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Every Baby is Different: Guidance in getting your baby to sleep well
By Yohannes Tedjasukmana
While you are pregnant and even after your baby is born, you will get advice from all angles. Some of the advice will make you laugh, other advice will make you mad and other advice will make you discouraged that it didn't work. The most important thing to remember as a new parent is that every baby is different and you have to find what works for you and your baby. With the advice you are about to get, take it in stride, and don't get mad or discouraged if it doesn't work for you. Deciding how best to help your baby sleep is a spur of the moment decision, but hopefully this guide will give you a couple of tips to fall back on when all else fails.
Crying is OK
Letting your baby cry when it is bedtime is okay. By picking up your baby, you are teaching him or her that all they have to do is cry to get your attention. The best way to define their bedtime is for you to stick to it. Talk to your doctor to find out if your baby should be sleeping through the night. When he gives the ok, usually when your baby is eating solid food and is at least 3-4 months old. Although it can be a heart-wrenching experience, your baby will usually not cry for more than 3 or 4 nights before they understand that when they are put down, it is time to sleep.
Define eating and sleeping periods
It's very important not to let your baby sleep while on the breast or they will begin to associate the two things together and you will be unable to get your child to sleep without feeding him or her. It is natural for your baby to begin to fall asleep while feeding as the milk has a natural substance that helps induce sleep. However, gently pry your baby's mouth off or your nipple by sticking your finger in the side of his or her mouth to release the suction. If you do this before your baby falls into a deep sleep, you will ensure that your baby does not continue to suck and use feeding time as his or her only means to get to sleep.
Experiment with rocking techniques
This is one area where every baby is the different, but very much the same. All babies love to be rocked, bounced and cuddled - all at the same time. Experiment with the technique that works best for you. In our house we would sometimes put our baby in his car seat and swing it from side to side. This made our baby sleep, but it was quite a chore for us. There are moments in a newborn baby's life when you will try anything to help your baby go to sleep. Don't be alarmed if you find yourself walking up and down the stairs or even vacuuming with your baby in tow in an effort to comfort your baby. After all, it's a completely natural instinct.