I've been noticing recently in a few dad blogs (like this entry in More Diapers) there has been some talk of getting the baby to sleep. Not to brag, but we've had Madame sleeping through the night since she was about 8 weeks old. (OK. That was bragging, but I didn't mean it. I swear.) Sure, she's a great baby and I'm sure there's some amount of dumb-luck on our side, but I'm a firm believer that we helped the situation too.
I want to preface this by saying that I'm no expert and obviously whatever works for you is OK. If you want to get up in the middle of the night and wake the baby to change a diaper - I think you're nuts but to each his own. Also, keep in mind that no one actually sleeps through the night. You, me, your dog - we all wake up in the middle of the night and put ourselves back to sleep. The baby needs to learn how to do the same thing. Lastly, I copped most of this from Dr. Michael Cohen's The New Basics - a great book I highly recommend.
OK. Here's how MDD did it.
- First few weeks do what you have to do. The baby doesn't even know the difference between night and day. Think of it like 9 months worth of jet lag. You just have to suck it up.
- After a couple of weeks, let the baby cry a little before you rush to pick it up. It might be hard, but don't freak out after every little peep.
- Once the baby is big enough for the crib (and is out of the bassinet in your room - maybe after a month or two?), put the baby to sleep at night. Once the baby starts crying, let the baby cry for 10 minutes alone before going back. Console and quiet the baby, then if the baby cries again, give it another 10 minutes (from the point when the baby starts crying). Eventually the baby will sleep. If it wakes up in the middle of the night - stick to the 10 minute rule.
- By now hopefully you've got a baby sleeping through the night. If after 4 months you don't, then drop the 10 minute rule. Put the baby to bed at 7 PM. Say goodnight, close the door and come back at 7AM the next day. No matter what.
There it is. Basically, don't be afraid to let them cry a little. That 10 minute rule worked like a charm for us and honestly I think I've got a happier baby during the day because she's well rested. I'm not crazy about making her nap during the day. If she does (and she usually does) that's great, but if I'm getting a full night's rest I can pretty much handle anything she dishes out during the day.