If you want to know how to make your baby sleep in his own bed all night, you’ve come to the right place. Today we’re going to share what we did to get our baby to sleep through the night and some tips to help you transition to your own bed if your baby sleeps in your bed.
If you are reading this before having a baby or with a young baby, we also have some tips to help you avoid falling into the trap of getting your baby used to sleeping in your bed!
How we got our baby to sleep through the night and in her own bed in just 7 nights!
A little background…
Our baby girl, Alba, turned 1 in early October, but she couldn’t sleep a single night. In fact, she hadn’t even spent a night in her own bed. She slept in our bed almost every night for the first year of her life, but she often wouldn’t go to sleep until we did.
We have two older boys, and I was worried that if Alba cried she would wake up her brothers, so I went to pick her up as soon as she woke up in the middle of the night.
She is also such a happy and calm baby that we didn’t really care when she didn’t sleep as she happily sat on the couch with us. She sat nicely while we ate dinner and she didn’t cry or moan when she got tired. This was both a blessing and a curse, as it was good for her to stay awake after the older boys went to bed. We enjoyed spending some one-on-one time with her, and sure, she’s our last baby, so we spoiled her.
The case of my two older sons was completely different. By the time they were six weeks old, they both had established bedtime habits, and they were both going to bed by 6:30pm without making a fuss. For a while they didn’t sleep through the night, but getting them to bed was no problem at all!
But as soon as we tried to put Alba to bed, she started screaming and she screams and she screams. So after 3-4 months we gave up on putting her to bed and she came with us.
That’s an easy trap to fall into.
If I keep putting her back in her crib, she’ll wake up every few hours and no one will get a good night’s sleep. But if I let her into our bed, she’ll sleep through the night and we’ll all sleep better.
It was easy for me at the time. I was tired and just wanted to sleep!
But as Alba grew and got bigger, she started squirming and fidgeting, and our little baby was suddenly taking up a lot of space in our bed. I knew I needed to nip this issue in the bud while she was still relatively young because I didn’t want my toddler sleeping in my bed for years to come!
Crying it out didn’t work!
(Critical parents please don’t come here!)
After doing a lot of research, I found that many people use the “sleep training” method of “crying out” their babies. Basically, you cry them out and keep coming back to make sure they’re okay. Many friends reassured us that they had done this. It’s hard at first, but you’ll thank yourself when your baby sleeps through the night in a week or two!
I tried this for two nights.
We let her cry for 10-15 minutes and then went to her room and quickly reassured her that we were still here and it was okay.
The first night, Alba was so exhausted that she eventually fell asleep, but woke up a few hours later and was afraid to go back to bed. On the second night she screamed until her voice died and I couldn’t take it anymore. Alba became fearful of the crib and even her bedroom, and she didn’t even take naps in the crib for the next two months (which she has never been willing to do). That’s what I was doing).
She started to get up from her crib and we had to stop her because it was dangerous!
We quickly realized that yelling didn’t help, it only made Alba sleepy and scared to be left behind.
But on the night of Alba’s first birthday, we decided to settle this once and for all. We were ready to let our baby sleep through the night!
Here’s how we got our baby to sleep through the night…
Switched Alba to a toddler bed
As mentioned above, after we tried sleep training, Alba became really scared of the crib, so we switched her to a toddler bed. She just turned 1 so she’s still too young to take her from her crib to a toddler bed, but she wasn’t sleeping in her crib anyway so what we lose at this stage is There was nothing. She was also able to climb out of her crib and we were worried she would get hurt (yes, we had a baby monkey!)
Thankfully, it worked and she sleeps just fine in her toddler bed. She sometimes crawls out of it, but she also crawls out!
If your baby is in a crib and you’re wondering if you should switch to a toddler bed, my advice is to give it a try if you have nothing to lose – but keep it in the crib for as long as possible It might be better. We kept the boys in their cribs for as long as possible. George I think he was almost 2 years old when we took the side out, but he slept in his crib until his 4 year old!
Sam (her father) puts her to bed and has the same bedtime routine every night
I’m still breastfeeding Alba, so I used to put her to bed, but now Sam does it and it’s much more effective.
Alba takes a bath with the boys around 5:45pm and then we all get a little wild and play for about 30 minutes.
At 6:30 p.m., Sam takes her to bed. She says goodnight to us all and gives everyone a hug and kiss before getting up. He offers her milk (some nights she drinks 5 ounces, other nights she barely touches milk), reads her stories, plays with the wooden clock in her bedroom, and then he Place it and she will go straight home sleep! She cries sometimes, but she never cries for more than a minute and she doesn’t wake up when she cries, so I think she has accepted going to sleep at this point!
One thing that definitely helps is that Alba is tired at bedtime. Really tired! A lot of the advice I read said that she shouldn’t be too tired when she goes to bed, because the baby doesn’t settle down to sleep, but just passes out from exhaustion. I understand this advice, but Alba is often very tired, so this has worked for us so far!
Wave goodnight and kiss the whole family
One of the things Sam does to Alba before she goes to bed is to have Alba say goodnight to everyone. It’s just a small thing, but this definitely helps her realize when she’s going to bed. She kisses the boys and waves at the dog. She still cries when I say goodnight and reaches out her arm to take me, but she stops as soon as she goes upstairs!
Family dinner and big meals from 4pm to 6pm
What has changed over the past month is that Alba eats a lot for dinner. I’m sure this is helping her sleep longer.
She’s not a big eater, so encouraging her to eat more can be difficult, but it definitely helps when we sit down to eat as a family. Honestly, when we don’t have a family meal, I dress the kids in CBeebies and they basically sit there eating like zombies. I know, I know, it’s not ideal, but it works.
I often give Alba a small amount of mashed potatoes with her dinner, no matter what she’s eating. She loves mashed potatoes so this is just the thing to fill her little tummy. I buy frozen mash from Iceland, so I just pop it in the microwave for a bit. If she doesn’t feel like she’s eating many vegetables, she sometimes mixes in some carrots and Swedish mash.
I take a 1-hour nap during the day, so I’m tired by the time I go to bed
This isn’t something I forced, it’s something Alba does naturally.
She takes a one-hour nap at some point during the day, which can be any time between 10 a.m and 1 p.m. Sometimes she struggles with it, so if she isn’t asleep by 1pm, I take her for a walk in the stroller to get her to sleep.
If you take a nap early, he might get tired again around 4pm, but he never sleeps, so I won’t let him sleep at this point. Thankfully, the boys are home from school for now, so there’s plenty going on to keep her entertained.
I was really trying to get her to nap more during the day. She believed that “the more she slept, the more time she slept!” This definitely applies to my older boys as well, if they nap well during the day they will sleep well at night. However, this was not the case with Alba and I think this just goes to show that every child is different and there are no set “rules” that work for all babies.
Plenty of relaxing time during the day
Since Alba is just one year old, she doesn’t nap much, but she does have plenty of quiet time to relax. We walk a lot and she loves to sit in the stroller while we walk, so this time is a relaxing time for her. I walk for the school run in the morning and afternoon, and I also walk my dog after lunch.
Dream Feed 10:30pm
Alba usually wakes up briefly at 10:30 p.m. I think a quick rub on her back will put her right back to sleep, but I still go into her house and feed her her food. Just feed her right away and go right back to bed. It’s bedtime anyway, so I’d rather feed her now than wake up 2 hours later to feed!
The first 7 nights of getting our baby to sleep through the night
What we accepted when we started this was that the next few weeks were going to be tough and we might not get much sleep. Thankfully, the bad nights were only 3-4 days and then there were 2 more nights where Alba would wake up twice before she continued to sleep regularly.
When Alba woke up at night, the most important thing was not to take her out of her bedroom for any reason!
One night I sat there with her for 2 hours because she screamed every time I tried to move!
Sam was a little more harsh with her, quickly hugging her back to bed and leaving her to cry, but I still don’t think she ever cried for more than about 4-5 minutes.
Sleeping bags or blankets to get your baby to sleep through the night?
The truth is, the jury is still out on which one is best for keeping your baby awake through the night. A sleeping bag or blanket? I don’t know!
Alba often loses her blankets and cries because she’s cold. However, she doesn’t seem very settled in her sleeping bag. For now, we are putting her to bed in thick, fluffy baby grow and draping her blanket over it. If she loses her blanket, at least she knows she won’t really get cold because her baby is so warm.
I think it’s very important to do it as a couple because it’s difficult to do it alone. Waking up three or four times a night can be exhausting, especially if it lasts for weeks.
Sam was up to go to work the next day and I felt like it was my responsibility to deal with Alba at night because it wasn’t fair that he was tired. But taking care of a baby is also a lot of work, so it’s hard when you’re tired!