If you know me you probably know that SLEEP has been a huge issue in our house. I've read every baby sleep book written and want to summarize what I have learned works best for us (I am a "baby sleeps down the hall" kind of mama):
-Get a reliable baby monitor
-Decide if you want to let yourself fall asleep with your baby. Once we moved Ben to his own room, we decided that everyone got better sleep if I stayed committed to nursing in the rocking chair and didn't fall asleep next to Ben. For some this doesn't work and they CHOOSE to co-sleep. I think that is great. I'm suggesting that you make sure it is a choice and not something that just happens because it will then become a habit and habits are tricky to break.
-If you are choosing to have your child sleep in his or her own crib, place a comfortable chair next to it. Try not to crouch or hold the baby in an awkward position, since you risk throwing your back out- not uncommon among mothers whose backs have been weakened by over work and depletion. (See last post for a depletion quiz.)
-Make your child's room pleasant and peaceful FOR YOU, since the two of you are going to share it some of the time. Lovely pictures and night-lights, essential oil diffuser...
-Have the time with your child be as soothing as possible for you, not just her. A good rocker can feel deeply relaxing. Softly singing can feel really sweet to both of you. I sing Ben the lullaby my dad sang to me when I was little and the one his mom sang to him. It makes me feel connected to my ancestors and to all parents soothing their babies.
-Get a sound machine!
-If you decide to sleep coach your baby (like we did) pick a method and stick to it for a week or so. With Grace (now 5 years old) I made the mistake of rapidly switching between different training methods and the inconsistency made it really hard for her to understand what I was trying to accomplish. And during sleep coaching, do what you can to treat yourself and your child really, REALLY well.
You can only do the best you can and you can’t MAKE a baby sleep. Good luck, mama!