I have to make a confession. When SCB was four weeks old, I was the mom googling “four weeks old, nighttime schedule”, hoping to find some kind of answer. At the time, it seemed completely normal to want to put my new adorable baby on some type of night schedule so I could help her avoid building “bad habits”. If only I had read baby 411 instead of the book I chose to read that oh so simply stated that you could just put your baby down to sleep at night — not asleep, but awake and they would just eventually fall asleep. HA. (enter the sound of maniacal laughter)
Instinctively and realistically, those ideas just didn’t make sense to me. SCB had no real interest in going to sleep at night at four weeks old. Our nighttime routine consisted of either me or my husband getting plenty of exercise on the exercise ball while we bounced our baby girl to her heart’s content so she would hopefully fall asleep. The ball routine then morphed into the moby wrap routine where I got so used to wearing the wrap that I found myself wearing it even after SCB had already fallen asleep. I’m not complaining in a major way as we were fortunate that she would only wake up twice during the night. Now at four months, we put her down at 7, my husband gives her a dream feed at 11 and she wakes up around 6:30-7 AM – sleep success!
I have learned over these four months that all of the things that we were doing were completely fine at that point and we were nowhere near building bad habits. At that young age, anything goes and anything to get your baby to sleep should be OK. Once I saw 278 comments on Baby Center about ALL the different things people do to get their babies to go to sleep, I realized there is no “schedule” as pretty much every baby is different. It really is about your baby and what works for you. It sounds obvious and easy to say but sometimes it is easy to forget your motherly instinct. It is definitely nice when you can remember it!
I made a different choice when it came to getting SCB on a nap schedule. Rather than googling or reading anything, I just decided to try. Try as in try to put her down for a nap. For some reason, looking at my very awake baby and thinking there was even a remote possibility she would go for a nap, would make me laugh. Until I just decided to try. I have a system now where I put her down, give her a lovey, put on the sound machine and rub her forehead until she seems calm….and then I walk out of the room. Now, she may stir a bit where I have to go in and out of the room a few times but eventually she goes to sleep (I should add that we are not a household where the world stops when it is nap time. SCB also takes naps in the stroller). I also have the nanny following this plan as I noticed the nanny would rock her to sleep and I wanted to make sure that did not become the habit. I don’t let SCB cry it out but I am trying to build a pattern where she knows she is in her crib and can go to sleep. I am hopeful we never have to let her cry it out but we will see. Tomorrow is SCB’s four month appointment. Hard to believe how quickly time flies!!
Have some good thoughts on how to get your baby to sleep? Please write in as I think it is helpful for other parents to hear about what works for their baby!