If you’re a new mom suffering from lack of sleep or a soon to be mom wondering how to get your baby to sleep here are proven baby sleep training methods that’ll fit any family.
Witch Hunt For Baby Sleep Solutions
When I had my first baby I was desperate to find a way to put him to sleep. Everyone warned me about sleep deprivation but I just wasn’t physically prepared for what was to come.
Suffering from lack of sleep and feeling like I got ran over by a truck, I went on google to look for ways to put my baby to sleep for more than 2 hours at a time. I felt like I was going to die from tiredness… if there was such a thing.
I didn’t know what the hell I was looking for nor what I’d find… I just wanted, no, I NEEDED this baby to go to sleep.
I got redirected to amazon and found a baby sleep book with the best reviews. According to these reviews, this little thing was going to sleep like a single 40-year-old man with a job that he hated.
When the book arrived I was literally salivating like a starving Pitbull. I tore the packaging open convinced that I’d find my sleep miracle formula in there… Instead, I found a 500+ page infant sleep book staring back at me.
Now, if you’re a tired freaking mom trying to find a quick solution, a 500+ page ain’t it. But in my desperation, I read it… ALL of it.
Using The Sleep Solutions
Did it put my baby to sleep for 8+ hours a night? Hell no. But it gave me a ton of knowledge and information about my babies sleep:
- What I should realistically expect from their sleep.
- Baby sleep cycles
- How to put him on a better sleep schedule
- How to look for sleep cues
- How to get him to sleep and make him sleep on his own
I admit, he didn’t sleep 8+ hours a night. But… knowing what to expect gave me the confidence to get through those zombie nights.
I mean… I felt like the baby sleep whisperer! I knew exactly when he had to go to sleep. How to put him to sleep. How to soothe him… I was on FIRE!
When I saw his sleep cues I knew it was his bedtime and that I’d get at least 3-4 hours of rest myself… just having this predictable schedule was a life saver for me.
Then It Happened…
Then my second came. I call her my gangster princess. She was everything that my son wasn’t. Unpredictable. Inconsolable. Attached. Aggravated. Constantly crying. Colicky.
That God Damn Colic! She would usually cry from 5 pm – 10 pm EVERY. FREAKING.DAY for 4 months. One night she went until 2 am… inconsolable.
Everything that worked on my son was useless with her… including the sleep method that worked so well for my son. I had to go and get a personalized sleep plan for my daughter… but even that didn’t work, even though the plan was amazing.
I bought another book but just didn’t have time nor will to read it. I had a colicky baby on my hands.
How To Use Baby Sleep Training
That’s why I’m compiling multiple sleep strategies on this post so you can pick the one that’s right for your kid.
Let me tell you… what works for one kid may not work for the other. Hell… what worked one day for your kid might not work the next day for the same child.
So in the spirit of giving you parenting confidence and saving you precious time, here are sleep strategies that will fit any family. There’s no one size fits all solution in parenting.
Before you try any sleep strategy here are basic facts that most experts agree on. Whatever strategy you try, always do these steps prior to starting the sleep strategy:
- Have a bedtime routine. Babies thrive on routine and once they get used to it they take them as cues to go to sleep. Find a sleep routine that works for you and stick with it. Sample routine: Feed, bathe, read, sing, lights out, bedtime.
- Have a basic sleep schedule. If you’re used to putting the baby to sleep at 10 pm, keep it around that time. Don’t do 8 pm one night, 10 pm the next night, 1 am the next night, and back to 8 pm again. Try to keep a consistent bedtime.
[box type=”info” align=”” class=”” width=””]Don’t kill yourself to stick to a routine or schedule. Sometimes parents freak out because they have a dinner party and their kid will go to bed a bit later than his normal bedtime. Try to keep it consistent as much as possible but if things come up, they come up! Life happens. You can be fluid… zig and zag. Do your best… that’s all you can do. Some days you can, some days you can’t.[/box]
3 Proven Baby Sleep Training Methods
Cry it out (Ferber Method)
Image Credit: Flickr
Basic method: This baby sleep training method doesn’t mean you stick your kid in the crib, walk away, and come back the next morning at 8. The theory behind this baby sleep training method is to help your kid soothe himself back to sleep by going into his room in increasing time intervals when he cries.
Training Duration: 4-5 days
What to do:
- Put your kid in the crib while he’s still drowsy and walk out
- Baby will cry, undoubtedly
- Wait 5 minutes before going in
- When you go in just pat his back, let him know you’re there, and walk out
- Only stay for a few minutes at a time each time you go in
- Every time you go in just pat his back, talk to him but don’t pick him up
- Increase the time by 5 minutes every time you go in. If you went in for 5 minutes, wait 10 minutes before you go in the next time. Then 15 minutes the next time.
- If the baby is crying after 15 minutes, wait 15 minutes every time before you go into soothe the baby
Partial cry it out
Basic Method: This baby sleep training method helps your baby learn to self-soothe himself to sleep without having to cry for a long period of time.
Training Duration: 1-2 weeks
What to do:
- Put your baby in the crib while he’s drowsy
- He might cry but try not to pick him up
- When he cries respond to him by patting his back, talking to him and letting him know mommies there
- Only if baby gets hysterical you may pick him up or nurse him until he calms down
- Once calm put him back in his crib and rub his back until he falls asleep
Basic Method: The name says it all for this popular baby sleep training method. You comfort your baby and give him all the attention he needs until he can sleep on his own. As time goes on you limit the amount of attention you give him until he is able to sleep on his own.
Training Duration: 3-4 weeks
What to do:
- Put your baby in the crib while she’s still drowsy
- When the baby starts crying you give it a few minutes to see if she’ll fall back asleep on her own
- If she keeps crying you go in and soothe her however you know to soothe her. Bottle, breastfeeding, holding, rocking, whatever it is you do to soothe her.
- As time goes on you start cutting down on the amount of time you spend soothing her.
- If you’re bottle feeding or breastfeeding, take away the breast or bottle before she falls asleep. If not, she’ll depend on the bottle to fall asleep.
The method or mixture of methods you choose depends on a few things. Like, how badly you need your baby to fall asleep without your help, your tolerance for crying, your family dynamics, and your family circumstance.
No method is ever absolute so find what works, stay consistent, and enjoy this time!
I know this sounds hard to believe… but this time passes. TRUST me! And oddly enough, you’ll miss these times.
We’d Love to know what strategy you used and how long it took to get your baby to sleep! Please let us know in the comments below!
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