Putting your new baby to sleep

Getting your new kid to sleep can be a difficult challenge… one I still struggle with my brand new 4 year old. Here’s some tips.

First you want to think about starting a routine for the baby when your life starts to settle down after having the baby home for a week or so. Some babies absolutely need routines, others are much more easy going, and if a routine isn’t followed they can get by just fine.

The routine that worked great for our kids, and for practically all the babies in my daycare, comes from a book my wife read after Maeve, our first child was born, called Babywise. I didn’t read the book, but my wife told me enough to make it work for Maeve, and everyone else since.

The pattern to remember is Sleep, Eat, Play, repeat.

The idea is that the baby (and you!) will know what is to be expected, and what happens next. So when the baby wakes up, it will know that it is time to eat. After the baby eats, it is time for it to play. Then it’s time for a nap.

The benefit is, if the baby has been playing for a while, you can probably guess that it’s tired, and want to sleep, since it ate only an hour or so ago.

I highly recommend this pattern for any new baby and new parent.

Brand spanking new baby – We let the baby sleep as much as it wanted

It’s hard, but she has got to learn to fall asleep on her own. One method that has worked for most of the kids that come to my daycare is this…

1. Be sure she is tired (but not sleeping), a clean diaper is on, and everything is ready in her room to sleep (music, comfort item, pacifier)
2. Put her down in her crib on her back, do the sign for sleep, and say something short and soothing (Good night dear, go to sleep) and walk out of the room.
3. If she does cry, don’t go in the room. Wait 5 minutes.
4. After 5 minutes, if the crying doesn’t stop, go in, don’t pick her up, but briefly try to comfort her, fix her pacifier, tell her she’s ok and to go to sleep, do the sleep sign again, and then walk in the room.
5. Repeat step 4 over, except wait 10 minutes, then wait 15 minutes, then 20.

It tears your heart to hear them cry, but if you stick with this _everytime_ it’s naptime or they go to sleep at night, everyone will benefit. She will learn to sleep on her own. You will be able to get things done while she sleeps. I strongly urge you to try this.

For the kids that I have used this on, they have learned to sleep on their own usually by the 3rd day… 7 days at the most. I did have one kid who took over a month, but he had reflux issues which didn’t help.

I should add that this process should be used by everyone that puts the kid to sleep.

The sign we used for sleep…
http://www.signingsavvy.com/sign/BED

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