Possibly one of the most frustrating and exhausting parts of having a baby is when they don’t sleep well. Some babies are great sleepers from the start and don’t have any trouble going to sleep at night and staying asleep. But then there are those that go to sleep as long as they are rocked, held, or fed to sleep. This is fine until baby gets old enough to rely on this as their only method of going to sleep. It will eventually make it so they must have you in order to sleep since they haven’t learned to do so on their own.
My son was definitely the type that relied on me every night to put him to sleep. I would usually hold him and bounce her for a while, and then feed him. He had no problem going to sleep that way. The problem was that once I set him in his crib, he sensed that he wasn’t next to me and he would wake up. So then the cycle would continue; bouncing, feeding, sleeping, and waking. There were some nights that I would beat a path between my room and his until he finally settled completely for the night. I was exhausted, and so was my husband. We both had full-time jobs at the time and getting our sleep at night was crucial. I never even thought there was an option out there to teach my baby how to sleep.
But let me tell you, there is, and it worked for us! I found out that when a baby gets old enough, usually around four months old, they are capable of learning how to go to sleep on their own. So how do you do it? First of all, you must make a consistent bedtime routine each night. This routine can include anything you choose to help your baby learn that it’s time to go to sleep. Baths, reading, changing into pajamas, quiet playing, singing and music are just some ideas you can incorporate into a routine. It is important that you do the same routine every night at around the same time so your baby will learn to associate it with bedtime. Our particular bedtime routine starts with changing our son into his pajamas, feeding him, and reading a few books to him in his room. We do this consistently around 7:30 each night. I say a quick bedtime prayer and lay him down in his crib, awake. I am able to turn to light off, walk out, and shut the door without him crying. He puts himself right to sleep.
It wasn’t this easy at first. We had about three nights that were rocky before he learned his routine. The first night I did the entire routine, lay him in his crib awake, and walked out. He started crying. And he cried. And he cried. And he cried. About every five minutes I would walk in and talk to him and give him his pacifier. After about forty-five minutes of this, he finally went to sleep on his own. The next night was still rough but much better. It took him about twenty minutes. And finally the third night took a little less than ten. It was very hard to do, but after seeing progress each night, we knew he was learning. And let me tell you, it was worth it! By night four, I lay him in the crib and he didn’t cry at all. He had learned how to put himself to sleep. And it’s been that easy ever since. No joke. We were amazed! The key is to make a routine and stick to it, to lay them down tired but awake, and to be consistent. I was very skeptical when we first tried this, but it has worked for us.
Your baby is capable of falling asleep on their own, and it is an important skill that they will need to learn. It may be hard to try something different at first, but in the end it is best for your sanity and theirs.
I learned about the sleep learning process and the steps involved in the book, The Sleepeasy Solution. I highly recommend at looking into it if your baby has any sleep issues.
What challenges do you face in getting your baby to sleep? What seems to work best for you?
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