Getting Baby to Sleep

Getting baby to sleep through the night is a problem that almost all new parents face at some stage. It is so common that there are almost as many books and websites dealing with the subject as there are babies out there! Well maybe not, but it is a big problem for sleep deprived parents.

When a baby wakes every one and a half to two hours, all through the night, parents become exhausted. Their relationships, their home, even the baby himself may suffer. It can be just too much to deal with.

Unfortunately, in spite of all the books and help out there, no one solution works for all baby sleep problems. Babies are individuals who have their own personalities and quirks from day one.

Parents too have very different ideas on how to relate to their babies. Some new parents come to the job with very set ideas of how things will be. They often find themselves at a loss when baby refuses to go along with the plan.

Other, more laid back parents decide that they will just let the baby show them the way. They go along with baby's timetable, feeding always on demand, sleeping with baby in their bed or bedroom ... and sooner or later discover that baby has become more and more demanding, and they, the parents, have no life left at all.

What Can Parents (or Grandparents) Do?

No matter what approach they take, all the experts seem to agree that the first step is to establish a routine for the baby. Keep the bed-time ritual the same every night, whether it is a feed, then a cuddle, then a song - whatever works for you and your baby, make that a nightly ritual so that your baby understands that it is time to sleep.

The advice then seems to fall into two camps:
One is The Dr.Sears Family's Attachment Parenting.
The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two (Revised and Updated Edition)Most advocates of on-demand feeding,allowing baby to sleep in the same bed, or the same room with her parents refer back to the doctors Sears and their teaching.This is summed up by one reviewer as " meeting your baby's emotional and physical needs in order to form a healthy attachment. Trusting your instincts is a big part of this."

In the other camp are the believers in teaching their babies to sleep on their own.The "guru" for this method is Richard Ferber M.D. Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems Dr Ferber explains childrens'and adults' sleep cycles and how wakening is natural part of everyone's sleep cycle. The problem for babies is not the wakening, but the difficulty of getting back to sleep on their own. Dr. Ferber lays out a clear and concise plan to teach parents how to get their babies to go to sleep without having to be nursed, rocked or patted to calm them. Detractors call this the "cry it out" method, but in fact Dr Ferber has parents go in to comfort their baby at regular intervals.In over 360 reviews of the book on Amazon, the vast majority were from grateful parents whose babies were finally sleeping through the night. As one reviewer put it "A rested baby is a happy baby...a rested mommy is a happy mommy".

Most books written for parents about getting baby to sleep fall into one or other of these two methods, with some minor differences. A third and more unusual approach to getting baby to sleep is Dr Harvey Karp's The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Baby Sleep LongerThis book gives easy, effective techniques to soothe your crying baby. They appear to be most useful in baby's first three to four months, which Dr Karp likens to a "Fourth Trimester" of pregnancy.

For parents or grandparents who just don't have the time to read about baby sleep problems, try the audio program below:

The Baby Sleep Solution
How to Get Your Baby to
Sleep Through the Night
Every Night!

› Getting Baby to Sleep