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Putting the Babies to Bed

How do you get your little one to sleep peacefully through the night?

How to get little ones to sleep through the night may be the most hotly debated topic among parents. Whether it's co-sleeping or crying it out, parents seem to hold fast and hard to their beliefs about what works best.

And it's no wonder. After trying method after method, when you've find one that allows you to close your eyes and keep them closed for more than an hour at a time, you stick to it.

Since I'm now on my third child, I know that what works for one kid has no bearing on what works for another. My oldest child never wanted to sleep. My second one would sleep for hours. Of course, now the older one is up and ready for school on time and the younger would sleep forever if you let her. I think the third falls somewhere in the middle, but I'm not sure. She's the third, so she sort of has to take life as it comes.

Parents are known for loving to share both their sleep-inducing advice as well as their woes. For those of you out there without circles under your eyes and babies under two, what is your secret? Is it a trick you learned from your grandmother's grandmother? If it's crying it out, how long do you let them cry? If it's co-sleeping, when do they move into their own bed? Whether you are brand new parents or old pros with four-plus kids in college, your advice is welcomed, loved and, for the parents working on 45 minutes a night, NEEDED!

Anne Caldwell April 21, 2011 at 11:34 PM
I have two girls, ages 5 and almost 3. I've read many books and asked a ton of friends who were parents first... everyone has different ideas. My favorite book (I ended up buying it) is by Kim West, "Goodnight Sleep tight..." and offers tips from birth thru age 5. It's basically a happy medium between putting the child to bed after they're already sound asleep, and crying it out. The main idea being that the child needs to learn to fall asleep (or back to sleep) on their own. It's a process where the parent helps them by gradually moving further away from their crib night after night for about 2-3 weeks- until you can just kiss them, tuck 'em in while they are still awake, and walk out the door. It's important that all caregivers are on the same page and follow the same routine(s).
Mathea Morais April 22, 2011 at 02:51 PM
Thanks Anne! I've never heard this one. Sounds like a great method - not too harsh, not too soft either!
Nicole Cabot April 23, 2011 at 01:54 AM
Kids sleep habits are like snowflakes; each is unique. I don't think there is "the way" for all kids. Some kids are high strung at night and need a lot of soothing, cajoling and coaxing to hit the hay. My first one still needs a litany of rituals to get to sleep. This has been going on for 9 years. My 18 month old is one of those kids that you plunk in the crib and she closes her eyes. Napping is a whole other animal. I have an unscheduled napping baby. Sometimes she sleeps for 2 hours, sometimes 45 minutes. It is tough but when you think you have it figured out, it changes. Parents are pretty much the most sleep deprived peeps on the planet. I guess we just get used to it!

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