Cry it out? No-cry sleep training? Baby deedee founder and mother of three offers a personal approach to what worked for her.
Most babies develop more predictable sleep patterns when they are 2-3 months old.
Around that age, my children started being able to sleep for longer stretches of time; up to six hours. In the beginning, it was very irregular, some nights I woke up after eight hours of uninterrupted sleep thinking a whole new life was beginning. Then the next ten days I would wake up every 3 hours and have to go to work. It definitely takes time. Here are some tips that helped me:
Using a pacifier to delay feedings
This was a technique that helped a lot with two of my children (the third was never interested in a pacifier). Instead of feeding baby immediately, I would give him a pacifier and he would often go back to sleep for an extra hour.
Getting the long stretch at the right time
My son would sleep from 8 pm to 2 am and then would wake up starving every 2 hours after that. I tried waking him up to feed him right before I went to bed and that was helpful. What was interesting is that the first few times, the extra feeding did not do any good and he still woke up at 2 am. But after a while, I think the feeding helped to move to a longer stretch.
Wait until baby is really crying
This one is huge in my experience, particularly since I was sharing a room for the first six months. I realized in retrospect that I would sometimes actually wake my son up by running to him at every little noise. Parents who sleep very close to their baby or share a room will hear noises and interpret grunts as the need to get up and feed. With my second child, I waited until he was really crying as I realized he would sometimes just go back to sleep after small noises and grunts.
I have seen the research, heard the pediatrician assure me that solids make no difference and that babies sleep through the night without solids. And then I heard the grandmothers who assured me the opposite.
This only speaks to my personal anecdotal experience, but solids did make a difference for me in extending the 6-7 hour stretch to a longer one. Of course, it could be coincidental, but I observed that for all my kids within a week of eating a few solids, they were sleeping longer hours.