Friday, April 08, 2005

Nothing Better than a Sleeping Baby

Reagan is an excellent sleeper. Adding up night and naps, she probably gets 14-16 hours of sleep/day. And, without sounding like a bragger, she has been sleeping through the night since she was 7 weeks old. So how did we do it? Well, I'm sure some of it was that we were just lucky. But there are a few hints that helped us out.

First, from the time that we brought her home from the hospital, we made a point to feed her every three hours during the day--even if it meant waking her up to feed her. Then, at night, we would let her sleep as long as she would. (Some lactation nurses don't recommend letting newborns sleep more than four hours at a time, but our pediatrician said it was fine, so I chose to believe him.)

When she was several months old, we were still either holding or rocking Reagan to sleep before putting her down. Somewhere around a year or so, we decided we would try putting her down awake and letting her "cry it out." On the first night, she cried about five minutes. Same for the second. By the third night, she didn't even cry.

Now, at 20 months, Reagan happily goes down awake. Sometimes when we can sense that she's getting tired or cranky, we'll say, "Want to go night-night?" and she'll resond, "Night-night." She actually WANTS to go to bed!

We're not without our bumps in the road (especially when she spends the night with grandparents!), but we are well-rested parents overall. Every child is different, and I don't claim to be an expert. But this worked for us. If you can tolerate a little crying, you will probably have a happier, better-rested baby in the end.

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