Before I get into this post, I going to assume you are here because your baby or toddler is having sleeping issues that is causing trouble in your household. I feel the need to tell you that this isn’t a post on how to get your baby to sleep through the night. What this is though is a post on how I managed to get my baby (which is NOT sleeping through the night yet) to put herself to sleep on her own. What this means is without rocking, without holding, or cuddling of any kind. It involves me putting her in the crib giving her a pacifier and walking out of the room while she is still awake. I also feel the need to tell you that this is with my 2nd baby. Things didn’t go quite the same way with my first born who I rocked, cuddled, and sang to every night until she was about 2 years old. While i did love this time with my first born being able to not have to do that is such a wonder benefit.
I understand that every baby is different and what works for me and my family may not work for you and yours but there is also a chance it just might! I also feel the need to tell you I am no baby whisperer and don’t clam to be an expert. But, here are the following steps I took to get my baby to put herself to sleep.
So while there are mamma’s that believe in Co -sleeping or even keeping your baby in a bassinet in their room until their baby is over 6 months old, I’m not one of those mamma’s. My goal for both of my babies were to not have them be dependent on needing to sleep in our bed. This was something i always told myself i WOULD NOT do. I wanted the freedom of my sleep even if it was broken up in the middle of the night (or several times a night) by a crying baby. This step consist of moving your baby to their own bed. I did keep her in a bassinet in my room until she was just 4 weeks old. That’s right, at just 1 month old she was sleeping in her own crib! This is important for many reasons. One reason is so they get used to their own bed. Second reason is so that your bed time doesn’t revolve around theirs. In other words if they sleep with you, you have to go to sleep too. This was important for me because when they go to bed a lot of the time is when I shower and unwind from the day. Third reason is they never form that habit of sleeping in your bed, which if you have ever slept with a toddler could be very uncomfortable. Starting early helped her and us achieve her being able to sleep alone and was a base for her to be able to put herself to sleep.
This step requires a little patience. What i mean by patience is at LEAST 2 hours a night for about 2 weeks to a month where you are just focused on your baby. Giving up the time at the beginning when you are still on maternity leave will benefit you instead of waiting until your baby is a little older and you start back to work. I understand that there are stay at home mom’s and i also recommend starting this out early because it is the bases to their sleeping habits. Set a bedtime routine. Routine means doing the same thing every night around bedtime so that your baby starts understanding the difference between naps and actual bedtime. Examples of this can be anywhere from play time, bath, read a book then bed. It may also look like my routine which consists of dinner with the family, playtime, bath, then bottle before bed. After i give her a bath, make her a bottle, then i put in a swaddle or a zen sack once she got a little older. Last thing i do is turn the lights down to almost darkness. This lets her know that it is bedtime. I also make sure i use a sound machine called a hatch rest so that it drowns out a lot of the background noise. (I will put links for these two items below because i TOTALLY recommend them). This step is important because it sets the tone and let’s your baby get accustom to bedtime and not just nap time.
Once a routine is established and you have feed your baby. This could mean breastfed or bottle. Lay your baby in the crib when they are still awake. It doesn’t do any good laying them down once they are already asleep. This means you will need to pay attention to their sleepy ques. The last thing you would want is them get used to falling asleep anywhere other than their own bed. Some sleep ques include rubbing their eyes, turning into you to cuddle, or being fussy. Yes, they are going to cry. Yes, they are going to want to be wrapped up in your arms where they know they are safe. DO NOT PICK THEM UP! Instead, continue to put the pacifier in their mouth when they spit it out. Rub their face arms and legs to let them know that you are still there. This part was hard to do at first because i felt the need to reach in and grab her when she was crying. Every night for almost a month i did this. As a result of not giving in to picking her up while she was crying, she started to act differently when i would lay her down. Soon what would happen is her crying got less and less. She began to proceed close her eyes (as long as i would rub her head) and try to go to sleep. At the end of the one month, i would lay her down after feeding her and she would go right to sleep.
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Links to the things that helped me:
(((((Click here for the Swaddle)))))): I never used a swaddle with my first born because it freaked me out. Just thinking she was confined without the ability to move scared me, but with my second i felt we HAD to swaddle her because it was clear it helped her and she loved it. I TOTALLY recommend the ones in the link
(((((Click here for the Zen Sack))))): Once you transition your baby out of a swaddle the zen sack is great. ( I will do a post of how i transitioned her from the swaddle to sleep sack soon).
((((( Click here for the Hatch Baby Rest))))): We loved this so much i actually got one for my own room! It has different colored lights, different sounds that are realistic, and you can control it with an app on your phone! Its just the best! We even take it with us when we travel!
If you try out the way i got my baby to sleep and it works for you as well, PLEASE let me know! I would LOVE to hear about your experience! I hope and pray that you get the same benefit from this as i did. If not, that is ok too. I hope you do find something that works for you and your baby!