’ll stay and watch her for a couple of minutes to make sure she’s happily snoozing and then head downstairs.

-Since we started putting Livi to bed earlier, Tom can unwind after work, I’ll hit up the gym and we get some time to catch up and hang out.

-Dream feeding is amazing. There’s more info about it in The Baby Whisperer, but the idea is to feed her while she’s still half asleep. I’ll pick her up out of the bassinet and give her a bottle around 10:30 before we go to bed, and with her eyes closed, she sucks the entire thing down.

So that’s been working for us, for now 🙂 The funny thing is that once you find something that works, something will change, and you adapt and roll along with that. Definitely keeps you on your toes!

I’m just happy that I’ve finally been able to figure out her cues, get a routine going (instead of going through a checklist of 5 things everytime she cries- I can anticipate what she needs in advance, thanks 100% to the books I’ve read), and feel comfortable taking her out and about. I remember the first time I took her out in public by myself, to a midwife appointment when she was a little over two weeks old, I was so nervous. Getting dressed myself (before she liked the babysitter balance or bouncy seat), packing the diaper bag and putting her into the carseat, I was worried she’d be crying, I’d have no idea what to do, and that disaster would ensue. It was totally fine. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t feel like I’m guessing all day, and that we can go out and about, no problem.

She’s awake now, so we’re off to get her a floppy hat and hit up the street fair 🙂

Have a happy Sunday! See ya later with lots of pics from the day <3



Where’s the most random place you’ve fallen asleep? In my retail days, we had all-night inventory two nights in a row, and I was there for both nights, all night. Late on the second night, I may or may not have fallen asleep on the floor, next to a shelf of pants. I told my boss about it, and clocked out early to make up for the time integrity fail :/

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  1. Heidi on March 25, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Hi Gina!

    Livi really is going through a growth spurt. 🙂 Your sleep talk reminded me of a trick my parents used when my brother and I were growing up. They, too, would put us to bed at 7-8 at night, which gave my parents time to themselves to relax and catch up on each other’s day. The kids get good rest and the parents keep their sanity!

    Keep up the great work. You are an inspiration to so many people. ~H

    • Fitnessista on March 25, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      it’s a great balance that way!
      thank you- that warmed my heart <3 have a wonderful day!

  2. Jaime on March 25, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I haven’t read the sleep whisperer but want to! I am 38 weeks pregnant – do you think I can start these routines right away or do we have to wait a few months? what do the books recommend?

    • Fitnessista on March 25, 2012 at 1:59 pm

      the healthy sleep habits stuff is recommended around 4 months – we haven’t started any of that yet – but the baby whisperer is helpful right away

  3. lindsey on March 25, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    I love reading these. It reminds me of so much stuff that happened why my kids were babies, and gives me new ideas for our next baby. I love that salt lamp – I will definitely have to invest in one for our new nursery.

    • Fitnessista on March 25, 2012 at 2:00 pm

      it’s perfect! not too bright, but the perfect amount of warm light to see what’s going on

  4. Melissa on March 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    It sounds like you are doing an amazing job being a mommy!!! It’s such a fun/hard/crazy job! Question, when you do dream feeding do you change her diaper?

    • Fitnessista on March 25, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      Thank you! Yes, the hardest, most amazing job 🙂
      Not unless it feels heavy or super soaked

      • Marie on March 25, 2012 at 7:13 pm

        another question about dream feeding – do you keep her swaddled? (i’m thinking yes?)

  5. Runmarun on March 25, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Yay! That is wonderful that your beautiful daughter is on a good sleep schedule!! It makes such a difference when there are a few parts of your days that you can start to rely on. Early on I too tried putting our daughter to bed when we went to bed and it was a disaster!!! So many overtired evenings with tears- her and me!!!

  6. Bee @ thebusybeewrites on March 25, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    I love reading your baby tips! We don’t have kids yet, but it is something that we plan for our future. It is great to be able to read up on some of these things before that time arrives. So glad that you and Liv are doing so well. She is beautiful!

    To answer your question…During my undergrad years, when I was taking way too many classes and working multiple jobs, I fell asleep in the shower. Standing up. Leaning against the wall. Water running. Shampoo in hair. That was an obvious hint to take a weekend off! Then, during my second year of teaching, I got the flu in the middle of the day. I took the kids to lunch, then curled up under my desk and took a nap. Technically, it was my lunch time, so I wasn’t “on the clock.” Still felt a little guilty, but that cat nap got me through the rest of the day!

  7. Katherine on March 25, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    i am just curious – you mentioned you give her a bottle…how’s breastfeeding going? are you supplementing?

    • Fitnessista on March 25, 2012 at 2:42 pm

      it’s going well, considering i only have one side that works 🙂 i pump milk in addition to nursing to make sure she’s getting enough

    • Fitnessista on March 26, 2012 at 11:08 pm

      i didn’t want to open a can of worms in the comment section, but i wrote about a post about supplementing- it will be up tomorrow <3

  8. Laury on March 25, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Great tips! I wish I read more about sleep when I was pregnant too. I had not time/ have no time to read..I don’t even know how you fit it all in! Seriously! Between blogging and life and reading all of these book…how do you do it!?? I serisouly want your secret. I am a major fail at time management. Ha.

    Anyway. Ella was AMAZING with sleeping the first 4 months. She was in a good routine and would sleep 5-6 hours straight through the night! Things started changing around 4 1/2 months and now she’s 10 months and she’s it’s so frustrating because, on the one hand she’s just is more interested in the world around her than she is sleep..but on the other, I think by this time I deserve 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep and I don’t get it 😉 She’s up at 11:30, then up at 2:30 or 4:30. I have a few books on my library list I need to pick up and try some new things. It’s so hard by this point because we really need our sleep. I feel in the beginning it’s almost like you adapt to it, like it’s a new found energy or something for new moms…but now it’s just plain exhausting! It’s a combo of teething and being interested in things, and us…I know giving in (because I refuse to let her cry it out, I just can’t!). She stands up and gets so hysterical…the rubbing her belly thing and laying her down without picking her up hasn’t worked. I guess I need to be more consistent! Back when people used to ask how she slept and we said GREAT…I feel they all put the malooks on us 😉

    It’s sounds like you’re doing awesome. This is the toughest most amazing job in the world! I have a friend who just had triplets and I am in total awe of her. Newborn triplets..can you imagine!? Amazing.

    Ella had the same exact swaddle as Liv, that one was my favorite..pink leopard is where it’s at!

    • Fitnessista on March 25, 2012 at 2:52 pm

      triplets? i can’t even imagine doing this times 3. i guess you make it work, though!
      one of the tips i read in healthy sleep habits is to have the dad be the one to go comfort the baby in the middle of the night for a few nights, because by the time they’re that old, they’re not waking up because they’re hungry- they’re waking up for comfort. the author says that if the dad is the one to go get the baby and rock it back to sleep for a few nights, it helps the baby sleep longer? it’s interesting.
      naptime is when i get anything done, because while livi is awake, she’s eating or we’re playing- i keep the computer closed while she’s awake. so i’ll read while she naps and i hold her, or blog, do chores 🙂 there are a lot of days over here when nothing gets done though 😉

      • Laury on March 25, 2012 at 4:20 pm

        I just told Michael that…his mom actually said the same thing! I know it’s not hunger at this age, and she usually goes back to sleep! We will have to try it, thanks!! And yes..naptime is golden I usually et my chores done then too–I feel like I’m on a timed clock haha. I clean up from lunch, etc, get ready to go back to work, clean house, but I do need to get more reading in!!

    • Sara on March 25, 2012 at 3:24 pm

      I was reading through the posts and I hope you don’t mind if I butt in, but you sound like me and so many other moms out there. I finally found the baby sleep site. It has amazing information and a huge community of zombie parents. It has saved us and we are now getting sleep! I just feel like telling everyone about Nicole. I read all the books, but the books couldn’t talk back to me about my particular situation, so we got a plan that was tailored just to us and our philosophies and our baby ( i couldn’t do cry it out) The baby sleepsite takes all the info on sleeping and helps you decide which is right for you and your kiddos. okay. i pass it a long to all moms that appear to be struggling in the sleep dept. even if you din’t get a plan, there is a ton of info on the website free of charge that i frequently use. babysleepsite.com

      • Laury on March 25, 2012 at 4:21 pm

        thanks, Sara! This is great info!! I think you’re right each baby is an individual and while the books can provide so many great tips, sometimes you need to find what works best for your baby (which is not always what’s in the books). I am definitely going to check out that site and do more research!

      • Fitnessista on March 25, 2012 at 10:49 pm

        thank you so much for sharing this resource!

  9. j3nn on March 25, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Aww, dream feeding sounds so fantastic! What a great way for her to fall back asleep through the night.

  10. Jenn on March 25, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Gr. My problem is when I put her down for naps she instantly wakes up! And then I have to hold her. Any tips? Do you let her cry? My babe is 7 weeks 🙂

    • Fitnessista on March 25, 2012 at 2:55 pm

      livi did that for a while, too. i rock her or bounce her until she’s crashed- a noodle. then when i put her down (head touches the mattress first), i’ll keep one hand on her chest and one on her legs for a minute or so, just so she can settle in and still feels like i’m holding her. if she wakes up, i rock her back to sleep. i can’t let her cry- it breaks my heart

  11. Coco on March 25, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    It sounds like quite the science equation you have going on there! I have always thought the lack of sleep and being woken up by crying baby would be the worst part of the early child years for parents. I can only image how hard it must be for the baby when she’s tired- I know how I feel when I’m exhausted and it’s not a good time! I’m glad you all have a system rolling and I hope it doesn’t change for a while so you can catch up on your rest too 🙂

    • Fitnessista on March 25, 2012 at 10:52 pm

      you and me both, friend 🙂

  12. Morgan @ Morganshines on March 25, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    I’m newly pregnant and just book marked this particular post for future reference… I have also started reading a few books mentioned above and it is amazing how much sense the info makes but you would never think of it on your own lol.

    • Fitnessista on March 25, 2012 at 10:50 pm

      seriously! it’s all very logical, but i never would have thought of it like that

  13. Andrea on March 25, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    What books do you suggest reading while pregnant?

    • Fitnessista on March 25, 2012 at 10:47 pm

      it depends on what type of birth you’d like to have, but i loved ina may’s natural guide to childbirth, your best birth, the bump pregnancy book, and pregnancy, childbirth and the newborn
      i definitely recommend taking a class on breastfeeding and reading a little bit about that to if it’s something you’d like to do. even with the books i read and classes i took, it was more challenging for me than the actual birth

  14. mary @ what's cookin with mary on March 25, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    After a wild night out, I had to work the front desk at the real estate office I was employed at and totally fell asleep sitting up at my desk … elbows on the desk, holding my head up with my hands. I was woken up by the ringing phone. I startled me so bad I didn’t fall asleep again the rest of my shift.

    I like the way your pandora app looks. We use pandora one and it doesn’t look as cool. Any idea if that skin/ app has a name ??

  15. Averie @ Averie Cooks on March 25, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Where’s the most random place you’ve fallen asleep? = Girl I can sleep anywhere now that I’m a mom. Have 10 mins to spare out of the blue? Great, I can have sleep 🙂

    Glad you guys are finding your groove and yes, reading the cues, getting better at that part of it…it all comes with time and there’s just no way even if you had read more when pregnant that it really would have mattered bc you don’t know til you’re IN the thick of it anyway, what’s really going to work or not…at least not for us!

  16. The Mommy on March 25, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    You said it perfectly – you’re at the point where it no longer feels like you’re guessing all the time. Isn’t it just the.best.feeling? 🙂 To finally feel like when everyone tells you that you’re doing a great job that it’s actually true? Woohoo!

    Random sleep spot = at a conference, during a lunch seminar with a keynote speaker (the Craigslist guy) …with my boss sitting at the table in front of me!

  17. Jen Villa on March 25, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    I’m reading Secrets of the Baby Whisperer now (I’m 24 weeks pregnant) what other books do you recommend? My Kindle is slowly becoming baby crazed 🙂 I’m so glad you update us on sleep! I feel like no one is fully prepared for it (or lack there of), and I love that you admit you wish you would have read more about it while pregnant! So thanks for that 🙂

    You’re helping us moms behind you! Keeping us fit, positive and rested (lol).

  18. Sonia the mexigarian on March 25, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    I fell asleep on the swing in our backyard once. I remember swinging along, closing my eyes feeling very comfy on such a warm day and then woke up in bed…. Dunno if I passed out or swung myself to sleep. I was 8 or 10 at the time. I had a few bruises and scrapes from where I fell off the swung apparently. Lol. Very random.

  19. mary on March 25, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    If it gets to the point where you no longer want to hold her through half her naps or rock her to sleep every single time, that’s normal. I don’t remember a lot of that first year but I do recall lying down in my bed with my daughter for her naps and one day deciding I was tired of having to do that and I knew it was time to make her a more independent sleeper. Moms need me time in the day, and nap times is about all we get. So don’t feel selfish when/if you get there.

    • Fitnessista on March 25, 2012 at 10:34 pm

      the good news is that she usually crashes within a couple of minutes- i don’t have to rock or bounce her to sleep for very long. if it took a long time, i could see myself eventually wanting to stop, but for now, it’s nbd.
      and you’re totally right about nap times being the only me time- it’s important to take advantage of it

      • mary on March 26, 2012 at 1:11 am

        Oh good! I used to have to rock mine for the longest time sometimes, standing up! And mine was ginormous. So hard.

  20. E on March 25, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Gina, there’s more than one book with The Baby Whisperer in the title. Which is the one you like? I want to buy it as a gift for a friend.

  21. Shannon on March 25, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    This post makes me want to take a nap, and im young, single, and have no baby. Just like naps. Livi looks so peaceful in that tranquil environment you set up for her!

    • Fitnessista on March 25, 2012 at 11:44 pm

      i was a fan of naps, too, wayyyyyy before baby. definitely think the siesta needs to be implemented in the US 🙂

  22. Coleen on March 26, 2012 at 1:21 am

    I drove up to a ski resort with my sister one Saturday but didn’t want to ski. It was a beautiful sunny morning so I sat out on picnic table reading. I felt a little tired so I laid my head down on my backpack. Next thing I know I hear my sister calling my name. She had been skiing all morning and I had been asleep for hours. When I woke up there were other people sitting at the picnic table with me. I think this was when I realized that I really can sleep anywhere if I am tired.

  23. Nichole on March 26, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I have a one month old and during the night (sometimes for naps as well) I’m rocking her for 45 minutes trying to get her to sleep. If I attempt to lay her down in her bassinet before she’s completely asleep, she instantly wakes up and the process begins all over again. Doesn’t matter how I place her or how long I keep my hand on her tummy. Those beautiful eyes instantly spring open or open just as I lay back in my bed:) Anybody else deal with this? Any tips?

  24. Kathryn on March 26, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    I definitely bookmarked this post! With our baby girl coming in June I’m trying to learn all I can about newborns/babies! Thanks so much for all the wonderful book suggestions 🙂

  25. Jenn on March 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    I have a 3 month old too. She’s an excellent sleeper at night, but does not like to take naps during the day, I’ve tried to implement the Baby Whisperer EASY routine, and we’re making progress. Her naps typically only last about 20ish minutes though, i was just curious how long Livi naps for?

    • Fitnessista on March 26, 2012 at 3:55 pm

      it can be anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour… you never know, haha. she usually gets at least two longer naps during the day

  26. Sara on March 27, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    It is sooo important for babies to learn good sleep habits. We made the mistake of letting our niece stay up until she fell asleep in my arms or on the couch. At 6, getting her into bed is still a ridiculous exercise. I wish I’d known more, read more.

    Most crazy place I’ve fallen asleep is when I was severely jetlagged and on a train from Milan to Como (not a long trip). The train and the jetlag put me to sleep for about 6 hours and I woke up somewhere in Switzerland and in a complete panic.

  27. Jamie @Food in Real Life on March 28, 2012 at 10:14 am

    I see you have your phone right in the pack and play with Livi. Mobile devices are everywhere of course, but they give off quite a bit of radiation and babies skulls are not fully formed yet. If you can, I’d try and keep the phone farther away from her head.

    Just one of many articles on this topic:

    • Fitnessista on March 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      that’s why i always put it on airplane mode when it’s in the pack n play. i just use it for the white noise app 🙂

  28. Roselyn @ A Balanced Fit on March 28, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    That bedtime rule is good for older kids too. If we try to keep our kids (6 yrs and almost 4 yrs) up past 9, they sleep horribly and are up earlier than expected. We’re still pretty strict about bedtime with our kids. 🙂

  29. Sarah on March 29, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    You hit the nail on the head! The biggest plan to make during pregnancy is BE READY TO DITCH YOUR PLAN! The little ones dictate things and we’re just here to provide for them – keep them safe, fed, and content 🙂 Plan B might work better, or C, D…..X, Y, Z. Do what works and forget the plan 🙂
    The best plans can quickly be squashed by these teeny tiny human beings!

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