The Cradlewise sleep recipe that worked for us
By Cradlewise Staff
The Cradlewise sleep recipe that worked for us
By Cradlewise Staff
For JP, 32, and Allison, 30, Covid may have messed with their plans for a big 2020 wedding and early pregnancy, but the old saying “everything happens for a reason” still rings true: Their baby Colin Patrick, born in September, is everything they dreamed of and more.
“It’s so cliche to say but everything does change in a moment. Knowing that someone now is on this earth that relies solely on you two as parents is such an amazing thing,” says JP.
Allison and JP navigated remote work, hospitalization, weeks apart, and a late-night run to Home Depot to prepare for Colin’s perfectly timed arrival. Their special little soul is now 5 months old and thriving. Here’s their story.
Allison and JP’s journey to finally meeting Colin
Allison’s pregnancy was smooth sailing until she reached 24 weeks when she started experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions.
Braxton Hicks is irregular, mild contractions that are common and show up around the third trimester. However, for Allison, by 32 weeks her Braxton Hicks contractions were so continuous that she was hospitalized and put on bed rest for four weeks. On the bright side, it gave her and JP “time to be just the two of us, which was nice.”
As for JP, he stepped into “dad mode.” Covid restrictions prevented him from staying at the hospital overnight. So, he took a midnight drive down to Home Depot, got everything they needed, and finished Colin’s nursery.
Another silver lining for Allison was getting used to the hospital, which can cause some anxiety for parents-to-be. While Allison always wondered what her hospital experience would be like, “all of a sudden, it was like, ‘Oh, I’m a pro. This is fine.’”
Ultimately, high blood pressure meant Allison’s labor needed to be induced. But as she was walking in for the induction, her water broke. “Colin couldn’t wait, it was just meant to be that day,” she laughs. Twelve hours later, he was born.
“It was everything that you picture in the movies — 10 people in the room. It doesn’t matter if it’s a custodian wanting to come in; everyone was welcome at that point,” Allison remembers.
“And then it was just the most beautiful thing ever. Immediately you forget about all the pain. You forget about everything you went through up to this point. ‘An hour ago, you were inside me, and you weren’t part of this family; now you are.’”
The happy tears of postpartum
Allison was no exception to the hormonal after-effects of pregnancy. Having struggled with anxiety, she was afraid of postpartum depression, but thankfully, her tears were happy ones.
“I would say for the first 7 to 10 days, I cried 20 times a day. Not sad crying; I would be crying hysterically just looking at him and thinking: ‘I can’t believe you’re mine.’”
No one prepared Allison for the whirlwind that is postpartum hormones. However, asking for support can go a long way in safeguarding your mental health once the baby arrives, and that’s just what Allison and JP did. “We did a really good job, I think, early on, of being a team and understanding when one person just didn’t have it in them,” says JP.
How Colin uses Cradlewise
JP, Allison, and Colin’s Cradlewise journey began as a gift. Colin’s grandparents purchased the Cradlewise for him, and many of its features have played a role in his sleep. Colin’s current sleep recipe includes a few different Cradlewise settings.
“We use the sleep activity a lot,” JP shares. “We use it to see how he’s sleeping overnight, even when he’s not crying or awake. It’s great to see the patterns and trends of when he is a little bit restless or when he may be moving around.”
“On those nights when he does wake up out of a sound sleep, it’s usually at the same time intervals,” JP notes. “So, that’s something we both use every morning; we open up the app and discuss it.”
Allison’s parents and sisters and JP’s parents also use Caregiver access via the Cradlewise app, which means they can view Colin from anywhere or while babysitting.
The Cradlewise built-in monitor with live video and audio allows you and your family to view your baby from anywhere in the world.
“So, they’re able to watch him and everything, which is great. My mom will text me and say: Oh, Colin’s stirring. She gets all the notifications,” says Allison.
JP found that the Caregiver functionality was easy to set up and explain: “Honestly, once you have a user set up for the app, it’s pretty straightforward, which is nice. We’re able to sit each individual down for two minutes, and they understand how to navigate everything.”
Colin’s Cradlewise sleep recipe
- Manual mode:
JP shares, “So, currently, we’re in manual mode. Every time we put him in the Cradlewise, we immediately start the bouncing. It definitely helps him stay asleep especially now when he’s down.”
- Bounce intensity (Low to medium):
When it comes to bounce intensity, the math teacher in Allison who is currently covering fractions with her 4th graders says, “It would be like 1/4 of the full intensity. Once in a while if he’s just barely stirring, I’ll do the lowest intensity where I’ll turn it all the way down. But for the most part, I would say toward the beginning-middle.”
She goes on to add, “A lot of times he’ll wake up at like 4am or 3am or something, and we don’t even notice because we’ll pick up our phone, turn the bounce on, and in the morning I’ll be like, ‘did I turn the bounce on last night?’ Sometimes I don’t even know if he needs it, we just do it like a habit, and then he goes back to sleep.”
“It also keeps him in bed longer in the morning. Let’s say on the weekend, we went to sleep a little later, if we just change the sounds and turn on the bounce, It’ll extend his sleep a little bit, I feel,” she concludes.
- Music settings:
“We use the white noise setting on the Cradlewise. I like how the Cradlewise surrounds him. And then sometimes, I’ll make a mix with a lullaby and the white noise together,” says Alison.
The Cradlewise built-in sound machine has safe noise levels and allows you to create custom sleep tracks for your baby. You can also pair your crib with the Spotify app if you have a premium Spotify subscription.
Colin’s bedtime routine
Alison says, “We do a bath every other night. After the bath, we’ll lotion him up, give him a nice little massage, put his pajamas on, and sing a little song. Then, either I feed him or J feeds him, and we put him in the cradle, and he goes down pretty easily.”
According to JP, setting the stage has also worked well for Colin. He says, “Primarily the bedtime routine takes place after the bath and in the nursery. We set an ambiance in there, dim the lights and get him ready to wind down, and that’s worked for us.”
Thankfully, for Allison and JP, Colin usually falls asleep easily and happily. When he does wake up at night, it’s either for comfort or for a feed.
How Cradlewise helps their family sleep
Cradlewise has been a contributing factor in the trio’s sleep, with peace of mind and security being top of the list.
“I think one way Cradlewise has helped us achieve our sleep goals throughout this first five-month period is the sense of security it gives us at night going to sleep and putting our child down. I think we know that he’s taken care of in the best possible way,” says JP.
Allison agrees, “As adults, you love your bed so much, and you can’t wait to get in it throughout the day. I feel with Colin, it’s the same way. You put him in there, whether it’s for a nap or at night, and he feels a sense of comfort. So, putting him in there gives you peace of mind. You go to sleep, and you’re able to sleep through the night. Sometimes I’ll wake up and check the app because I haven’t heard him all night, and it says, “Colin is well,” and I’m like alright, I’m well too.”
When JP and Allison were ready to start weaning Colin off nighttime feeds, they enlisted Cradlewise features to assist, “soothing him in the Cradlewise as opposed to consistently taking him out if we heard him cry,” explains JP. “Now, he understands that when we go in, we may put a pacifier in, but we’re going to stay for a few minutes, and then he has to go back to sleep; and that has worked.”
As for the dreaded 3-month sleep regression and whether it has reared its head, Colin has seemingly skipped right past it. “Yeah, no. I would say around three months he started sleeping through the night. It was seven to eight hours, then nine hours. It got gradually longer. I feel like we almost missed that spot because he was still growing into good sleep habits,” says Allison.
Allison and JP’s advice
When asked what advice they’d give themselves about becoming parents, Allison and JP’s answer is what all parents need to hear.
“Just give yourself grace; you’re doing your absolute best. I always find myself thinking ‘I didn’t do one productive thing today.’ Then I think, ‘I kept my child alive, I fed him, I loved him, I held him, I changed him.’ So, give yourself more credit than you’re probably giving,” says Alison.
JP adds, “I think as a parent initially, you always feel like you could do more. Patting yourself on the back goes a long way for your mental health.”
For Allison, the simple yet effective advice from her mother-in-law stands out: communicate. Communication has been paramount since Colin’s arrival. She says, “I know it’s more like marriage advice, but if you need to tap out, tell him you need to tap out. Always communicate with each other, and you’ll be fine and work as a team well.”