It is 4:30 am. My husband is standing next to our son's cradle. 25 - that's how many times he has picked up and put down our fussy baby. I get up to replace him. Alex is crying again, and I lift him up. 26. He becomes quiet, and I lower him into his crib. This time, he is soundly asleep. Yes! Not too bad for the first night of us teaching him how to fall asleep in his own bed.
Every book and blog I have read on baby sleep told me that the secret to teaching your baby to fall asleep independently is to put him or her down while he/she is pretty sleepy, yet still awake. At that point, your baby is supposed to fall asleep on his own.
Sounds pretty easy, right? Except we didn't start as we meant to go on. When Alex was born, we couldn't keep our hands off of him. My mother who came for a month to help out was carrying him all the time as well. As a result, little Alex learned to fall asleep on somebody's chest rather than in his own bed. Even if he was asleep on my arms, he would wake up and start crying as soon as I lowered him. And now that he is 6 weeks old, we are finally working on undoing what we have inadvertently taught him during his first weeks of life.
|This is how Alex prefers to sleep - on my chest|
The Baby Whisperer book suggests picking up a crying baby, comforting (meeting his need), and putting him right back down. When he cries again, pick up, comfort, put down. Repeat. After 26 up-and-downs on the first night and only 2 on the second, Alex fell asleep all by himself yesterday! This baby had been used to falling asleep only in someone's arms and crying as soon as he was put down for 6 weeks, so changing his habit in only 3 short days is truly a miracle! There may be relapses into the old behavior, of course, but we are optimistic and will stick to the method. Next on our new parents' agenda - sleep through the night. We are up to a 5-hour stretch, which is great. Praying for a full night sleep to come soon!