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Tracy Hogg, author of The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, has two different methods for teaching your baby to sleep through the nap rather than habitually waking at the 45 minute mark. Before we discuss this, however, I want to point a few things out.
- GROWTH SPURTS: I want to point out that if your baby has been sleeping well and is suddenly waking early, there is an excellent chance it is a growth spurt. Growth spurts happen every 3-4 weeks. Yes, I know they are tiring. Be sure to feed your baby during growth spurts as often as needed. If you don’t, the early waking will just continue on.
- WAKING BUT HAPPY: Hogg says that if your baby wakes early every once in a while and is in bed happy, just leave her. I agree with this. For the random early waking and the happy baby, just leave her be and do your best to not stress.
- WAKING BUT UPSET: If your baby wakes early and is upset/crying, then she didn’t get enough sleep. This is when you help her get back to sleep. Your approach to this will depend on you. Some moms do cry it out. Some will rock their baby back to sleep. Some will move to a swing our bouncy chair. Some pat the baby. Some will do a Baby Whisperer method (listed below). Whatever you do, please remember the growth spurt category (number one above). The baby can wake up upset if she is hungry, so keep that in mind.
WAKE TO SLEEP
The first Baby Whisperer method to stop early waking is called “wake to sleep.” Basically what you do is wake your baby before she wakes on her own. For the 45 minute waking, you would go in and rouse her at thirty minutes. You don’t want her to fully wake up. You then pat her gently until she goes back to sleep, which might take 15-20 minutes. If she cries, you move on to pick up put down.
I haven’t ever done this. If it sounds like something you want to try, you will probably want to read it for yourself in the book (page 251). The idea of this is to get her used to sleeping through the cycle rather than continuing to habitually wake up at the 40-45 minute mark.
PICK UP/PUT DOWN
I haven’t ever tried this method, either. This can be used to help her fall asleep initially or after she wakes early. Hogg says that when you first start this, you might be doing it for an entire nap period. She says it is important to stick to feeding times, so if/when meal time comes, stop and do feeding. The information on this method cover pages 251-263, so there is a lot more than I will put. Here is the info for you to see if you are interested.
Basically, you pick the baby up and hold him until she stops crying. Then you lay her down. If she starts to cry, you pick up, hold, wait for her to stop crying, then put her back down. You do this until she falls asleep or until it is feeding time. This can also be done in the night.
Hogg says to not do this until baby is 4-5 months old because it is too stimulating before that age. She also says you can do this 100 times or more before the baby will fall asleep.
Here are a couple more options for you when your baby wakes early. Be sure also see the many waking early posts on this blog.
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