Wisdom From a Second-Time Parent
When my second child was born, I chucked the parenting books aside trying to encourage myself. At four months, she’d sleep for a few hours into the night. But I was craving sleep. How could I get my baby to sleep longer? And for how long?
She’d wake up and stay up for an hour wanting to be cuddled and fed. What was I doing wrong?
My intuition went into action. And yet a second time mom at age 42, I had never felt so unsure in my life. I kept asking myself, “how do I get my baby to sleep without nursing?”
Thankfully, I managed to dial down my fears, brush up on a few more infant sleep facts, and got my husband involved.
Sleeping through the night is so important for you and your baby and yet, it can be hard to navigate through a sleep schedule. This precious sleep schedule brings comfort and sanity to the home. So…how do you get your baby to sleep at night and alone?
There’s no magic secret. Getting your baby to sleep for longer periods of time at night takes time and requires a proactive approach. The key I would soon discover was consistency. My baby was super smart. She seemed to know exactly when I was tired and took advantage of that. When she finally started sleeping for longer stretches, I celebrated by watching Pretty Woman from start to finish!
The most understated part: When you help your newborn sleep throughout the night, your baby will be happier and more engaged.
1) Use the baby swaddle
Many experts agree that between two and four months of age, babies are ready for a general schedule. Their sleeping and sleeping habits become more predictable and consistent and the same also goes for knowing when to use the baby swaddle. Some babies might need more swaddling than others. This is where tuning into their baby wisdom can pay off.
How to get a tight swaddle just before bedtime when she had just enough to eat and wasn’t overtired or stimulated seemed to be the best way to go. Surprisingly, she also felt comforted by the tune of a spontaneous baby rap I’d make up, but eventually, she’d wriggle her way out of the swaddle.
2) Use baby soothing sounds for sleep
There came a period when the nights became so terrible that it became so difficult to put her to sleep that I allowed myself to get talked me into nature sounds and white noises. I was skeptical whether these “magic sounds” would work. But when you’re desperate and craving sleep, you’ll do almost anything!
So I whipped out my phone and introduced baby sleep sounds and white noise – a simple and easy tactic that encouraged sleep.
And when she woke up intermittently throughout the night, I kept looking for the best sleep sounds for baby that would help her fall asleep again. I found nature sounds for baby sleep and even hair dryer sounds for baby sleep but in the end, ocean sounds for a sleeping baby did the trick and I’d buy myself another two hours-worth of sleep.
3) Understand the difference between crying and fussing
Crying and fussing are different. In the beginning, I worked very hard to minimize the crying given my newborn’s age and developmental level. I couldn’t afford to let her cry her sleep out. When she’d fuss, I’d whip out my phone and start playing some nature sounds and white noises. I’d follow the “fuss it out” advice in this article by timing her fussiness.
As a parent, it’s imperative to understand how your baby sleeps and trust your intuition so you can get your baby sleep longer periods at night. Not everything works for every baby. Tune into the wisdom of your baby and learn what works for her without trying to perfect the process otherwise you’ll end up exhausted.