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I remember the days I thought I would never sleep again. Coffee and energy drinks were my friends during that time, as I was a brand new mother faced with the challenge of helping her baby learn how to sleep.
As a baby, my daughter woke up a lot during the night to be fed. It was always a challenge to get her to go back to sleep, so we would put her in the swing, which worked like a charm. She’d sleep for another 3-4 hours in it. However, my husband and I would have periods of sleeping and then being awake for 2-3 hours out of time before we went back to sleep. I’d even end up sleeping on the couch a lot because the swing was in the living room (It wouldn’t fit in our bedroom). I also didn’t want to bed share. So, how did we ever get to sleeping again?
First of all, we started with a sleep training method known as cry it out (with any sleep training method, you really want to start at around 3 months at the earliest). It’s not nearly as bad as it sounds, and I was initially very much against it until my husband and I were at our wits end with not having any sleep. My mother-in-law came for a visit, and she had us put her down in her crib, rub her back for a second, and then leave the room after saying, “I love you.” We wouldn’t ever let her get out of control. If the crying went on for more than 5 minutes or so, we would go in and give her some attention and comfort and leave again. For the following night, we would do the same thing, but we would wait maybe a minute or two longer before going back into her room and comforting her. You know what? On the third night or so, we’d put her down, and she’d fall asleep without a peep. For more information on the cry it out method, click here.
We also used a bedtime routine to help “prepare” her for bed. We’d give her a bath, turn down the lights, and read her a story. We loved reading these books to her:
We’d also turn on a soother, such as this one:
Our daughter would do well when we’d put her to bed. She wouldn’t cry, although she would have a couple of times where it just wasn’t working that night. However, our next problem was her waking up in the middle of night for feedings or comfort. This lasted for a long time, and I honestly don’t think I have a reason as to why. I know that her pacifier would fall out a lot, so she’d cry for us to find it. It took her until she was almost 2 before she would sleep through the entire night. She was still using the pacifier for a while after that, but she’d sleep through the night. And when this finally happened, it was joyous! 🙂
There is an article that I read that suggests that sleeping through the night might actually be due to genetics rather than sleep training. So, this is another possible reason why it took so long for her to sleep through the night.
What other tips do you have that helped your baby sleep through the night?
You might also like this post on Co-Sleeping and Co-Sharing.