Waking up in the middle of the night can take a toll on you, and the only remedy is to start sleep training your baby. Each baby is different, and yours may or may not respond to sleep training methods well. There's the temptation to pressure your baby, but that's not a good choice. You'll only become frustrated and stress out you and your baby. Try a few of the following methods with patience, but if none of these work, stop and wait for your baby to sleep through the night on her own:
1. Wait until Six Months
If your baby seems ready, then by all means start earlier than six months. Don't force your baby if she is not though, just because a sleep training book demands that you allow your baby to cry until she gives up. Some babies start to fall asleep on their own at this age, if not earlier. Many babies wait until much later to develop this skill. While it's frustrating to know that some babies fall asleep from the moment they're born, you have to find ways to deal with it and not place unreasonable expectations on your baby.
2. Establish a Bedtime Routine
Bedtime routines work well for older children as well as for sleep training your baby. The idea is to only engage in activities at bedtime that your baby will learn to associate with falling asleep. For example, a bedtime routine could consist of:
- Giving her a bath
- Reading her a story
- Giving her a massage
- Nursing her
- Laying her in the crib and singing to her
Your baby may not respond to a bedtime routine right away, but she may in due time. Start practicing the routine at a time when you know she is most likely to fall asleep anyway, and then gradually start earlier until you reach her desired bedtime.
3. Choose the Best Place to Sleep
Some moms insist that the only place a baby should sleep when you're sleep training them is in the crib. It's a valid argument, but it doesn't work for all babies. Your baby may need you to fall asleep, and she may be more willing to respond to sleep training in your bed, than in hers. She may need a tighter space, such as a bassinet. Choose a sleeping arrangement that works best for your baby. Once she learns how to sleep through the night, or during naps, then you can make changes.
4. Use Music
If your household is noisy, due to the radio playing or if you or others listen to music throughout the day, then complete silence at bedtime may be startling to your baby. Try playing a musical CD to get her to sleep. You can turn it off once she falls asleep. Some CDs are especially produced for babies, and includes sounds of water or other natural sounds to help sooth your baby.
While you're waiting for one or more of these methods to work, take advantage of the time you have when you wake up. You could start your work day much earlier and take a nap with your baby during the daytime.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business.