I know that every parent has their own opinions about everything under the sun, but that ultimately it is up you, to make your own judgements, and to parent your children how you choose. I also know that children change A LOT! Especially babies, as they are growing and developing very quickly. With that in mind, I know that some things that work for one baby might not work for all babies. Even though this is the case, I still thought I'd share with you what is currently working for us to get our baby to sleep.
1. SwaddleMe (Stage 2) Swaddle Blankets // We didn't start using these until recently, but they have totally changed our lives! Reagan can't sleep unless she's swaddled. If she's not swaddled, she will rub her face or knock her binky out of her mouth, overall just wake herself up with her hands/ arms. Before we had these SwaddleMe wraps we just used blankets to swaddle her, but she would ALWAYS get out. She sometimes still gets her arms out of these, but it isn't very often. They really help her sleep. Plus, I like that her feet are contained but loose in the bottom of the bag, so her toes stay warm, but she has a little bit of wiggle room.
2. Fleece Blanket // Now that it's getting a bit cold outside (and inside), we usually wrap her up in a fleece blanket after we wrap her in the SwaddleMe. The extra layer makes me feel comfortable knowing that she wont freeze. The one that we use we received as a gift, but any blanket would work really.
3. Binky // This is a necessity in getting Reagan to fall asleep. It is almost impossible to get her to sleep without one. I think these are her favorites, but she isn't too picky. I have noticed that she likes the soft rubbery plastic binkys better than the hard plastic ones though. We just opened the 3-6 month binkys but are still using the 0-3 month ones as well. When she actually falls asleep, she usually spits out the binky and that's when we know, she's REALLY asleep.
4. Sound Machine // When Reagan was born our pediatrician told us that the key to her happiness in these first few months would be white noise and swaddling. We didn't really take his advice at first, but have learned our lesson and corrected our ways. We have this sound machine, and love it. It was the perfect price ($15) and does everything we need it to. We really only use the white noise setting, but it's nice that there are other options, if someday we want to use them. It's also nice that it has an auto-off setting. We don't currently use it, but again, it is nice that if we wanted to, we could use it. Right now, we just leave it on all night, because I heard that white noise might help prevent SIDS. White noise really calms Reagan down, and usually puts her right to sleep.
5. Babywise // My parents call this the Baby Bible. I didn't read it until Reagan was 2 months old, and I really wish I would have read it earlier. The basic premiss of the whole book is feed/ wake/ sleep, which isn't usually the natural cycle for a baby. The book suggests that you feed the baby right when they wake up, then keep them awake for a while, and then put them down for a nap. It rocks. Ultimately, it has helped Reagan to sleep through the night.
6. Hat // We took a birthing class and the nurse who taught it said that when she used to work in a newborn nursery her trick to help babies sleep was a hat pulled about halfway over the baby's eyes. It makes it a little bit darker for them, and keeps them warm, both of which help babies to sleep. I also like it because when I put Reagan's hat on, it's almost like she knows it's time to sleep.
7. Baby Monitor // I love this thing. We have the camera set up by Reagan's crib and I can carry the monitor around with me where ever I am in the house and see how she is doing while she naps. I really like that it has Night Vision, so I can see her while she's sleeping in the night and I really like that it has two-way communication, so I can talk to her if I need to. Oh and one more thing, I really that it is expandable up to 4 cameras, for our future babies.
8. Bouncy Chair // If Reagan is really freaking out, and I can tell that she is really tired, but wont calm down, I will swaddle her, give her a binky, turn on some white noise, and put her in the bouncy chair with the vibration on, while I simultaneously bounce her. It is like the quadruple threat, and usually makes her fall asleep within minutes. Then, after she falls asleep, I carefully transfer her to the crib. We don't do this every time she needs to go to bed, only when we need some reinforcements.
And that is what currently works for us! I'm sure in like a month it will be different, but here, at 4 months, this is what we are loving!