My tips for a Happy Sleeping Baby

You can go into any bookstore, or google search any baby related sleeping term or phrase, and you will get a plethora of advice and tips, written by experts and doctors and smart scientist like moms. They obviously know your child and have lots of tricks up their sleave… right?

I never read a “getting your child to sleep through the night” parenting book. Not because I had a baby who slept through the night or who was a great sleeper, but because I always just did what worked for me and what Lucas wanted.

Lucas has not always been a “good” sleeper. He was a typical newborn sleeper. He woke up every 2-3 hours for several months. Sometimes more! I think he finally started sleeping through the entire night without waking up once when he was close to a year. Or around there, I didn’t write it in my diary.

I rocked him to sleep every night.

I nursed him to sleep every night.

He slept with us at times.

If he woke up, I went in and rocked him back to sleep.

I did this, because as his mother, this is what I  wanted to do and what I  felt like was the best thing to do. In fact, now at age 19 months, if he wants me to rock him to sleep, I will. If he wants me in the middle of the night for whatever reason, I’ll go to him. This is just something I feel right doing as a mom to my children. I am not worried about him needing me to rock him to sleep until he’s five.  I’m  not worried that I’m spoiling him or teaching him bad habits. As far as I know, he’s a pretty smart and independent little boy, who just happens to love his mama very much. 🙂 And by golly, rocking my sweet tired boy to sleep as he snuggles up on my chest is seriously the least of my worries.

He takes one nap a day, for two hours. He  never fights naps. I swear he actually enjoys them. He wakes up happy and talking and I let him “play” and talk to himself in his bed for 20ish minutes before I go and get him.

He sleeps from 7pm- 8:30am (average) every night. He wakes up talking and happy.

(Most days/nights. I’m not saying every night is perfect!)

Rocking him to sleep, nursing him to sleep, attending to his every cry when he was a baby?

It did not ruin him. 

My whole point in telling you this is because I  hear so many people think or say that rocking their kids to sleep is going to “ruin them” or give them bad sleeping habits for the rest of their lives. Or, they think they’re going to have to rock them to sleep until they’re in the fourth grade. (For the record- that’s not likely. But if my kids want me to rock them before bed until they’re in the fourth grade, I will. We just might need to get a bigger chair.)

My personal tip or advice to new moms is to always listen to your baby and follow his/her cues. I really don’t think you can go wrong with doing what your baby wants and needs. No book or expert knows your child like you do! And also, doing what you feel is the right thing to do will leave with you no regrets!

This works for me! What works for you? Link up at We are That Family!

Related post:

:: Reason #27 Why I’m Glad He Doesn’t Sleep Through the Night 
:: Sleeping Through the Night Struggles and Myths 
:: Co-Sleeping:What Works for Me

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

20 thoughts on “My tips for a Happy Sleeping Baby

  1. Thanks for this post. I nursed my Princess to sleep for 2 years. After I quit breastfeeding I snuggled with her. Now that she is almost 3 she is doing pretty well. She goes to sleep on her own little bed on our floor (we are working our way up to her own bedroom)without me, and around 3am she climbs into my bed. I let her. She still needs me. One day she won't and I am sure I will miss her. These years are so short. I am not worried at all.

    Blessings!

  2. Wow! My son was sleeping on his own, in his own bed, for 4-5 hours at a time at 1 month. It wasn't due to anything I did, it was just how he wanted things. He never was much of a cuddler as a baby- he likes his space when he sleeps! (He looks like that DaVinci drawing of the man with his limbs all spread out when he sleeps.) Emerson, my daughter, was the exact opposite. She slept in my bed every night until she was about 6 months old, then moved to the crib. Now, both kids (3 and 2) sleep in their own beds most of the time. BUT- they get up at the ungodly hour of 6 am. It is not my favorite thing. If they aren't feeling well or just ask to sleep in my bed, I usually let them… It's something I'll miss, I'm sure! Plus, when we can, we all nap together in my big bed- I actually like that better than co-sleeping at night.

  3. So nice to hear another perspective from the cultural norm. I read about 10 baby sleep books (when my first was an infant) and hated them all. When I got to the inevitable — what to do if they cry so much they vomit section — I would know that the book wasn't in line with my parenting philosophy, whatever that may be.

    I just heard a mom confess the other day that she nurses her baby to sleep like it's a sin. And I was like, hey, dude, that's what it's DESIGNED to do — put babies (and mommies) to sleep.

  4. Very well said!! I nursed Brady to sleep for 8 months…. bed time and naps. He has never been much of a cuddle bug…there's now way he would let me rock him. Keep enjoying it!!!

    I have a friend who lets her 11 month old cio for hours at a time. HOURS! I truely make a point to not judge other mothers…but yikes!

  5. I'm glad that worked for you but it doesn't work for everyone. I did this with my first till she was about 8 months till I just couldn't physically do it anymore. She needed to be in physical contact with me throughout the whole night in order to sleep and I NEVER slept! I came to realize that in order to be a better mom and help my marriage it had to stop. I think people have to do what works for their family.

  6. Anonymous,
    Here is the post I wrote back in February about night weaning. http://www.mamanotes.com/2010/02/how-i-night-weaned.html I guess it depends on what you consider CIO, but I never let him cry for more than a few minutes. Instead, my husband and I went in and rocked him/soothed him back to bed.. instead of me nursing him.

    (I personally consider CIO when a child cries and a parent doesn't go in AT ALL and just lets the baby cry himself back to sleep for as long as it takes- 10 minutes or an hour or whatever it takes. )

    The night weaning didn't last long though, maybe a month max, then we moved and I went back to nursing him every time he woke up! 🙂 I think though that was better and easier anyways, and when I do it again, I don't think I will consider night weaning at all until he is older than 7 months. I have learned that I really don't mind waking up and going in there to comfort him/put him back to sleep. It is/was hard, but I'm so used to it now and I LOOOOVe the snuggles.

    Hope that helps! 🙂

  7. Rachel
    I didn't say it was going to work for everyone, and I agree, people have to do what works for them/their family/their kids. I was just sharing my personal thoughts about it and what worked for ME! 🙂

  8. thank you SO MUCH for this post!!! i wrote a similar one on my blog some time ago. now i feel validated in my feelings. i, too, rocked my son to sleep (i had to quit breastfeeding at 6 months because i couldn't pump enough for him to have at daycare, sad, sad time) until he was a year and then, one night, he just reached for the crib after i had read stories and we listened to some music and he fell right asleep! it felt so good to know that i had listened to my CHILD, not my friends who said i was spoiling him and he would never go to sleep alone. i guess part of it was that i was working, too, and i felt like i didn't get to see him at all during the day and i wanted that time with him. but thanks for writing and making me feel better about my choices. i definitely feel more at peace and confident that with the next one (should there be a next one) i will just KNOW what to do. 🙂

  9. This post made me happy. People constantly tell me I am doing something wrong for letting my son co-sleep and nursing on demand at 14 months. I believe that what is natural is different for each mom, and we should never force something that doesn't feel right. My son's crib is in our room and I try to put him in there each night for as long as he will last. Somedays this is several hours, and somedays only a few minutes. And if I am going to be honest, I have to admit that some nights I don't try at all. I bring him straight to bed with me, because I feel like he is growing up too fast and I just want to hold him while I can. He will be out of our room eventually, but I don't want him to move out before both of us are ready. And as for nursing, he won't be nursing in kindergarten, no matter what people say. He's only 14 months old-still really a baby-and is he's not ready to wean then I will give him some more time. I have yet to figure out why it bothers people that I choose to parent in this way.

  10. I've done the same thing… Rock/Nurse B to sleep every night since he was born. I totally agree- he's not going to need it forever & I want to spend the time that I have with him. It's great to know I'm not the only one!

  11. TOTALLY AGREE! DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU! I am struggling with this little girl of mine:) 5 months old and still wants to wake up every 2 hours! I rock her to sleep every night and every time she wakes up…I don't want the 2 cents of everyone who has a great sleeper or “swears by” a certain method. Nathan turned out ok and we did the same with him. It will work out…and you're right…my kids aren't ruined by any means!!!

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