Having a new baby and figuring out how to get baby to sleep is a large mystery to most parents. With my first daughter I ended up getting into a pattern of breastfeeding her to sleep which was sweet for the first few months. There was a loving connection and it was warm and cozy. But as the months went by, instead of my baby being able to go to sleep on her own I either had to breastfeed her or be there to witness her falling asleep. I became the pacifier. By about 8 months I was getting increasingly exasperated as there were some nights it took upwards of two hours to lull my baby to sleep. And deep in the night, she figured out pretty quickly that if she cried LOUDLY I would come to her rescue and I’d be back in the rocking chair with her.
For years I have recommended the book “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” by Marc Weissbluth, M.D. to the mothers that attend my Mom & Baby Yoga class. I’m not sure who told me about the book but I am forever grateful as it was miraculous. We never read the whole book from cover to cover because after a few weeks the patterns started to change. The testimonials from parents who have had problems were comforting and the techniques worked for us.
After we started the new routine I do remember at one point my husband and I had to agree that in the middle of the night we were not going to immediately go comfort baby when she woke up crying. The first fews nights were difficult. Five minutes of crying seemed like hours and it took everything in us to follow through with the advise given. But after a few nights we heard the cries and then… she went back to sleep! A year or so later we had the twins and I found that there is even has a section on “twins”.
From having our first child in 2003, we made baby bedtime around 6.00-6.30pm and stuck to this until 2010. Baths were done, teeth were being flossed and brushed and then story time. We tried to be very were consistent each night. Of course there were times when the kids were sick, we were traveling or we had something special going on but on the whole we stuck to the schedule. Our girls still regularly get 10-11 hours of sleep a night.
One thing to remember is that we need to set up the patterns that we want our kids to follow. If there is no routine, there is no routine. Routines can be boring, dull and monotonous but children like them and will thrive if they know when things will happen and how they will happen.
Sleep well mom, dad and baby!
Here is the twins version of the book