Sleep training is such a contentious issue among parents. The way most of us were sleep trained by our parents is now considered, by many (or at least it feels that way), to be cruel. I read up on lots of different sleep methods and philosophies, but I definitely would've benefited from some of these tricks real parents use to sleep train.
In the end, I ended up using the controlled crying method. My partner and I would leave our son alone for a few minutes at a time, increasing the amount of time he was left alone in small increments and until he was able to go to sleep by himself. It was a very difficult transition for me, personally, and I felt a lot of guilt at the time. However, in what amounted to a relatively short amount of time (less than a week, actually) my son was sleeping easily in his own space. For some parents the idea of sleeping separately from their child is unthinkable. For others, the allure of a peaceful night's sleep without a kick in the face or a jab in the ribs is the stuff of parental dreams.
Whatever method you use to help your baby to go to sleep, please remember that you are practicing an essential lesson in self care (for all involved). We all need restful sleep to function day in and day out and at the capacity most parents are required to function. So, with that in mind, see if any of these tips and tricks from 11 parents could work for you:
"I liked this 'Shh method' I heard from a work colleague. You make a hushing sound to mimic the womb's sounds. My son found it soothing."
"We did cry it out. It was hard to hear [our daughter] cry at first, but in the long run it worked out perfectly. Lots of things about parenting are difficult but necessary."
"I co-slept and breastfed on demand. It was sometimes a challenge, but I wanted a gentle method."
"I practiced a 'pick up, put down method,' where every time the baby cries you pick them up, but lay them down again and relatively soon. It took forever and he always looked confused, but it eventually worked."
"I so chickened out. I had to go away for a week for business and my mom looked after my baby. When I came home he was sleeping through the night. I don't even know what she did!"
"I hired a sleep consultant. She came and stayed with us for three days and taught us how to create a calm bedroom environment that would assist in soothing the baby back to sleep. I had been sleep deprived for months, so she was well worth the money!"
"My method was rocking, put pacifier in, rock, put down, when he was awake but really sleepy. It worked for me."
"Swaddling. It always calmed [my son] down, and then holding him close and whispering to him. We had to repeat that every time he woke up, though!"
"My son loved me singing 'Baby Beluga' to him. It always sent him off to sleep. I also had a white noise machine in his room and that worked well, too."
"I know it's not very practical, but car rides worked for our baby. I would jump in the car and take [our son] round the block."
"My daughter was a terrible sleeper, then we put her in her older sister's room and she immediately went to sleep. Monkey see, monkey do!"