This post is part of an editorial series, “Sweet Sleep,” brought to you by the Fort Worth Moms Blog and Newborn Nightingales. We hope these pieces provide you with helpful information, encouragement, and insight as your navigate your family’s sleep journey.
You don’t know what kind of mom you’ll be until baby arrives, and even then, there are so many unknowns in the first few sleep-deprived weeks, even knowing up from down presents itself as a challenge! Scroll the Internet for less than 10 minutes, and you’ll likely find a vehement opinion for and a vehement opinion against just about any parenting choice under the sun. Mix in questions surrounding how to help baby sleep, and you’re destined to reach a state of overwhelm.
In the information age we inhabit, wouldn’t it be nice to have an expert to guide you in your decisions surrounding your baby’s safety and your baby’s sleep? An expert to field your questions and put your mind at ease regarding how to simultaneously help your baby sleep and help your family thrive?
Enter Newborn Nightingales.
As a registered nurse specializing in NICU and labor & delivery for more than 12 years, Melissa O’Neill founded Newborn Nightingales in 2012. Now a mother of three, after the birth of her first child, Melissa became increasingly interested in studies on newborn sleep habits, and she saw a need for quality in-home newborn nursing care and sleep education for new parents in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Presently, Newborn Nightingales offers in-home night nursing and sleep consultations, which include sleep schedules tailored to your family’s needs in DFW, as well as Houston. Our phone and email sleep consultations are available to anyone, anywhere.
At Newborn Nightingales, we believe a calm, consistent and confident household is possible, even with a newborn. Yes, you read that correctly. A common misconception leads parents to believe they need to wait until the baby is older to instill good sleep habits, but newborns can be excellent sleepers when you start implementing these healthy sleep habits early. Newborn Nightingales strives to take the scary part out of being a new mom by offering sound advice guided by an experienced nurse to confidently instill safe and consistent methods to yield lasting results.
So how do we do it? How do we get newborns sleeping well?
First of all, try to remove any fears surrounding the dreaded “cry it out” method and begin to understand and believe your baby can fall asleep on his or her own (without being rocked or “milk drunk”), and your baby can sleep increasingly long stretches until eventually sleeping through the night. A little crying is perfectly normal for baby; babies have energy to release and opinions to express. Fact: Every time they cry does not mean they are hungry.
At Newborn Nightingales, we employ and believe in intermittent, nurturing soothes to help baby learn to sleep longer stretches safely. Soothes begin in two- or three-minute increments, and at the end of three soothe cycles, if baby is still crying, we feed them. This allows the time between middle of the night feeds to stretch in length until they eventually disappear. As far as sleep environment goes, from day one, we encourage tight swaddles with arms down, a very dark room, a crib free of any distraction or unsafe items, and a white noise machine placed at crib level loud enough to be heard outside the room when the door is closed.
We often hear clients lament, “My baby thinks days are nights and nights are days.” Putting baby to bed at the same time each night and waking and feeding at the same time each morning strengthens the circadian rhythms and allows baby to understand night from day. When started early with our sleep program and scheduling, babies typically sleep through the night (9-11 hours) by roughly eight weeks of age.
Our methods lovingly bridge the gap for the new mom who wants the best for her new baby, but she might also feel intimidated to become the expert with all the conflicting information available. Through our sleep consultations offered in-home, over the phone, or via email, you receive guided advice to employ all the aforementioned methods and more — basic baby care help, a feeding/sleeping schedule for your baby, AND you receive six months of email access to Melissa and her wealth of knowledge to help you through any questions.
As a registered nurse specializing in NICU and labor & delivery for more than 12 years, Melissa O’Neill started Newborn Nightingales to help mothers and fathers everywhere navigate the uncharted waters of bringing home a newborn. It’s true what they say: nothing can fully prepare you for baby, but having a Newborn Nightingale to hold your hand and advocate for you certainly helps!