I know. I’ve been there. So exhausted that I couldn’t do anything but weep and beg my baby to sleep. I’ve fallen asleep while physically rocking a cradle and praying to God for delivery.
So, after much desperation, after two children, and after asking dozens of women what works, I present to you some strategies that did help. I’m not promising that they will all work for you, but I sure hope one or two of them will.
The Womb Sounds Bear Audio Pacifier
I don’t want to act like a commercial for another baby “device” that you really don’t need, but this silly contraption really did help my daughter fall asleep. I would strap it to her crib and the (somewhat creepy) imitation of my heartbeat in the womb would sing her to sleep. The downside was, that mine had a timer, and sometimes when the bear shut off, my baby turned back on, but still … for our family, it was worth the $18 investment.
The Bedtime Bath
This solution sounded so overly simple, that I ignored my sister’s advice for months. I thought, nah, that can’t work. Too easy. But it did work. It worked wonders. Just before bed, I gave my son a bath, and it did calm him down and help him fall asleep. Especially if I added a few drops of lavender essential oil, which leads me to …
Yep, I said it. The scent of lavender (as well as other oils) can truly help a baby “unwind.” Be sure to spring for the real thing, however. A bottle of essential oil will last you nearly forever, so it’s not as expensive as it seems, especially if it buys you a few hours of shuteye. Be sure to get essential oil, which actually comes from a plant, not fragrance oil, which comes from God knows where. Then just add a few drops to the bath, and voila! Fragrant sleepytime. You can also put a diffuser in your baby’s room, to keep the aromas circulating all night long.
Try a Different Sleep Spot
Turns out my son hated his cradle. He just wouldn’t sleep. I mean – Would. Not. Sleep. So long before he was too big for the cradle, we plopped him in the crib, mostly just to give ourselves a change of scenery. And he nearly instantly fell asleep. We don’t need to understand why something works, right? As long as it does. So maybe putting baby in a different spot, or wheeling her cradle or playpen into a different room will help.
Try a Different Outfit
Dr. Sears backs me up on this: some babies just don’t like some materials. I would also argue that babies have a different definition in their little brains of “comfortable temperature.” I changed my son’s pajamas five times before figuring out that he just wanted to be naked. So we put an extra heater in his room, and let him sleep in just a diaper.
Wear Your Baby Out
This worked for both my children. If I tucked them into a wrap or sling, they instantly fell asleep. The trick then becomes, getting them out of the wrap and keeping them asleep. If this doesn’t work, consider asking daddy, gramma, or a friend to wear your baby for a while so that you can get some shuteye.
If it’s any consolation, and I doubt that it is, remember that babies really are not supposed to be good at sleeping. They are still used to sleeping inside mommy’s womb, and this weird world just isn’t the same. Remember too that this is a (very) temporary problem and soon you will be trying to rustle your teenager out of bed for school.