Sleep. The one thing all parents of newborns want more than anything. For some lucky parents, the sleepless phase will only last a few short months. For others, it can last years. I've heard and read many different ideas parents try to get their kids to sleep. It seems that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I'm starting to think it mostly depends on the individual child's needs and personality.
We have now had both experiences. Sebastian slept through the night occasionally during his first two years of life. We did some sleep training but he got sick a lot when we tried daycare so it was difficult to be consistent. After we stopped daycare it got better, but even now at 4 (and a half! as he would remind me) he still wakes up occasionally with either leg cramps (just growing pains I'm hoping?), bad dreams, or just to drink water (at least he can do this last one on his own). But I can't get him to wake up and go potty in the middle of the night. Sigh....
Oscar started sleeping through the night (my definition of this is at least 8 hours straight) at about 7 weeks old. He wakes up maybe a couple of times a month, but mostly he's sleeping between 8 and 11 hours straight, knock on wood (where the hell did that phrase come from anyway? What does wood have to do with being lucky? I don't get it.) He is a horrible napper, so that's the trade-off, but I'll take my nighttime sleep! We did several things different with Oscar that we think helped:
- Started a bedtime routine in the first 6 weeks- bath or sponge bath, change into sleeper, nurse for 20-40 minutes in his room, put down in his crib
- Moved him from bassinet to crib at about 7 weeks- he started sleeping through the night right after we did this
- Allow him to grunt and fuss a little if he wakes up or is still asleep when we lay him down- we don't go to him unless he's really crying
- We never used a pacifier- thanks to Brian, I would've never made it through the fussy newborn stage without one if it wasn't for his patience. Sebastian had a pacifier off and on until he was 2. He went through phases where he'd wake up and cry every time he spit out his pacifier. We didn't want that experience again. Yes this means Oscar sucks his thumb. No I'm not worried about it. Odds are both kids will need braces anyway since both Brian and I had them. And you can't put a price on sleep.
Now I want to hear your thoughts. What makes your baby sleep through the night? Did you have different experiences with different kids? Did what you do or don't do seem to make a difference? Or are some kids just naturally good sleepers and others aren't?