It used to take us about an hour to put Eric to bed. At 11 moths old we started to get him to sleep in his own bed and one of us had to stay with him until he fell asleep. Some days it took 20, others 40 minutes.

At first I tried to sit on the mattress holding Eric in my arms and rocking him – but he was fighting and crawling away from me, so that clearly wasn’t working. Then I put him in the cot and he started to scream – I lied down on the mattress beside the cot, said good night to him, put my hand through the bars and near him and just lied still.

Enough is enough – I had to get my baby to sleep like through the night and on his own, not in our bed. I think that our moving home created the opportunity for it – the familiar environment was changed and that made easier for me to break his sleeping habits. I tried to create new rules and get Eric accustomed to them.

How to help a baby sleep like a baby

Even with a routine in place I work hard to make every day a good one for Eric. He gets excited easily and I found out that if we leave relaxing activities closer to his sleep time (like going for a stroll), then he is more likely to settle without a fight.

I shared my white-noise experiment (hair dryer as sleeping aid, link) with other mothers in the mums group and raised some eyebrows. A couple of mums agreed that we should use “whatever works” and one other mum said that she found salvation in sleep training.

I learned a new term “white noise”. White noise is the kind of noise vacuum cleaners, hairdryers and washing machines in spin cycle generate, and apparently babies love it.
I read that it helps them go to sleep and stay asleep – and desperately searching for anything to get Eric to sleep in his cot, I gave it a try.

At first it seemed like mission impossible. The only place Eric would stop crying and sleep was on my chest. I lost count of how many nights I fell asleep sitting on the bed holding him in my arms, I was so tired.

Help your baby sleep

I had no idea that babies can’t fall asleep on their own. It never crossed my mind that a tired baby might need help to relax, close his eyes and nod off.

New phase in sleeping

Eric used to fall asleep when I swaddle and rock him, holding vertically, as if I was walking. Ever since he was born this jiggling motion worked every time, it relaxed him and eventually he would node off. The only thing I was worried about – what will happen when he’s too heavy for me to lift and rock, because he is a big baby. That worked beautifully for the first 6 months – but since yesterday it stopped. He screams and arches his back when Rob or I are trying this old technique on him. I guess he is telling us – I have grown out of that baby stuff :).