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I am waiting to try, but have been looking a lot into the topic of infant sleep and really want to have some plans in place BEFORE I am sleep deprived and losing it. I have read that the key to a good-sleeping infant (besides luck, of course) is starting early to gently encourage independent sleep and good sleep habits.
I know this can get into controversial territory, so let me clarify that I don't mean to say I would want to leave a newborn to CIO. I am drawn to attachment parenting philosophies but also think that part of parenting is helping your kids to learn important skills. Babies really need a lot of sleep and not sleeping well is as hard on them as on the rest of the family. I don't think they should necessarily sleep through the night at 6 months, but I do think that by that age a baby will be happier if she/he can get through some sleep cycle transitions without help.
But I am thinking about how to soothe a baby to sleep and help him/her develop independent sleep abilities without a lot of crying and without always falling asleep in arms (I am fine if that happens sometimes, of course--love a sleeping baby in my arms!). I got deep into the sleep topic recently and created a Pinterest board on my findings. I was looking for research on gentle, no-cry methods that can be started right away. Here's what I found: Baby Sleep
The summary of suggestions I found is Baby Whisperer, the four S's, shush/pat, pickup/put down, lovey (that smells like mom and isn't a suffocation hazard), rocking cradle, Eat Play Sleep, and put down drowsy but awake. Lots of good ideas here!
Anyone have any success with these methods? Or failures? Suggestions of other things to try to encourage sleep in the early months?
I really believe every baby is different and trying different techniques until you find the right one is key. My son is now 5 1/2 months and the Ferber method worked the best for him.
We started sleep training at 4 1/2 months. We did the four S's (which really only worked for us during the newborn stage), we did shush/pat, pickup/put down (which only made me very frustrated because it only escalated his screaming), we were never able to put him down drowsy but awake until we instituted the Ferber method. I've kept him on the 3 hour eat, play, and sleep cycle since he was around 3 months ( of course there are days that we vary from this due to him or my schedule).
In the end the Ferber method was really the only thing that allowed him to have consistent sleep during the night. He never cried more than 10 minutes and we did frequent checks of reassurance with him. Now that he is "trained" I can put him down to nap during the day awake and he will fall sleep within minutes. I can also put him down in the crib at night awake and he will fall asleep on his own.
I think its also worth noting that now that he is "trained" if he wakes up before midnight (we put him down at 730-8pm) we pick him up and change his diaper (which i believe Ferber says to not touch them) and then put him back to sleep. If he wakes up after midnight we change him and feed him 4 oz in the rocker (he still needs one feed at night) and then put him back to sleep. Also I read to him for 30 minutes each night and he generally falls asleep on me, but I'm not giving up on my reading to him so I don't care if he is asleep or not.
I think its also worth noting that now that he is "trained" if he wakes up before midnight (we put him down at 730-8pm) we pick him up and change his diaper (which i believe Ferber says to not touch them) and then put him back to sleep. If he wakes up after midnight we change him and feed him 4 oz in the rocker (he still needs one feed at night) and then put him back to sleep.
Thanks for sharing your personal experience! I am not against a CIO method of some type if LO is old enough and no other method seems to be working--and from my minimal experience it does seem pickup/put down can be way too much for some kiddos. I am glad to hear you have found a way to still go to your son and comfort him if he wakes up in the night without "undoing" his sleep training--that's something I worry about with the Ferber method. But I will still want to try gentler methods before moving to something more intense and before baby is developmentally ready to sleep through the night, just to establish some independent sleep habits as early as I can.
Last edited by deductiveparent; August 11th, 2013 at 04:36 PM.
Sometimes babies are just different, too. My first baby slept exceptionally well - 12 hours a night by the time he was 8 weeks old. Not so lucky with my second. He's 5 months old and is sporadic with how he sleeps.
I agree all babies are different, my baby girl is almost 4 months and sleeps throughout the night her last feeding is at 11:00pm and she wakes up at 7:00am she is eating 5 ounces every 4 hours ! I am very lucky
All children are different, our first was a fantastic sleeper right from the get go. She usually slept for 4-5 hour stretches as a newborn and just gradually slept longer and longer until she slept through the night which was before 6 months. I never did much reading on infant sleep or sleep training. The one thing we did do was swaddle. Not with blankets, but with the swaddle wraps. She was swaddled the majority of the time as a newborn. She always slept in our room for the first few months but we introduced naps in the crib early on so she was used to her own room.
The swaddling not only gave me some piece of mind but also helped with her scratching. The feeling of being swaddled makes them feel cozy and secure, just like when they are in the womb. I definitely think swaddling helped her sleep habits from an early age. We stopped the swaddling on her terms around 3 months when she started to fidget and not like it anymore.