When I get together with my other new mama friends we always end up asking "how's your baby sleeping." What we should probably be asking is "how are you sleeping." I think I may have found the long lost key to getting 8 hours of sleep when you have an infant..and I figured out how to get my baby to sleep through the night all at the same time.
The secret's in the monitor.
Here's the thing. As a new mama you're probably buddy-buddy with your baby monitor. You are, aren't you? Just admit it - we all are! Well, at least I was! I use the monitor during the day when my daughter is taking naps. I no longer use the monitor at night.
Hear me on out on this one. It took my daughter four months to consistently start sleeping through the night. I knew she wasn't hungry and that she could make it until morning without eating, but I couldn't figure out why she'd wake up randomly. Then one night around 3am I was awakened by the sound of her babbling, but not crying, on the monitor. I stumbled into her room only to find her eyes were closed. She was still asleep and me rushing in was only waking her up. I went back to my room and realized that if I didn't have the monitor on I wouldn't have heard the babbling, I would have stayed asleep and therefore she would have too. I also realized closing her door slightly, but not completely, and doing the same to mine, would definitely be enough to awaken me by her true cries. (There's no way I could miss the crying, especially the way she exercises her lungs.) So the next night I tried it. I turned off the monitor at night. She slept the whole night through and so did my husband and I.
So here's what's happening. We all have awake times in the middle of the night, even if we don't remember them. My daughter babbles, squeals, and even cries out during hers. But she always goes back to sleep. I'm not sure how many times this happens at night..maybe two or three? (Last night I was up way passed my bedtime and I heard her babbling around 11:15. I thought, well she's not screaming so I'll let her go. Ten minutes later she was fast asleep. She woke up at 6:45 this morning happy as a lark.) By turning the monitor off I don't hear every little peep which has taught her to get herself back to sleep and given me the chance to get uninterrupted sleep as well.
The 45 Minute Nap
How Much Sleep Does My Baby Need
How to Get a Baby to Sleep
Getting Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night
Trouble With Naps: The 2 Day Solution
The books I found the most useful as far as teaching my daughter to sleep are: