The Quest for Sleeping Through the Night
What crazy sleep techniques have you tried? These parents reveal their wild tricks to get their baby a good night's sleep.
You just spent an hour rocking, bouncing, shushing and nursing your baby to sleep and now, not two minutes later, she's awake again. You pick her up and start your choreographed ritual all over again, wondering if she'll ever begin sleeping through the night. As many mothers before you can attest, sleeping through the night will happen ... eventually. But when you're in the trenches of sleep training, it can seem like an unending battle.
"As moms, there is nothing we wouldn't do to get a few moments of peace after the babies go to bed," says Anne Violette, mom to three toddlers and founder of FunMomBlog. "Whether we have to sing lullabies, dance to slow songs, rub bellies or take late evening car rides, moms go to great lengths just to enjoy a few minutes of silence."
Here are some stories of fellow moms who were willing to do just about anything for some shut-eye. Who knows? You just might learn some new techniques.
Car Seat Life
"When my daughter was little, she wouldn't sleep due to colic and reflux," Karma Hershman, mom of three, remembers. "I would drive her around in the car until she fell asleep, then bring her inside in her car seat, and place her car seat on the bed, next to me, and I would sleep with her until she woke up." Hershman adds, "I also used the dryer to get her to sleep ... I put her on top of it, safely buckled in her car seat. She loved the motion and humming."
Come Fly Away
"When my first son was 3 or 4 months old, I noticed he was a night owl," says Violette, "so I used to dance and sing to him. We would turn on the 'Come Fly Away' by Benny Bernassi song and I played it over and over again. Now that my kids are older, I put on soft 'Alpha Waves' music to help them sleep."
"I do a bunch of different types of squats while trying to get my baby to sleep," says new mom Jessica Woehlhaff Kauk. "He likes big movements, and it's the only exercise I get."
"My little guy liked to be stripped down to his diaper, swaddled in the waffle receiving blankets from the hospital, and snuggled next to a mostly topless me," offers mom-of-two BethAnne Guliuzza.
"My husband would drive my son around in the neighborhood and play nursery rhymes really loud until he fell asleep," says Shannon Battle. "This occurred each night for about two months after I stopped breastfeeding him. For our other children, he would make them suck their thumb even if they didn't."
"I used to rub my son's ears," recalls Erin Schultz, mother of one.
"My husband once walked into the living room around 3:30 a.m. as I was sitting in the rocking chair and singing my daughter back to sleep," shares Taryn Ryckman, mom of two. "My song choice at that moment? 'America the Beautiful'!"
70 Miles for Coffee
"My son never, and I mean never, slept! No naps, no sleep at night, never, ever, ever. So every day, I got in the car and drove to a Starbucks that was 35 miles away, it was the only one with a drive-thru at the time and I got my coffee fix while he slept in the car seat," confides Hindi Zeidman, founder of the Ollie Swaddle. "This was the only time that I could get him to sleep."
The Daddy Swing
"My third child was very colicky and had acid reflux when he was a baby," recalls Angela Maibaum, mom of three. "My husband and I would take turns calming him ... When it was Daddy's turn, he would strap the baby into his car seat and swing him back and forth in the motion that a baby swing would go. FYI, most days baby would refuse the baby swing, but loved the motion of Daddy swinging the car seat. And almost always, when Daddy would stop, the crying would immediately start!"
Victoria Georgoff is a freelance writer and psychotherapist who enjoys writing about parenting, helping other parents and, of course, being a parent herself. She used to crawl into her son's crib with him, nurse him to sleep, then carefully climb back out. To do this without waking him, she used a set of pet stairs to make getting out of the crib as quiet as possible.
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