Sleep is the elusive dream of parenting a newborn. I am four weeks in with this little guy and I am already starting to wonder if I will ever have a full night sleep again. But at the same time, I can feel it getting closer.
Everyday our routine gets a little more defined and I know that one of these days I will wake up in sheer panic because my baby didn't wake up and something unthinkable must have happened, only to find him sleeping peacefully through the night for the first time. To get us to that point, I am trying to remember all of the tips to get a baby to sleep I have used in the past.
We have a bed time routine and as we reach six weeks I will start to put him down before he is actually asleep and have him start falling asleep in his crib. I won't let him 'cry it out' at this age, but I will stay with him, singing to him and patting his back, until he falls asleep. Then after he masters that I will stop patting and just stay sing sing him to sleep. We will work our way to just laying him down and quietly walking out the door. This has worked in the past, but if it doesn't work with Owen, we will try something else.
There are a ton of different methods out there on how to get a baby to sleep. In my opinion, there are three necessary skills to getting your baby to sleep on his own.
The first is a realistic attitude. It isn't going to happen overnight and a lot of things, like learning to roll over and teething to name a few, will mess up all of the progress you have made. Being aware that this is going to happen will make it a little easier to bare when it does. Go in knowing that not everything you try will work.
This is where the second skill comes into play. Perseverance. Don't give up! It may feel like your baby is never going to sleep through the night, but he will. Unless there is some medical reason that he wakes up during the night, he will get there eventually. Be as consistent as you can. Stick with your night time routine. As he gets older, make sure you have a good nap routine too. Make sure you are consistent about keeping night time for sleep and not for playing and interacting, no matter how tempting it is.
Of course, there may be a need for a change, and that is when you need the third skill. Flexibility. You may have a picture perfect image in your head of how the nighttime routine is going to play out. And it may have even worked with one or all of your other kids. But each baby is different and you may need to be flexible. If after consistently trying a new routine you have had no progress, it is probably time to try something different. My oldest child hated his crib. He would easily go to sleep anywhere else in the house, but not in his crib. It wasn't my ideal situation to buy a twin bed for a one year old. A bed that would allow him to get up and wander around the house anytime he felt like it. What would that do to naptime and bed time. But I gave it a shot and he never once got out of bed. He easily put himself to sleep and stayed asleep all night. No safe option should ever be overlooked.
Don't lose hope! Eventually be rewarded with a full night sleep. Hopefully before your baby turns 21.