As a first time mommy I am going through the grueling school of learning how to put my baby to sleep. It changes every month, sometimes twice a month, on how I get this precious princess to take a nap or sleep through the night. My heart cannot stand hearing her cry herself to sleep, so I have come up with some creative ways of getting her to dreamland. Here are my best tips as she has grown up!
0-3 Months – Surviving the 4th Trimester and how to get sleep with a newborn
- I used a Summer Infant by Your Side Sleeper for the first few weeks.
- I started co-sleeping at 3 weeks.
- I nursed throughout the night.
- I would nurse her to sleep for naps too.
- I used a Mamaroo and baby carrier for naps.
- I would swaddle Sue.
3-10 Months – Cuddling, nursing and creating a very strong bond
Here are a the details of how I survived the first few months with a baby.
- We co-slept every night, it was sweet and lovely, most of the time.
- I put Sue to sleep using the Ergobaby or Tula carrier, all the time.
- I started using a pacifier at 4 months after establishing a strong nursing relationship.
- Sue loved to cuddle up to a blankie.
- I used a noise machine (an old iphone with the Relax Melodies app, it works wonderfully!)
11 – 14 Months – Transitioning your baby from co-sleeping to a crib and helping your baby fall asleep by themselves
Here are the steps I took to transition Sue from co-sleeping and nursing every 2-3 hours, to sleeping through the night in her own room. Below is just a summary of what I did, you can find the full stories here: transition your baby from co-sleeping to a crib and help your baby fall asleep by themselves.
- I would put Sue to sleep in my normal manner, of using the baby carrier and nursing and then putting her down in her own crib and after her first waking, bring her into bed with us. After I did this for a while, I moved on to the next step:
- I transition her to her own room and put her asleep there. When she wakes up the first time, do not bring her back into your bed, but stay with her in her room until she is asleep again. After she got used to her own room, I would make one more small change in our routine and move to the next step:
- I slowly stopped using the carrier and just held her, or rocked her on a chair with a blankie covering her eyes. I needed to break the habit of putting her to sleep in the baby carrier, so I tried to mimic the feeling for her, but at least this way I was sitting down and resting. After she became used to this method, I moved on to change something else:
- Then I would transition from fully nursing her to sleep, to when she slows down her sucking, giving her a pacy. She didn’t like it at first. If she fussed, I nursed again; we did this back and forth a few times a night until she became used to the pacy.
- Then after a few more days, I would slowly transition to give her a bottle instead of nursing, and then a pacy when she slows her sucking or pushes the bottle out with her tongue
- When she wakes in the middle of the night, first give her her pacy back, if that does not work, try a bottle filled with water, if that is unsuccessful, a bottle of milk. Slowly transition her to eat more during the day and not expect it at night time.
- As I slowly changed her nighttime routine, I stopped putting her to sleep in a baby carrier and nursing. Instead I would give her a bottle and rub her back while holding her. When I feel her body relax I then move her to her crib and rub her tummy or back while covering her eyes with a light blankie
- Then I would transition her to fall asleep in her own crib, and not on me. I would let her drink her bottle in the crib while shooshing and rubbing her tummy and covering her eyes.
- Finally, after weeks of very slow transition through the steps above and no crying it out, I would lay her down in her crib with a bottle and blankies and a pacy nearby. I would leave the room. If she plays, that is fine. When she fusses, go in and do the above step for 5 minutes, leave again. After 3 iterations of her not falling asleep yet, rub her tummy and shoosh her to sleep.
Hopefully the elaborate system I went through gives you a few tips on how to get your baby to sleep easier and longer stretches at night. I pray it does not take you as long as it took me, but if it does, know you are NOT alone! 🙂 Feel free to post your best sleep tips below, I would love to learn from you!