Be Flexible

If you have a baby, you’ve probably already been inundated with advice about how to get her to fall asleep and stay sleeping thorough the night. And, more likely than not, the advice you’ve received is contradictory. It seems like everyone has a different opinion about what’s best for babies and beddie-bye time.

So, like most good parents in the new millennium, you fire up your laptop and surf the Internet to see what the experts have to say about the matter. After all, the best information in the world is online and right at your fingertips, right?

You’ve probably already figured out by now that the most highly regarded experts on baby sleep disagree as strongly as your friends and family members do. Some, like Dr. Sears, advocate a very hands on approach to baby sleep, encouraging you to come running at baby’s first night time whimper. Others, like Dr. Ferber, encourage methods that involve some degree or other of allowing baby to fuss a little so that she can learn how to soothe herself and fall asleep without needing constant attention.

So, which is best? Unfortunately, there really isn’t a definitive answer. The best you’re going to get on the subject are opinions.

The best advice we ever received on the subject was to just be flexible. Every family is different, and every baby is different. We’ve had two children, several years apart, and we can attest to the fact that different babies can have very different sleep needs.

We’ve never been the sort who could just lie there and let our babies cry it out for any period of time. We’re not saying there’s anything wrong with letting them cry it out, just that we couldn’t do it ourselves. As a matter of fact, we were encouraged by most of the experts whom we had access to (this was before we could get our advice online) to let our babies cry it out and self soothe, to the point that we sometimes wondered if we were doing our kids a disservice by going to them when they cried.

The end result for us, though, and for the overwhelming majority of parents, is that our babies eventually figured out that night time is for sleeping and began to sleep through the night. Remarkably, our friends who used the cry it our method found the same thing. Their kids also eventually started sleeping through the night.

Babies have suffered a lot worse than being over cuddled or being left to cry too long and still have grown up to be happy, healthy children and adults. So, the bottom line for baby sleep is to do what works for you and your baby. And trust us, you may need to be willing to try more than one approach before you find one that works for your family.