All the baby-sleeping bibles condensed. How hard can it be?

by Toby Manhire / 14 May, 2013
A mother reads all the baby sleep books, and rounds up the key messages.
Ava Neyer is a good mother.

She has read pretty much all there is to read about getting her children to sleep.

And she has helpfully distilled all this sage material in a Reddit entry, reprinted at the Huffington Post.

It’s all pretty simple, she explains in a post headlined “I Read All the Baby Sleep Books” – a post which will have exasperated parents nodding in exhausted agreement.

Put the baby in a nursery, bed in your room, in your bed. Co-sleeping is the best way to get sleep, except that it can kill your baby, so never ever do it. If your baby doesn't die, you will need to bedshare until college.

Use the same cues as night: cut lights, keep the house quiet and still. Differentiate naps from nightly sleep by leaving the lights on and making a regular amount of noise. Keep the room warm, but not too warm. Swaddle the baby tightly, but not too tightly. Put them on their back to sleep, but don't let them be on their backs too long or they will be developmentally delayed. Give them a pacifier to reduce SIDS. Be careful about pacifiers because they can cause nursing problems and stop your baby from sleeping soundly. If your baby sleeps too soundly, they'll die of SIDS.

Don't let your baby sleep too long, except when they've been napping too much, then you should wake them. Never wake a sleeping baby. Any baby problem can be solved by putting them to bed earlier, even if they are waking up too early. If your baby wakes up too early, put them to bed later or cut out a nap. Don't let them nap after 5 pm. Sleep begets sleep, so try to get your child to sleep as much as possible. Put the baby to bed awake but drowsy. Don't wake the baby if it fell asleep while nursing.

It continues in much the same way for another half-dozen paragraphs, concluding:

Topping the baby off before bed will help prevent night wakings. When babies wake at night, it isn't because they are hungry. If the baby wants to nurse to sleep, press on the baby's chin to close its mouth. Don't stop the baby from nursing when asleep because that doesn't cause a bad habit. Be wary of night feeds. If you respond too quickly with food or comfort, your baby is manipulating you. Babies can't manipulate. Babies older than six months can manipulate.

Sleep when the baby sleeps. Clean when the baby cleans. Don't worry. Stress causes your baby stress and a stressed baby won't sleep.

Neyer’s clever encapsulation of the frustrations of trying to work out how to make an infant slumber might be filed along the surprise, celebrated bestseller of last year, Go the F--- to Sleep.

Which is as good an excuse as any to revisit two of the best narrations of Adam Mansbach’s book, by Samuel L Jackson and Werner Herzog (note sweary language):

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