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Little baby looking at the camera while lying in bed.

Sleeping Like a Baby

Author: Danielle Vigueria
Published Date: Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Everyone knows that bringing a new baby home almost certainly means sleepless nights. First, there are some very clear and important recommendations for safe sleep that parents and caregivers should know. Armed with this knowledge, I still often found myself struggling with the how.

For the first six months of her life, I felt like I was failing my daughter because sleeping, whether at night or for naps, was a constant struggle. “Sleeping like a baby” in our house meant waking up every two hours at night to eat until you pass out again and only taking naps while being held. I knew other moms who had 3-month-olds who only woke once at night and took two long naps in their cribs every day. I couldn’t help but feel like I was doing something wrong.

I read recommendations of putting baby down “drowsy, but awake” and I tried my best, but that felt like a joke. When I put my baby down, even if she was super drowsy, she would scream the second her head hit the mattress and would work herself into a frenzy ending in a no-sleep situation. Getting her down at night was easier than the daytime, but she continued to wake every 2 to 3 hours. No one was getting any sleep.

This is the part where I wish I could give some fool-proof advice on how to get your baby to sleep, but unfortunately, I don’t have any magic answers. I read everything I could get my hands on and while I did pick up some helpful tips (black-out shades in the nursery and creating a consistent sleep routine), there was nothing that solved our problems. I constantly worried about my baby getting enough sleep for healthy development and was convinced that she was doomed for a future of failure as a result of awful sleep habits.

All I can say is, like with so many other baby-related issues, I eventually came to realize that although sleep schedules are important, I did not need to put so much pressure on myself (or my baby) to follow them to the letter. And, if she needed to nurse to go back to sleep at night, so be it. I tried to stop comparing her sleep patterns to others (I still do wonder how those moms and babies do it) and quit beating myself up. I worked hard to believe that in her own time, she would figure it out.

Then, around her 7-month birthday, miracle of all miracles – she began sleeping through the night. We haven’t looked back since. She’s still clocking about 12 hours a night, and we have worked together to help her learn how to self-soothe (not responding right away to her crying) so our evenings are a much happier time now.

Naps are another story. We still struggle. Some days, I feel like a big success when she takes two, hour-long naps in her crib. But then the next day she manages only one, 30-minute nap on my lap, and the next day, no nap at all. I remind myself that we are both doing the best we can, and she is happy and healthy. But if anyone out there has the secrets to parenting the perfect napper, please let me know.

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About Danielle Vigueria

About Danielle  Vigueria Danielle Vigueria is a new mom, step-mom, wife, and freelance writer. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Virginia and a Master of Professional Studies in publishing from George Washington University. She recently traded her beach life in coastal Virginia for the mountains of Idaho. When she isn’t writing, Danielle relaxes by hanging out with her family, reading lots of YA fiction, and watching the deer wander in her backyard.