|Baby Linna right before bed with her Wubbanub and blankie.|
Original Blog Post (4/3/12): We have been blessed with such an amazing little sleeper, and over the last few months I've received a few emails and questions from other moms, about our bedtime routine and how we get Linna to sleep so well. The truth is, I have no idea, but here's what we do at bedtime and before naps...
Ever since Linna was about three months, she's been a great sleeper. Yes, she's had her "off" nights (sometimes a few in a row), but don't we all?! For a most part, Linna is a wonderful sleeper! She's almost eight months old, and is sleeping from 7pm - 8am, and still taking 2-3 naps each day lasting anywhere from a half hour to 2 1/2 hours.
Summer Infant video monitor, which I feel is a "must-have" for any parent. The video monitor allowed us to let Linna "cry it out" without panicking about whether or not something was wrong. Before the video monitor, we tried to let her cry it out, but we always ended up going in to check on her because we couldn't SEE that everything was safe and sound. With our video monitor, we were able to let her cry and eventually watch her find her fingers and thumb, and self-sooth her way to sleep. We can also see what's going on in her crib if she starts fussing in the middle of the night, and most of the time it's because she's uncomfortable, but she falls right back to sleep. By us not always popping our heads into her nursery, Linna has learned that when she's in her crib, it's time to sleep. She knows mom and dad don't always come in when she cries or fusses (unless we can see that something is actually wrong with her). She also knows where the camera is, and when she wakes up she doesn't cry, rather looks at the camera as if she's saying, "ok mom and dad, I'm ready to get up now".
Wubbanub and her blankie. A Wubbanub is basically a green pacifier attached to a little stuffed animal. Her blankie was given to her by Auntie Julie, and it's a teddy-bear head attached to a blanket. I don't know if she's attached to her blankie, but she loves it. Linna can find a tag on anything, so she usually gets fixated on the tag on her Wubbanub or blanket, and does this funny humming noise while she plays with it. We're not sure if that's a concentration or sleepy "hum", but she generally falls asleep a few minutes later. She likes to cover her face with her blanket too.
O'Neill Brother's Lullaby CD and the sound machine. We "stole" Linna's sound machine from my husband's parents house, and it must be 20 years old! It's a black Homemedics Sound Machine (they don't sell the one we have anymore, but they do sell newer machines) that plays an ocean sound the entire night. We take the sound machine everywhere we go. It drowns out any noise outside Linna's door, so we and other people don't have to live the life of "shhhhhh, that baby is sleeping". Daylight Savings Time kind of threw Linna off, because it's been light outside at 6:30/7pm when we put her to sleep. But after a few days she's learned that that is ok to fall asleep when it's light outside. We don't really use a night-light unless it's super dark when we put her to bed (i.e., coming home from a road trip, etc.), but then we shut her night-light off when we go to bed.
No matter what other people say, the "cry it out" method isn't as easy as it sounds. It's hard to just sit and listen to your baby cry! But our video monitor has given us a sense of peace, since we can SEE her, rather than just hear.
Every so often, Linna will wake up in the middle of the night. If she's fussing for a few minutes, one of us goes in her room to pat her on the butt while saying "night night". There's been a few times where she looks right up at us, smiling, as if she's ready to get up to start her day. But sorry sweet pea, we don't start our day at 5am:) We don't pick her up, we just pat her on the butt until she falls asleep. We've tried really hard not getting into the habit of "giving in", picking her up, and bringing her into bed with us. There has been a few nights that we've brought her into bed with us, but that's when she's been teething, or had a cold. We didn't make it a habit, even though it's the easiest thing to do at the time. And let's be honest, who doesn't love snuggling with their baby in bed?!
As a mom, I've asked other moms for advice when we had our "rough nights", but the biggest thing I've learned is to do what works for US! Every baby is different. The above is just what has worked for us!