Image credit: http://www.babysleepsite.com
Before you become a parent, you take sleep for granted. After all, you can completely control how much sleep you get simply by adjusting your bedtime or wake-up time.
After having a baby, however, sleep becomes this unknown variable in your life; it becomes this elusive concept that changes from night to night. As a parent of an infant, you often find yourself thinking…
CAN I JUST GET SOME F@#%!#& SLEEP PLEASE?!
Somewhere in the back of your mind, you know it’s temporary. But when you’re going on your 10th straight night of only sleeping in 1-2 hour blocks, you start to lose that part of your brain that thinks logically.
After experiencing something like this, we knew there had to be a way to make it better.
But because every baby is different, there isn’t any ONE thing that will work for every baby. So, we set out to compile the wisdom of many parents who have been through this and have found a strategy that works for improving their baby’s sleep habits.
And just as important, improving their own sleeping habits.
We tracked down 29 parents and asked them this question:What’s the #1 thing that worked for you when it came to improving your son or daughter’s sleep habits as an infant?
Keep reading, and we’ll reveal what everyone told us (and even share what’s currently working for us).
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There are a few things I would say allowed our daughter to start sleeping better, often sleeping through the night as early as 3 months:
- The Auto Rock ‘n Play Sleeper – I already discussed this at length here, but this rock ‘n play instantly allowed us to start getting more sleep when our daughter was less than 3 months old.
- “Dream feeding” before we go to sleep – A lot of parents put their kids down around 8 pm or so and then just wait for them to wake up to eat, often in the middle of the night. We put our daughter down around 8 (right after a feeding) but then feed her again while she’s half asleep at 11 pm. This generally allows her to go to 5-6 am without eating again (instead of waking us up at 2-3 am to eat).
- The Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit (or as I like to refer to it, the “fat suit” – pictured at the right) – This thing really is magic, and worked wonders for us as we transitioned away from the rock ‘n play and swaddle.
Here’s what everyone else told us:
1) Amy from It’s Naptime Somewhere:
Routine, routine, routine! I can’t stress enough how important a routine is for a child. You can read a million baby sleep books and websites and they all stress how important routine and repetition are for a baby. Our son is a great sleeper and I credit that all to a solid routine. We seldom break routine unless we are traveling, but even then we adhere to our strict way of repeating what we do at home.
We found the routine that worked best for our little guy and we just wash, rinse and repeat…every day. It does get really monotonous but it’s worth it because he sleeps better than most kids we know. After lots of sleepless nights we realized that our son is not the type of kid that will go to bed at 7pm and wake up at 7am. Since he was about 14 months old he has been going to bed around 9:30pm and wakes up in the morning between 8/8:30am. He naps everyday between 1:30pm and 4:40/5pm, he is a great napper.
His sleep routine:
8:30pm – Bath
8:50pm – Wind down for sleep after bath.
9:00pm – Put on jammies and brush teeth.
9:10pm – Pick out two books and go to the guest room to read them (with Mommy and Daddy) and snuggle.
9:20pm – Head back to his room, say good night to Daddy. Then Mommy reads one more book (4 of the same books on rotation).
9:30pm – Mommy sings and puts him to sleep.
Everyday twice a day. It works. Nap is the same routine minus the bath. On vacations we try and replicate the exact environment he sleeps in at home. So we bring his monitor, sound machine, room darkening shades, toothbrush, blanket, pillow and stuffed puppy. He does really well traveling for the most part and sleeps just as well as he does at home. I also wirelessly monitor the temperature of his room to make sure he doesn’t get too hot or too cold, another thing that I believe is the key to a good sleeper.
Our son will be turning 3 at the end of April and he is still sleeping on this schedule and has been since he was 14 months old. So if you are struggling to find that happy medium with your baby’s sleep, I really think that developing a solid routine and sticking to it will help you in the long run.
2) Angela from The Triplet Farm:
Triplet sleep. We did it all wrong. I will admit this now.
And it was all my fault. I didn’t want them to cry or to think I was abandoning them. I didn’t want them to think we didn’t love them. I wanted to be a co-sleeping mom forever.
And plus, we have cry-pukers. And I didn’t want to have to clean up vomit every night. Mainly this is all about me. It’s that they way it usually does? We need them more than they need us?
We used to have sleep fighters; babies that would sometimes take hours to get to sleep. They had to be rocked to sleep every.single.night. At one point, naps were pretty much a joke. I’d finally get the last one to sleep and the first baby would wake up. Fun.
At around 18 months old, we gave up on the rocking and put them (all 3 of them) in our bed to fall asleep. This worked. We still got to snuggle them without feeling like we were being punished by having to rock, and rock, and rock. They fell asleep quickly this way then we would oh so very quietly put them in their cribs for the night.
Then those babies turned into toddlers. Our king size bed was quickly feeling like a crowded elevator. You know that panicky, can’t breathe, I’m going to freak out if I don’t get out of here feeling?! That was me.
On June 1, 2015 (for the record), the hubs and I decided that it was time for a new routine. Summer was quickly approaching and we wanted to spend more time together as husband and wife instead of roommates that were raising triplets. We wanted to be able to sit out on the porch…alone. We wanted to be able to watch something on TV other than Let it Go (as my trio call it) or the mouse with the big ears and catchy theme song.
So, that’s what we did – a new bedtime routine. Cold turkey. We let them cry it out. And it worked!
The first night the girls cried for 45 minutes (mommy cried too), but Jase went right to sleep. The second and third night the cried a little less. And much to my surprise no puke! By night 27 they still pouted a bit, but willing to walk to their cribs.
In the end, cry it out was the best choice for us at the time. Of course, since moving to toddler beds new problems have arrived. But that’s another story for another time.
I don’t know that I have actually have a sleep tip. I think you just need to do what feels right for you an your family. If you need to rock them every single night. Do it. They’re only little for a short time. If you need to co-sleep for everyone to get a good night’s sleep. Do it. They’ll be a day they don’t want to snuggle you anymore. If you need to just let them cry it out. Do it. They will survive and so will you.
3) Katka from Living Green with Baby:
As a mom of a 6-year-old and a 22-month old, the struggle of putting babies to sleep is still very fresh in my mind. What my husband and I found crucial and rewarding when it came to both of our baby boys was establishing a fixed bedtime routine and sticking to it as best as possible.
While you are trying to figure out what time best suits your life needs and your baby’s schedule, I would recommend to start with the following 5-step-routine:
- Start winding your baby down with a gentle bath or a cleaning routine, followed by a fresh diaper. On occasions when your baby already shows signs of being overtired, skip the cleaning and just change her diaper.
- Use high quality diapers that can hold urine well, so your baby doesn’t feel wet and wakes up. Although I have been using cloth diapering for both of my kids, I came to a conclusion that good disposable diapers were a better option for the night, since they are able to absorb and store more without the wet feeling.
- Make sure your baby gets well fed before you put her to her crib. Try not to establish a routine of putting your baby to sleep while breastfeeding as this habit can fire back later.
- A baby rocker can do wonders, but just like the breast-habit, it might make it harder to break once your baby gets older. I recommend putting your baby to her crib first, and making her comfortable with gentle touches and rocking her body with your hand, while singing and humming to her. Make sure her room has some kind of white noise, such as an air-purifier or a sound machine, to avoid waking up to changes of sounds or noises. The same goes for lighting. Instead of turning the lights off completely, use a dimmer or some kind of night-light so your baby can recognize her surroundings if woken up during the night.
- Babies don’t like sudden changes. If you plan on traveling and your baby will not be waking up at her own crib, try to make the routine as close as possible to the one you have established at home. Since we do a lot of long-distance travel, we have observed and compiled some useful survivor tips to avoid jet lag – see the full article here: Babies And Jet Lag: Survival Tips
Since sleep is very important for a baby’s proper brain and body development, as parents, we need to make sure that our baby gets as much sleep as possible. Finding the right combination of what will work for your baby best might be frustrating, time-consuming and exhausting. But try to use each new routine at least for a week before trying another one, to test how your baby will respond to it.
4) Leigh from Millennial Mommy:
My #1 tip for new parents would be the cry it out method. My husband and I would put our one month old to bed while she was drifting off but not yet sound asleep. She would often cry but after ten to fifteen minutes or so but then she would fall asleep. The first week was hard to say the least.
We would time her crying and sometimes it would feel like she was crying for 30 minutes but she was really only crying for 2! I found it really difficult to let her cry for so long. But after a few weeks we were about to put her to sleep with no crying or fussiness whatsoever.
By three months she was sleeping 12 hours at night (with one or two night feedings) and no crying at all! She has definitely learned that nighttime is sleep time and when we put her in bed all wrapped up in her Halo Sleep Sack she knows its time to go to bed.
I know the cry it out method isn’t for everybody and may not work for every baby. If you can, however, I really suggest trying it for at least a week to see how it goes. It will be difficult at first but I think its worth it in the end. Now bedtime isn’t stressful at all for mom, dad, or baby!
5) Samara from Tiny Fry:
When we brought our daughter home from the hospital, we had, like most first-time parents, no idea what we were doing. The first few months were a blur, especially at night, and we tried to get her to sleep everywhere: in her bassinet by my bedside, in bed with us, in my arms as I “slept” sitting up in bed.
When we eventually transitioned her to a crib, around four months later, we created a bedtime routine that I honestly believe worked wonders. I think she began to pick up on the various phases of that routine as her cue that it was time to settle and sleep in her crib.
First I found a relaxing soundtrack to play, which served as the background music for our nightly ritual. I would start by changing her diaper, while telling her about all the interesting things we had done that day and our plans for the following day. Then I would give her a gentle massage, starting with her toes and working all the way up to her head.
I’d put her pajamas on, and her sleep sack, and then sit with her in the glider. Since they say it’s never too early to start, I would read her a book or two—Goodnight Moon and Pat the Bunny—and then hum to her while she nursed. The song that seemed to sooth her most was a stripped down version of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” (hey, whatever works, right?). After that it was time to place her in the crib, tell her I loved her, turn on the nightlight, and leave the room.
Did she cry sometimes? Yes. Was I able to lull her into a sleepy daze every night? Absolutely not. But I honestly believe that creating this routine, and doing it every single evening without fail, provided her with a bit of structure in her totally unstructured day, as well as with an important signal: time for bed. Interestingly, sometimes I would simply turn on the music and she would yawn or rub her eyes.
I do believe that creating a relaxing routine helped her not only to prepare for sleep, but also to sleep better.
6) Jessy from The Life Jolie:
Infant sleep is definitely an area that I’m passionate about (what parent wouldn’t like to get more sleep?) and I’d love to share my favorite tips. I have two tips that have been total game changers for us. Here they are:
1) “The Pause”- when your baby is sleeping it can be really tempting to jump up the very second they make a peep. I encourage you to resist the temptation and instead pause for a moment or two to make sure they’re actually waking and not just shifting in their sleep.
Now I’m not telling you to let them cry it out or anything like that. But babies are notoriously loud sleepers and it’s quiet possible that they don’t always need something specific, they may just be shifting in their sleep or transitioning between sleep cycles (remember, infant sleep cycles are typically shorter than adult sleep cycles). So you wait a minute or two and watch them.
If they continue to fuss then by all means tend to their need (specifically when they’re really little). But if they do in fact continue sleeping, even just once then they’re well on their way to learning to sleep through the night.
2) “The Dream Feed”– this has been a real game changer with both of my kids. This is a tip our pediatrician gave us when our first daughter was only a couple months old. It’s basically the act of feeding them while they sleep in an attempt to get them to sleep a longer stretch in the later part of the night.
So here’s an example: we would put our first daughter down at 7:30pm and once the initial newborn phase was over she would typically get a decent stretch and then wake around 2 or 3am to feed and then sleep through until 6am.
So what we would do is feed her and put her down at her usual 7:30 bedtime and then I would go in around 10:30pm and pick her up while she’s sleeping and pop a bottle or breast into her mouth. She would stay sleeping and feed while she slept and then I’d put her back down into her crib and she would keep sleeping and often stay asleep until morning.
So I was essentially switching her feed from the super early morning hours to later evening hours, which would provide us with a stretch of sleep that was less interrupted. It sounds crazy but our girls would both stay asleep through their whole dream feed. The doctor said you don’t even have to burp them with a dream feed because they’re so relaxed in their sleep that they suck in less air as the feed. Give it a try
7) Angeline from Dusty House Adventures:
My youngest son was a snuggler. He preferred to be swaddled, carried in a sling, and as much as possible be allowed to pretend that he was still in the womb. Now that he is ten years old he is still that way. He loves to be held and carried. He’s a human marsupial.
As a very small baby the thing that helped him sleep well for long periods of time was to let him sleep on his tummy. Gasp! I know. Common parenting advice decries stomach sleeping because it could lead to infant death syndrome. Well, so can a car crash, but we strap our loved ones into those death machines daily without a thought and still righteously judge parents who make common sense choices like letting their babies sleep in a position they find comfortable.
As my sons became toddlers they would cry for milk in the middle of the night. Expert parenting advice claimed that toddlers should be eating enough during the day not to need a middle of the night feeding, and furthermore, letting youngsters suck on a bottle in bed is horrible for their teeth.
Don’t do it, the experts said.
Well guess what I like to do in the middle of the night? Sleep!
The middle of the night is not the time I want to negotiate with a half-sized terrorist over whether or not he’s hungry or has a bottle addiction. I dutifully staggered down the stairs, filled up a bottle or sippy cup with milk and my busy, hungry boys have at it. After that they and their little little full tummies would burrow down in the mattress for a long winter’s nap and I would awake rested and ready to chase them around the playground the next day.
Guess what? My sons still grew up to have healthy baby teeth which all fell out anyway as they began growing their adult set. The lesson there is sometimes life gives you a do-over anyway.
Listen to wise advice and try to learn some best practices, but in the end, the ignore the judgements of parenting magazines and use your own parenting wisdom to decide what helps your family get through the night.
8) Chris from Dad Goes Round:
We had the good fortune with our first two daughters to have kids who slept through the night at an early age. They both started sleeping through the night at two months old. In part this was because we discovered that if we gave them a bottle of formula in the evening they would sleep through the night. The two of them have generally been good sleepers ever since.
Our third daughter is another matter all together. At three years of age she is still not consistently sleeping through the night.
She often resists going to sleep at bed time and she often wakes up in the night and comes running into our room.
When she was an infant we often found ourselves in her room in the middle of the night, sometimes for an hour or more. We tried leaving her to cry it out; going in to sing to her or pat her back silently; picking her up and dancing her to sleep; lying in bed with her; reading to her; telling her stories; and giving up and taking her into bed with us. I wish I could say that we found a magic solution or that any of those tactics had worked.
More than anything it seems that she is lonely at night. These days we have made her a floor bed in our room. We have a few quilts piled up on the floor beside our bed and now she can come into our room at night and sleep in our room with us and no adults are required to try to sleep with a kid kicking us in the back.
For all three of our girls I was always able to get them to settle and fall asleep on my chest and that has always been my fallback safety valve if they won’t sleep in their own beds. These days if we are having a particularly challenging night, I will take our three year old downstairs and sleep on the couch with her curled up on me. It doesn’t do much to improve her sleep habits, but it does mean that everyone gets some sleep and that we have a shot at functioning the next day.
9) Celine from Baby Can Travel:
When our first child arrived, we knew very little about babies and their sleep requirements aside from what we had read in books. We were fortunate that our daughter was a good sleeper from the beginning and began sleeping through the night quite early. It wasn’t until about 4 months that we had to start focusing on her sleep and getting her on a good sleep routine.
Even with a good napping routine she started to struggle to fall asleep at night. Through reading more on sleep requirements of babies and talking to other new parents, we tried putting her to bed earlier and that seemed to make all the difference. By having an early bedtime and sticking to a schedule, she has continued to be a good sleeper even throughout all our travels with her.
When we had our son, we tried to replicate many of the things we had done with our daughter to get him on the right track for sleeping. We did attempt to do a very similar, age-appropriate schedule with him as well but we found ourselves dealing with a screaming baby for over an hour some nights. Nothing seemed to help him. We finally tried putting him to bed even earlier, around 6:30pm, and again it made all the difference. He was falling asleep without any fuss within minutes.
We recognize that every baby is different, but for us the #1 thing that worked to improve the sleep of our children was putting them to bed early and sticking to a schedule that ensured they weren’t getting overtired. Sticking to a schedule and having early bedtimes hasn’t always been easy when we travel, but we have come up with some great strategies that give our children the sleep they need and still allow us to get the most out of our destination.
10) Connie from Momma of Dos:
My children were both VERY different; with my son it was all about patience. He didn’t sleep through the night until after he was one and going to daycare. Having to wake him up at 5 am and being at day care around 6:30 am, made him fall into a better sleeping pattern. With him it was about time.
And with time, he is now 7 years old and has been a perfectly sounds sleeper for the last 6 years. He can go to bed right at 9 pm and wake up at 6 am. On late days, it’s more like midnight, but he won’t wake up early the next day which is always good.
My daughter was very different: almost from the moment she came home from the hospital, she has always been a GREAT sleeper! She can go to bed at 8 or 9 and wakes up the next day at 6 or 7 am, or when she goes to bed late she will wake up late! Its been a struggle to get them to a good sleeping pattern and some days are still hard, but we manage.
11) Christine from The Choosy Mommy:
If there is one piece of advice I could give to any new parent trying to help their infant sleep, it would be to keep the room cool and dark.
I am that mom that monitors the temperature and lighting of the room and am always messing with the curtains and thermostat. But after speaking to my pediatrician, she said to think about your womb and what it would be like in there for the baby. I would imagine it isn’t freezing cold or crazy hot inside the womb, but of course, just right!
Remember that our bodies learn to adjust to our surroundings, especially new baby bodies. So your baby will adjust accordingly. But it is also easier to get warmer with more cloths and body heat from hugs than it is to cool down. Keep the room cool and dress your baby in appropriate material for the room and season (what a difference it made when we got our son to sleep in one-piece, footie sleepers – even though he hates socks! He slept through the night!).
I would also think that the womb is pretty dark so try to avoid nightlights for as long as you can. Try to have your baby be a sun down to sun up kind of kid. When the sun goes down, it is time for bed. When the sun is up, it is time to start the day!
12) Amy from Making Motherhood Matter:
Being consistent with a routine was the most crucial element that helped both of my children with their sleep habits as infants. First, I began by focusing on giving my baby a full feeding.
Once I was able to that successfully, I moved on to creating a consistent flow from feeding, to awake time, to sleeping. This taught my kids the difference between day and night very quickly. Because at night, I would change their diaper, swaddle, feed and then rock them to sleep.
All of this created a routine.
Babies change their schedule so rapidly during those first few months, that I paid careful attention to learning my baby’s signals so I could adjust this routine to fit them as they grew. Most importantly, I had to be gentle with myself as I journeyed through this delicate process.
13) Meg from The Many Little Joys:
14) Millason from Simply Natural Mama:
I have a friend with two children. Her eldest wanted nothing more than to be cradled to sleep. So when her second came along, she tried doing the exact same thing. It turns out that her newborn daughter didn’t want any part of it! She wanted to placed in her crib and allowed to fall asleep on her own.
The most important thing we can do as a parent is to treat each child as an individual and actually listen to his or her needs. Our own daughter wanted to sleep in the bed with us. I fought it and feared it. But once I accepted her preference, did the necessary research, and actually did it, there were no problems.
Since then, she has slept soundly through the night with dream feedings, and we as parents, have had a full night’s sleep too. If you are interested in bed-sharing and how to safely practice it, visit here.
15) Emma from Kids, Cash, and Chaos:
I am the mother of three children and have finally figured out that each child is born with a sleep schedule built in and we can’t really change it, only encourage it towards what we want.
When my children were infants they all slept best when they were touching me. The easiest way to let them nap on me and still get things done around the house was to wear them in some sort of wrap. My favorite wrap was the Moby, it was comfortable for both the baby and me, easy to use and easy to wash.
As the babies got older I would work on putting them down once they went to sleep so that they could start to learn to sleep by themselves. Some babies do this transfer easier than others, my youngest still prefers to sleep on me at almost 20 months.
I am just trying to enjoy this time with her because I know that it won’t last forever!
16) Veronica from In Veronica’s Corner:
My husband and I were not one of the lucky parents with a baby that slept through the night within the 1st 3 months. At 9 months, we finally figured out how to get our baby to sleep through most of the night. It seems like a simple solution, but when you’re sleep deprived, it’s easy to overlook this strategy.
The #1 thing that worked to improve my son’s sleep habits is:
Changing how long and where your he took naps.
Our baby was napping too long in the daytime, which prevented him from sleeping longer at night. Furthermore, he would nap in his pack-n-play in our living room versus in his crib.
The day we limited our son’s naps to just 1.5-2 hours at a time, and moved him to his crib for nap time he started sleeping well through the night. I wish we knew to do this sooner! I could have saved myself months on sleep deprivation.
17) Dawn from Mom but Not a Mom:
As with everything about parenting, I believe that consistency is the most important tool when it comes to improving infant’s sleep habits. There are a lot of different ideas out there about getting kids to sleep – cry-it-out vs. holding, feeding to sleep vs. feeding before sleep, etc. As a daycare teacher turned nanny, I’ve had experience with just about every different method of sleep training there is. And you know what? They all work…
…IF parents and caregivers are consistent with them.
What doesn’t work is changing up the infant’s routine or comfort. A child who is used to being rocked to sleep won’t rest well the first several times he/she is laid down and walked out on. A child who is normally fed to sleep will have a hard time self-soothing and calming down if they miss a feeding one night.
Pick a method and stick with it. That way, the child knows what to expect. They thrive on routine. They know that when mommy starts rocking them, it’s time to go to sleep. Or they know that when mommy puts them in their crib and shuts the door, it’s time to go to sleep.
Make it easy for them to understand what you are wanting from them, and when it’s time for them to sleep. Be consistent.
18) Jen from Mom Cave:
I have two children, five years apart. With the first, I read every book I could, spent hours on baby websites, and canvassed all my friends to find out what worked to get that baby to sleep! I tried co-sleeping and the Ferber method and gentle cry-it-out, all while feeling guilty and clueless.
Eventually, after weeks of the Ferber method, my son slept through the night, and has been a great sleeper event since.
And then I had my second child. I thought I was exhausted with the first. But adding a second was brutal. There was no more “sleep while the baby sleeps.” I had another very energetic child to take care of.
This time I was more confident, both in myself and in my child. So as unpopular as this may sound, once she was about six months old, I became pretty strict about sleeping schedules. I put her to bed at the same time every night, with a loving bedtime routine. And then I closed the door and walked away.
Unless I thought something was very wrong (sickness, etc), I didn’t come pick her up until 6am. She’s now almost two and sleeps every night from 7pm to 6am. In the rare case that she wakes up in the night, she fusses for a few seconds and puts herself back to sleep. She’s the happiest, most well-adjusted toddler I’ve ever seen. And I’m getting the sleep I need to be a good mama.
19) Sneha from Kaizen and the Art of Motherhood:
What has always worked for us for my babies to sleep through the night from early on was our closeness as a family. And by that, I mean keeping the crib in our room for the first 3-6 months and then co-sleeping. My husband and I had to adjust to this new way of sleeping, but we all got now used to sleeping together. We eased our older son into his room at four years old, but he still likes someone to lie down with him until he falls asleep.
The second thing that has worked is keeping a routine. As soon as my husband comes home from work and freshens up, he spends an hour playing with kids while I cook dinner.
Then we all have dinner as a family. Followed by kids’ baths, reading books (sometimes the same book over and over again) and then lying down and pretending to sleep next to the child.
The time taken for the kid to fall asleep is about 10 minutes after lying down. I think it has worked for us pretty good. You might hear this over and over again from everyone, but really routine helps a lot for the child to expect what is coming next.
20) Nancy from Nancy on the Home Front:
It’s been a long time since I had babies under my roof, unless you count grand babies! I raised four children, there were nineteen months between the first two and then after a few years we had two more two years apart.
What helped me greatly was getting them on a schedule as soon as possible. As a result all four of them were sleeping through the night at a very young age. As I breastfed all four this really was such a help. My husband was wonderful about getting the children for a feeding but I was the one feeding them!
They also had consistent nap times! Even when they didn’t really sleep at nap times they would have a quiet time for ½ hour or so.
21) Caroline from Swaddles N’ Bottles:
My doctor once told me that babies would be perfectly happy for a 4th trimester in the womb. The best way you can help your baby sleep during those infant nights is to help re-create their previous home as best as you can. Your best friend should be the swaddle.
We personally used the Halo Sleep Sacks and they worked WONDERS! We blacked out our baby’s windows and use a sound machine AND a box fan in her room. It’s as loud as a vacuum in the womb so don’t be afraid to turn the sound machine up to max volume!
We also used a Rock n’ Play Sleeper that had a vibrating function that soothed our baby perfectly. She slept through the night by 8 weeks!
22) Suzette from Mamarazzi Knows Best:
Let them cry it out, little by little. I waited until they were about four months old, and once I had started giving them a little solid food. I also waited for my husband, who is the softy in this house, to go on a business trip because he didn’t have the heart to let the baby cry to sleep. But, once he was out the door the tactical assault was on! The kid got moved into his/her own room, and the door shut to muffle the shrieks for attention that would emanate from the seemingly possessed ‘bundle of joy.’
After moving the kids, cradle and all, into the nursery (permanently) I’d go through the drill first: Feed. Check. Burped. Check. Change Diaper. Check. Warm and comfy bed. Check. Then a kiss good night and … walk out of the room, quietly, and wait.
This went on for about, oh, five hours each night, and then on the fourth night the crying stopped. I went through this for a solid three days, but on the fourth night, after the drill and walking out … not a sound was heard.
23) Ros from Stress Free Mommies:
The #1 thing that worked for me when it came to improving my children’s sleeping habits as infants were a couple of things actually.
I had a really good routine for all three of my children and that helped a lot. They would fall asleep almost always at the same time. I also loved having them well fed right before sleeping them.
Also, I would make sure they were in comfortable clothes and the room they were sleeping in wasn’t too hot or too cold. Having a very dark room is a plus and you should consider purchasing blackout curtains.
24) Meredith from The Mom of the Year:
The thing that helped me most when it came to improving sleep habits for both of my children was setting a routine. I found that keeping a consistent bedtime with a consistent routine really helped my children to understand when bedtime was and to be more comfortable with sleeping.
Dim lighting, a bath, a book, and some cuddles before bed all helped keep them calm, tired, and easy to put down for sleep!
25) Karen from The Sarcastic Parent:
The #1 thing that we think worked the best for us in regards to our daughter’s sleep pattern was that we never let her fall asleep in our arms or as we were holding her before putting her to bed. We were told that she would then wake up and not know where she was and cry.
We think that really helped as she has always slept great at night and did not need any comforting by us throughout the night.
26) Natasha from Anxious Toddlers:
With all three of my children, I played soft music while they slept. I found that eventually, my children would develop an association between their nighttime music and sleep. It also had the additional benefit of tuning out any background noise.
We weren’t having to creep around while the baby slept because the music was on. Also, when we traveled as they got older, we brought the same music with us to create a similar sleep environment. Even though my children are 13, 7 and 5 – we still use the music at bedtime!
27) Miriam from The Very Best Baby Stuff:
When my son was an infant I used an app to keep track of when it was time for him to eat.
After the first few weeks, I began also using it to keep track of his sleep. I got so much satisfaction from seeing the incremental increases in the amount that he slept at a time — it gave me hope that he (and I) would soon be sleeping through the night!
28) Pat from Pat and Candy:
Early on I established a pattern of rocking, singing and praying with our babies, but only to create a routine that soothed and quieted them down. We never put them in the crib asleep.
The few times we would, like when they’d fall asleep in the car while traveling, they would almost always wake up startled at some point.
Putting them in the crib while awake helped them to learn how to put themselves to sleep, and really helped me (mom!) get the rest I really needed!
29) Claire from Casual Claire:
I breastfed both of my kids on demand as newborns which any breastfeeding mom knows isn’t really conducive with great sleep habits.
But with both kids around 6 months I switched them to their own rooms and started letting them cry it out just a little bit and it actually worked. I never let them cry more than 5 ish minutes but it amazed me with both the first time they woke up crying, I waited, and then they went right back to sleep.
And with both shortly after I began this they were sleeping 12 hours at night which moms know is an amazing feeling!
Thanks to everyone who participated and made this a massive post and an excellent resource for parents everywhere.
I know it’s especially valuable for those who are seeking some good tips and tricks for improving their baby’s sleep habits (and aren’t we all?).
It’s clear that establishing a bedtime routine is one that that almost everyone can agree is an extremely important factor for improving sleep habits.
Beyond that, however, everyone’s situation is different.
Our kids all develop in different ways, at different times, and at different paces. What works amazing for one baby may not work at all for another.
Our goal with putting a post like this was to share a bunch of different personal stories with the hope that you find at least one that you can identify with.
Sometimes all it takes is one minor tweak or change that can make different between a baby that wakes you up several times at night, to a baby that sleeps through the night.
With that in mind, did we miss anything?
Is there anything that worked for you that wasn’t covered here?
Leave a comment below and share it with everyone! 🙂
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