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I am NO expert at getting a baby to sleep through the night. Just ask my husband. But I have gathered some information you might find helpful so you and your little one(s) can get more shut eye!

Our Sleep Story

My son was not a good sleeper and I really struggled with it until he was about 10 months old. After reading nearly every sleep-related book I could get my hands on and trying countless methods, I finally read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. That book, the reassuring words of my pediatrician and 3 nights of letting my little guy cry led to my now fantastic sleeper. He has napped and slept through the night consistently since then.

Baby Girl was a bit earlier to sleep through the night consistently (about 6 months old), but has really regressed a bit since she started teething. For some reason, I actually don’t mind waking to feed her but I know if I want her to sleep through the night again I need to get a plan and get consistent.

What I’ve Learned

  • Do What Makes You Comfortable! No matter how many people tell you the Cry It Out Method works, if you don’t feel comfortable doing it DON’T. If you think it might work for you, be consistent and stick with it. But, more than anything do what feels right to you and your child.
  • Be Consistent. Whatever method you chose, stick with it. I definitely made the mistake of giving up on a theory after a day or two if I didn’t work.

Advice from Experts

Here are a collection of resources that provide helpful tips to get your baby to sleep through the night

  • Mayo Clinic. Includes the general recommendations to encourage your baby to sleep through the night. (You know, the stuff that you think you’re doing so will make you totally frustrated when he’s still not sleeping!)
  • Kids Sleep Training with Dr. Weissbluth. In conjunction with Parents Connect, Dr. Weissbluth offered step by step advice on getting babies and children to sleep better. There are specific suggestions for a variety of common sleep issues, too.
  • The Baby Whisperer. I think of this as a kinder, gentler version of the Babywise program.

Books Recommendations

  • Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. At only $9.36 on Amazon, this book is worth its weight in gold. Written by a well-respected pediatrician, I highly recommend it and know many other families who swear by.
  • Secrets of the Baby Whisperer. Tracy Hogg is a nurse, mother and nanny who suggests a structured routine to get baby to sleep for longer stretches at a time.
  • The No-Cry Sleep Solution. What mom can argue with this title, right? Author Elizabeth Pantley helps you discover stumbling blocks and work with baby’s natural sleep rhythms.

You’re Not Alone

Misery loves company. Read about other moms and their experiences with sleep deprivation and sleep training woes.
* Kate, The Shopping Mama
* Twenty Something Momma
* Heather Nicole on Ferber & Co-Sleeping

Share! What was your experience with your baby sleeping through the night? Any book or website you found particularly helpful? What method worked and did not work for you?

Kate

Kate

Kate started The Shopping Mama™ in January 2009 when, after graduating law school, she traded in online legal research and writing for locating the best products for children. She shops for three kids ages 7, 5 and 2 from their home in Japan. Her military family is making the most of back-to-back overseas assignments by traveling every chance they get.

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  1. 1.
    TwentySomethingMomma

    My first son was a ridiculously terrible sleeper, but what worked in our household was simply weathering the storm.

    Here is a post I wrote a few months ago about our sleep struggles:

    http://twenty-something-momma.blogspot.com/2009/07/words-of-wisdom.html

    Thankfully his younger brother (now 6 months old) is a much better sleeper – either that or it just seems like it because the oldest was so much more challenging!

  2. 2.
    Sue

    My 3yr old stopped STTN back in April. He wakes every 2hrs or so and won't go back down unless we cover him up. It got so bad our Pedi. referred us to Dr. Richard Ferber at Children's Hospital of Boston. He's the author or Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems. We saw him a few times. His advice was to gate him into his room, not feed into the "cover me up" story and a few other things. It would be great if he was an only child but he screams so loud he wakes up his baby sister so we then have 2 kids who won't sleep. I'm pregnant with #3 and I'm exhausted. I honestly couldn't tell you the last time I got a full 6hrs of sleep.

    We're hoping he'll "out grow" it but no luck so far!

  3. 3.
    Hailey

    soooo glad you are talking about this. I have so many questions.
    Here it goes… Emma still gets a bottle to go to sleep. Is that bad? What do I do to stop it? How do I take the bottle away? She wakes up once in the middle of the night because she needs a diaper. Of course, to get her back to sleep, I have to give her a bottle. I want to cut that out. I just don't know where to begin.

  4. 4.
    The Shopping Mama

    Hailey,
    I hope some other people share some advice, too, but I can tell you that I've so been there. My son has been a good sleeper, but we've seriously been through every bad habit in existence, including a bottle to sleep. (Well after he was weaned from the breast and didn't even need bottles – I think he was like 18 months when I finally made him stop.)

    How old is Emma?

    I think it's like everything else in that you have to break the bad habit. It's going to suck at first but you have to be consistent and stick with it. If you start with not giving her a bottle to fall asleep at night – and teaching her a different method to soothe herself to sleep – it will make the middle of the night waking much easier because she'll already know how to go to sleep on her own.

    It SUCKS. But, you can do it!

  5. 5.
    The Shopping Mama

    Sue, I can't imagine how exhausted you must be. That really, really stinks.

    Has it improved at all since you saw Dr. Ferber? He's really famous! LOL

    So, is the cover up thing just his excuse to get you into his room to put off sleep? What happens when you ignore him with the gate up?

  6. 6.
    Heather Nicole

    Great post! This seems to be a topic a lot among mommies. I am blessed with a baby who has for the most part slept through the night since 3 months old.

    I recently blogged about how we used the Ferber Method and had success

    http://heathernicoleblog.blogspot.com/2009/10/ferber.html

    Prior to that I also blogged about my questions/ thoughts about co sleeping

    http://heathernicoleblog.blogspot.com/2009/09/co-sleeping.html

    I have found a happy medium between both Ferber and co sleeping at this point. Our baby (10.5 months old) goes to sleep on her own in her crib thanks to the Ferber Method. If she wakes in the early morning and I cannot get her back to sleep quickly then she comes in bed with me. It is the best of both worlds…I get mommy time in the evenings while she is sleeping, but I also get snuggle time with her on some mornings.

    Hope this helps someone!

  7. 7.
    Designs by Jessie

    I will have to second the book The Secrets of the baby whisper. I don't think that it matters is you are a first time mommy or one with 4 and 3 kids this book has something in it for everyone. I bought this book with my youngest and had him sleeping thru the nights by 8 weeks. It was all very common sense and really helped me sort out how to make Brodie.

    I used to watch Tracy in the UK where she had a show based on this book. I was sad to hear of her passing several years ago.

  8. 8.
    The Shopping Mama

    Heather, sounds like you found a nice balance. This was something I struggled with – I loved to co-sleep with my kids when they were teeny so it made the transition to crib and falling asleep alone difficult. Not to mention the fact that cry it out and co-sleeping seem to be on opposite spectrums of parenting, you know?

    Jessie, I hadn't hurt that Tracy Hogg passed away. I really liked her tone and reassurance in the book, too. And, like you said, her ideas really make sense.

  9. 9.
    Designs by Jessie

    I don't think it was news here in the US as she wasn't very well known. In the UK though, she did a tv show based on the book. I think she died of throat tumors or something. You could deffinitly tell in the show that her health was fading.

    She has a follow up book called Secrets of the Toddler Whisper which was just as spot on as the first one.

  10. 10.
    Sarah, The Ohana Mama

    My son sleeps/slept through the night only if co-sleeping…which we still do…but are looking to change that shortly (he's almost FIVE!!!)

    My daughter slept through the night UNTIL about 3 months and then woke up every once in a while…she sleeps through most nights, in her own crib and usually goes to bed without a fuss…where did she come from? I don't know, but I'll keep her ;)

    What I've found to help me is…
    A. If your child sleeps through the night…be weary of sharing the news…I always found right when I shared, "He slept through the night three nights in a row!" He would then wake up every hour for the next week…JINX!

    B. Don't feel alone! Many many many children don't sleep through the night until they are beyond two…so you are not alone if your little one doesn't. I mean, think of all the growing and learning and changing they are doing in that time…it'd keep me up too!

    C. What works for one, may not work for the other…this goes for two kids from the same family as well as your best friend's kid and your own…simply put, sleep routines and books and such aren't a one size fits all

    And lastly, co-sleeping is another option for helping everyone get sleep….just do it safely. Dr. Sears has some great tips on co-sleeping safely and I'm thinking of doing a post about it since I've been a co-sleeping mama for almost 5 years…(oh gosh, that's a LONG time!)

    Great post and discussion Kate!

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