Sarah - posted on 03/08/2010 ( 3 moms have responded )
I hope it is okay to share with you all a recent success story that has got me rather excited!
I have an 11week old daughter Katelyn, who was fairly good at going down for naps during the day until her 6 week vaccinations and then we've had a few struggles since then. I would have to swaddle her, hold her / rock her / pat her / and shush in order to get her to settle down and even then we would often have tears in the process.
The other morning I made a discovery. She had woken up for an early morning feed (she's currently having a growth spurt and is waking 2-3 times a night now, whereas she usually only feeds once during the night - I breastfeed exclusively by the way), and she normally goes back to bed no problems at all, but this time she was wide awake and no, she wasn't interested in having any more to eat (that normally sends her off to sleep), and I was much too tired to sit up and rock her to sleep. So I wrapped her back up, placed her in her cot, told her that it was too early to get up and that she needed to go back to sleep, and then crawled into bed myself.
She seemed happy enough, just lying there and chatting away to herself, although I was all prepared to get up again if she started sounding desperate (I'm very much against leaving her to cry). So I lay in bed listening to her talking to herself for maybe 10-15 minutes and then she started to get quieter and quieter until all was silent from her bedroom (which is right next to ours). So I got up to go and investigate, only to find that she was fast asleep!!!
I was so surprised, and thrilled of course. I would've never thought she'd put herself to sleep without any help from me - I know so many people have been telling me, "you need to put baby to bed while they're still awake", and I would be thinking, "yeah right, and let her cry to sleep?? No thank you!!" But lo and behold, she went to sleep all by herself! No tears or anything!
I thought it might've been too good to be true, but I have found that as long as I act quick as soon as she lets me know she's sleepy (first she yawns, then rubs her eyes, then if I miss that she starts fussing), then she'll put herself to sleep each time. If I'm a bit slow she needs a little more help to settle - I'm trying not to pick her up unless she gets really upset, but I've found that singing to her will cheer her up if she's starting to fuss, and then I stroke her forehead / face and gently "shhhh" until she drops off to sleep.
So as you can imagine, I'm a very excited and happy Mummy right now! Long may it last. We're still working on bedtime - I currently either nurse or cuddle her to sleep, but I think self-settling for naps during the day is a great start and I'm very excited! I just wanted to share it with you, it IS possible to get a baby to settle themselves down to sleep without crying!