This is a special post written for proBlogger's Top 5 Group Writing Project. (Sssh. What they don't know is that you're all going to give your serious or joking tips, too, so it'll end up being way more than 5.)
Top 5 Ways To Get Your Baby to Fall Asleep
1. Fill your baby's stomach. Nurse or bottle-feed your baby to sleep. It's what babies are hard-wired to do, after all. All this "your baby has to play after eating" stuff was written by someone with way too much time on their hands, and no non-sleeping baby to deal with.
2. Rock your baby to sleep. Or stick them in the carseat or stroller and go for a ride. Try the swing, or a sling, or the bouncy seat. Or that trick of putting the baby in a carseat on top of the running clothes dryer. Motion often works to soothe a baby to sleep, so it's definitely worth a try. If it doesn't work, at least now your clothes are dry.
3. Try what you think won't work. If your baby isn't responding to feeding or rocking, they might be the kind of kid who releases tension by crying a little. See what happens if you walk out of the room for 5 minutes. If your baby cries harder and louder, you've got a child who gains tension by crying, and you should go comfort the child to sleep (and don't try the walking out of the room trick again if you value your sanity). If your baby starts to calm down or the crying decreases in intensity (or your baby is asleep!), your baby might need to cry a little to tap off the tension of the day and relax enough to sleep. Counterintuitive, isn't it?
4. Outsource it. Your mother-in-law knows how to get your
baby to sleep, and isn't afraid to tell you. Why not take her up on her
unsolicited advice and give her a turn getting the baby to sleep? You
can go out and get
Jello shots an ice cream cone while she struggles with your howler monkey. Whether she gets the baby to sleep or not, you win either way.
5. By Any Means Necessary. If your baby gets sleep, then you get sleep, so do what you have to do. If everyone has to sleep in the same bed, do it. If the baby has to sleep alone down a long hallway, fine. If you all have to sleep together in the bathtub on a sheepskin in hemp pajamas, more power to you. In a tent, on the couch, with the Food Network on in the background, with the baby's head smushed under your chin (forgot about that, didn't you?), in a recliner, with a pacifier, hanging on to the dog's tail, whatever. If it works, it's fair game. And all that crap about "forming bad habits" really is just crap. Baby's sleep changes so often anyway that if it works now it won't work in three months, and you can "fix" it then anyway.
Anyone else want to play?