I am in a debate with relatives as to what age you "should" teach your baby to fall asleep by themselves. I think under 6 weeks is too young but I am being pressured to put my son (4 weeks old tomorrow) to bed before he is completely sound asleep. This is so he can "learn" to fall asleep on his own. Just wanted to get an idea of what others think.
I'm such a bad example of this - in my opinion, your baby is far too young to acquire this skill. Heck at 4 weeks, they need to wake up frequently like every 2-4 hours depending if you're breastfeeding or not to feed/nurse.
My baby's 15 months old and due to our mistakes, he started learning to fall asleep around 12 months and we still don't have it down perfectly. It takes time - I really wouldn't worry about it at this age - in fact I wouldn't be too concerned until around 6 months of age and is on a regular schedule. One thing you could do when the baby's sleeping through the night on his own (which should be around 3 months) is to establish a bedtime routine - feeding, bath-time, play-time, nursing & then bed or something like that. One thing though - you don't want to overstimulate your baby before bedtime. That will make the going to sleep thing miserable for both you and your baby.
Also, what does your pediatrician say? Mine believed that infants should be fed upon demand - especially at the newborn age. Again, follow your own instincts - not your relatives' advice and act upon that. Best of luck and I hope you get some rest soon - jen
My son is 7 months and he is on a set schedule. I believe he knows when it's bed time. He will have dinner around 6 pm, get his bath around 7:30, I will read him a book, I then take him to his room, rock him about 10 times and then always put him in his crib awake, he has been going to bed awake and falls asleep on his own since he was about 5 months old. Plus he doesn't even take a bottle or nurse before he goes to bed. His dinner and 4 oz bottle will hold him through the night. He is usually asleep by 8:30 - 9:00 every night and I hate the fact that I have to wake him up every morning at 7:00 a.m. to get him ready to go to the sitters. On the weekend he will sleep until 8:30.
I am sort of in the middle on this. I think that it's important to start a bedtime routine about a month old that they can 'learn'...whether it's a book, bathtime, snuggling, all of the above.
I do think that a baby can 'learn' to fall asleep in a healthy way by being put in the crib before being completely zonked out. I don't agree in letting a child 'cry it out' at this age, but I don't think that every coo and noise needs to be addressed either.
The 3 month old that I watch is now sleeping through the night (8 p.m. - feeding at 7 p.m.- until 4 or 5 a.m.); is already taking 2-3 hour morning and afternoon naps on a schedule and is a very happy and contented child! I think that there is a lot of research to back up the concept of routine (not militant, but consistent) and I think that's important. His mom swears by a specific book that she has read (she's a research-aholic, so I let her do all the work and then just reap the benefits...LOL). It's called "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby". For her, she said that there was a lot of common sense statements that quite frankly made sense for her. Maybe it will help you!
I guess I've been around enough parents and babies and good examples and bad examples to feel comfortable in this. Will I be able to do it when my little one arrives? I have no idea, but I think the very fact that I don't know is in my favor. I'm not going to try to be an 'expert' with my monkey! ;)
Good luck and ultimately, don't let anyone pressure you into doing something that you aren't comfortable with. I encourage everyone to read and make decisions for themselves. :)
At 4 weeks you can watch for signs and try to read him and go with the flow. At that age they're sleeping SO MUCH that a routine pattern (at least I believe) won't happen. But I did notice after a while my son had a natural sleep schedule that lined up with the experts (being Weissbluth who invited "cry it out" and has studied infant/toddler sleep habits for 30+ years). He's big on the 10-ish and the 2-ish nap for 1 hour min. According to the books, that's pretty right on track with what he should have. He's been doing that at about 2.5 months. I honeslty don't remember his newborn patterns since to me, he slept.
While I don't believe in cry it out, get the Weissbluth book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child". It is pretty right on with the theories. The cry it out can be up to you. But the baby is definately way too young to instill any cry it out techniquest. That's reserverd for over 6 months old.
Go with the flow. You're the mother--not the 9 billion people giving advice.
I beleive routine is important, and fairly consistent bed time. While crying won't hurt a baby, there's crying (I'm tired and need a little help settling myself) and there's crying (hysterical and needing comforting). The second type of crying I usually would pick her up and do something with her, a story, or just sitting quietly in my arms while I watch TV or read a book, rocking etc.
I've found that shushing helps, along with firm pressure from my hands (usually I just hold her arms against her body and press against her chest / back with flat hands) (this is if she's half asleep and just stirring and I want her to go back to sleep), and patting on the butt or chest depending if she's face up or face down - which usually calms her crying (the first type of crying) in a couple of minutes (a kind of conditioning, like a pavlov's dogs reaction now).... and sends her to sleep pretty quickly when she's tired....
Thanks for all the advice. My son is 3 months old now. We have a before bed routine that includes a walk outside, breast feeding, playing, bath, music/story and bed. It is working pretty good. We start the bath at 8pm so he is sleeping by 8:30pm. He sleeps till 12:00 or 2am depends on how much milk he got during the day and how many naps he had. Usually he eats every 4-6 hours. Although right now I think he is going though another growth spirt as last night it was feeding every 2 hours. We do lay him in his bassinet/crib when he is half asleep. We may have to put his "soother" back in his mouth once or twice in the first 15 min of "sleep" but then he is out for the night.
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