You have a beautiful little baby. They are sweet, adorable, likeable, huggable, kissable. You are in a state of surreal bliss! Until the first night...
The baby is screaming, you try to feed him but he just screams louder, you coddle, rock, sing, hum, bounce, until you are ready to stuff that adorable little pair of lungs back where it came from!
Does this sound familiar?
Babies need lots of sleep, newborns need around 17 hours. However, they quickly grow out of this and start to become more aware of their surroundings. The average baby (being between 3-12 months) needs around 15 hours of sleep in a total 24 hour period.
The most common problem with getting a baby to sleep is that they are simply not tired. 15 hours may sound like a lot, but remember that they get most of that sleep at night. As parents of young children, it is easy to nap them too much during the day and then we run into problems when we want to put them down for the night at 7 o clock. Baby isn't tired!
Therefore, before you read any further, think about how many naps your child is getting. Are they sleeping more than three hours during the day? Most likely this is your problem. Let them nap for about an hour one time, wake them up and then let them sleep for two hours for their next nap. They may be fussy for a few days as the new schedule sinks in, but once it settles so will they.
If you are counting on your fingers and all the math adds up, then we move on to another likely suspect, routine. If your problem is getting your baby to fall asleep, there are many different things to try. The most proven method is to get a daily evening routine going. Every night read, sing, say a prayer, give them a bath, etc. Whatever it is you choose to do, do it consistently. This will help your baby prepare for bed, often removing the fear and insecurity of separation from you and beginning the process of settling down for the night.
If your problem is that your baby wakes up and won't sleep for long stretches... this could come from several different things. First of all, if you have been in the habit of running in every time they squeak or squawk, then you have formed a habit in them. Most of the time when my 10 month old wakes up in the night, he will squawk a little, move around to get comfortable, and fall asleep before I can get the bottle into his mouth. If I just wait it out, he will fall back asleep. Maybe your situation is different, maybe your baby sleeps in your room with you. Depending on their age and your own personal comfort level, it may be time to move them to their own room. Often times you are waking your baby up when you move around and get up to go to the bathroom!
There are many different problems and most mothers have a million different solutions. If all else fails, check out some online forums on the subject. Get advice from other moms who have been there. And don't forget to mention it to your pediatrician, there is always a chance that something is bothering your baby that needs to get checked out.