*this idea may help crib sleepers
It's likely that every time your baby is crying or calling out to you during the night you are doing something to help him to fall back to sleep. to gradually get baby to go back to sleep w/out your assistance, you need to shorten these helping routines during the night.
When baby wakes, you probably have a specific routine to get her back to sleep, such as picking her up, rocking her, nursing her, and giving her a bottle or pacifier. as you read in chapter 2, your baby thinks she NEEDS this routine to go back to sleep. we don't want to go cold turkey and cut out the familiar, nurturing pattern that you have established' that's a sure way to cause stress and tears. instead, very gradually modify the LENGTH of your help routine so that you are doing less each night. eventually, your baby will develop a new routine that doesn't require your presence.
When your baby wakes up, go ahead and use your regular means of getting him back to sleep, but gradually SHORTEN the DURATION and VARY THE TECHNIQUE. so, instead of letting him fall asleep totally, encourage drowsiness and then see if he'll finish falling asleep on his own. if he fusses, repeat the process. this ma take 3,4,or more attempts the first few nights; and you may even have to abort your mission on some nights. over a period of a week or 2 you will see definite progress, which you will evaluate when you do your 10-day logs.
Your nights might now look something like this:
-you pick her up;sit in a chair';; and rock, nurse, bottle feed, or take her to bed with you until she's sound asleep
-the you probably ease her gently into the crib w/out waking her. when you move baby from your arms to the crib, you do it very slowly and carefully, so as to not wake her
-then you creep out of the room and await your next call
if you are going to use this suggestion, and if your baby uses a paci, bottle, or the breast at every night waking, then you will want to incorporate Pantley's Gentle Removal Plan (as in PART 1 of my previous post) along with the ideas that follow.
I have found that many mothers have been told to respond to their babies immediately and never let them cry. one problem here. "experts" forgot to tell you that babies make sounds IN THEIR SLEEP. babies moan, grunt, snuffle, whimper, and even cry IN THEIR SLEEP. mothers often run to their little ones at the first noise and scoop their babies out of their cribs. i did this with my first baby, 14 years ago, and i can still remember that sometimes she was asleep in my arms before i even got to the rocking chair to sit down. what i didn't know was that she had never really been awake.
The first step to helping your baby sleep longer is to determine the difference between sleeping noises and awake noises. i'm not suggesting that you ignore a baby's true cries by any means; she may need you, and this is the only way she can communicate this. in fact, when you wait too long and she wakes up fully-- crying and yelling- she will find it much harder to fall back to sleep. rather, keep her door and yours open, or use a baby monitor. when she makes a noise, stop. Listen. Wait. as you listen attentively to her noises, you will learn the difference between sleeping snorts and "I'm waking up and i need you now" noises.
The following sample pattern shoes the duration and type of nighttime help being shortened. this is by no means an exact plan, you own method may be quite different, but his will give you an understanding of the concept:
PHASE 1: COMFORT UNTIL BABY'S ALMOST ASLEEP
once you determine your baby is really awake, go and get her. sit in the rocking chair and rock, nurse, or bottle-feed baby but only until her eyes close, her sucking rate slows, and she's falling asleep. try not to wait until she is totally asleep. stand up with her in your arms and rock or sway gently. when you lay her down, keep your arms around her for a few minutes, making gentle rocking motions (yes, this can be tough on your back, but it's only temporary) she will accept the change from your lap to her bed if you don't abruptly "dump" her there. keep in mind that, when she sleeps on you, you are moving and breathing, while the bed is still and silent. so gentle movement in the transition helps. once she seems settled, gently slip your arms out from under her. if she stirs, put your hand on her; whisper your key words (pat/shh or what works!!) or turn on the soothing bedtime music; and rock, pat or touch her gently until she's asleep. if she wakes and cries, pick her up, and repeat this process. you may have to do this 2,3,4, maybe 5 times, but that's OK- REALLY. if you or your baby gets upset at any point, just go ahead and put her to sleep in your usual way and ditch the plan for the moment. eventually she will get more comfortable with your new routine and she will go to sleep. she will still be depending on you to help her go back to sleep, but because she is finishing the falling-asleep process in their crib, she will be one step closer to being able to put herself to sleep when she wakes in the night.
Remember, you are making a change. it may take a while for this to work, but this beats spending another year or more in a sleep-deprived stupor!
When you feel that your new routine is working, go on to Phase 2
PHASE 2: BABY'S SETTLED AND SLEEPY
sit in your chair and rock, nurse, or bottle-feed baby until she's SETTLED and SLEEPY, but not yet falling ASLEEP. play your sleep-cue music or sounds. put her in her crib, pat or touch her, and say your key words (or pat/shh etc.) until she's asleep. if she wakes and cries, pick her up and repeat this process. you may have to do this 2,3,4, maybe 5 times, but that's OK. if you or your baby get upset at any point, just go ahead and put her to sleep in your usual way. as in Phase 1, she will become more comfortable with your new routine and will go to sleep (yes, i repeated that idea; it's important to give yourself permission to stop the process for the night any time it's not working. you will see improvement over time.)
When you feel that your new routine is working, go on to Phase 3.
PHASE 3:COMFORT W/OUT PICKUPS
when your baby makes waking sounds, go immediately to her, but try not to pick her up; instead, play your music or sounds, pat her, touch her, or put your arms around her in the same ways you have been, until she's asleep. while she's falling asleep, say your key words. if she wakes and cries, go ahead and revert back to Phase 2 or even Phase 1, but try to make it brief. And repeat this process.
When you feel that your new routine is working, go on to Phase 4
PHASE 4: SOOTHING PATS
go immediately to baby, but try not to puck her up. lay your music or white noise sounds very quietly, pat her or touch her. just stand by her crib and say your key words. if she wakes and cries, revert to Phase 3 or even 2, but try to make it very brief. Repeat this process.
When you feel that your new routine is working, go on to Phase 5
PHASE 5: VERBALLY SOOTHING BABY
go immediately to baby's room, and stand in the doorway. experiment to determine if you need to turn on your music or sounds. say your key words. if she wakes and cries, revert back to previous phases, but try to make it very brief. and repeat this process.
When you feel that your new routine is working, go on to Phase 6
PHASE 6: COMFORT FROM OUTSIDE THE DOORWAY
go immediately to baby's room, stand OUTSIDE the doorway where she can't see you, and say your key words. if she wakes and cries, revert back to previous phases, but try to make it very brief. repeat this process.
the idea is to take small gradual steps toward your goal. this example is not meant as a blueprint for every baby; rather, it's one demonstration of the idea. you'll need to examine your own bedtime rituals and modify them slightly every few nights until you reach your sleeping goal.
Keep in mind that the phases are not meant to be rigid, inflexible steps. watch your baby. stay in tune with your own feelings. follow your heart. modify your plan and be flexible as you move through the steps. as long as you are gradually moving toward your goal of having your baby sleep all night without your company, you eventually get there...."