By Tammy Hussin, J.D.
Sleep Baby Sleep
Bringing a new baby home from the hospital is a beautiful experience, but it can also be filled with a multitude of anxieties and frustrations. One of the major sources of anxiety is figuring out how you can get your baby sleeping through the night. When will your baby be sleeping through the night and how long will it take? When are you going to finally get the rest that you so badly need? Well, this article can begin to help you to unravel the mystery behind getting your baby sleep through the night, and get you started on a gentle, easy path that will have everyone in your house getting a good night's sleep.
The biggest secret to getting your baby to sleep through the night is to teach your baby how to fall asleep without you. Instead of rocking or nursing your baby to sleep, or doing whatever it is that you do to put your baby to sleep, start trying to get your baby to fall asleep without your help. You can do this primarily by trying to put your baby down for a nap while your baby is still awake. You don't have to do it every time; just try to do it as much as you can. If your baby is crying or extremely fussy, it's not a good time to try get your baby to fall asleep without you. Instead, pick the times when your baby is quiet and peaceful to try it out.
Once you put your baby down to sleep while your baby is awake, see if he/she can fall asleep without your help. If your baby gets fussy and you cannot soothe him/her while your baby is still lying down, then pick your baby up to comfort him/her. You do not have to make your baby cry it out in order to teach him how to sleep independently of you. Just realize that each time you put your baby down for a nap, it's a brand new "opportunity" for you to teach your baby how to fall asleep without your help. So, do it as often as possible. Given enough of these opportunities, your baby will begin to fall asleep without you. Once your baby can sleep independently, then as soon as your baby is physically ready to sleep through the night, he/she will do so.
The earlier you begin the process of teaching your baby how to fall asleep without your help, the quicker your baby will be sleeping through the night. If you start the process of teaching your baby to sleep without you when your baby is an infant, the process is simple and gentle. Starting early ensures that you can accomplish your goal without having to make your baby cry it out. As soon as you can teach your baby how to sleep without you, then you can get some rest, too.
If you do not teach your baby how to fall asleep without you, your presence will be required for every sleeping occasion around the clock. You will understandably grow progressively exhausted, and months of this will make you, at best, downright irritable. Your baby will pretty cranky as well. If you don't teach your baby how to sleep well, then your baby won't take good naps and will be up all night demanding your presence. Your baby simply won't sleep when he/she is tired, and the whole house will suffer from your baby's irritability. All because your baby never learned how to sleep on his/her own.
Teaching your baby how to sleep without you does not in any way make you a "bad" parent; rather, it simply enables you to get a little bit of breathing room, and allows you to have the energy left over for other aspects of your life. It's important to consider your own needs, as well as your new baby's. In your strive to be "super-mom", it's all too easy to forget anyone else's needs, including your own! You need to try to maintain a balance in your new and chaotic life, and try to keep everyone happy, especially yourself. This will make you a much better parent than if you are tired and cranky all the time.
Saving time for your partner is also important, and ever so easy to forget. Failing to save energy for your partner fosters resentment and allows distance between you to develop much quicker than you can ever believe. By saving time for yourself and your partner, you will help to maintain the balance and allow love to flourish throughout your house. The best way to achieve that balance is to make sure that your baby learns how to sleep without you. You can tend to your baby's every need and have an incredible, loving relationship with your baby; but when it's time for your baby to sleep, it's time to separate and get some time for yourself and your loved ones.
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