The no-cry method
The gist: You comfort your baby whenever she wants you, gradually cutting back on the amount of time and level of attention you give her.
Why it's right for you:
- You don't want to let your baby cry at night.
- You don't mind waking up throughout the night for now if it means less stress for both of you.
- You crave lots of physical closeness with her.
How to pull it off: This method can be demanding, but it's also simple. You'll need to maintain consistent naptimes and bedtimes and use a calming routine (such as bathing, nursing, or rocking) to let your baby know bedtime is near. Keep your baby within earshot all night, either by sharing a room or using a baby monitor. When she awakens, listen first to see if she falls back asleep on her own. If not, soothe her however you choose, but gradually reduce how long you spend on it so she learns to put herself back to sleep. Be sure to remove your breast from her mouth when she's sleepy but not asleep. "Otherwise, she'll expect to nurse every time she wakes up," says Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution. And remember: The American Academy of Pediatrics warns against bed sharing with babies. If you do, you need to take several precautions - removing all covers and pillows, for instance - to reduce the risks. Talk to your doctor.
What moms say: "We don't fall into as deep a sleep as we normally would - but this method is perfect for us," says Daynise Couch, mom of Malik, in Nashville. "Since I work, I miss my baby tremendously during the day, so I don't mind those few moments during the night when I'm awakened. This may not be the best option for everyone, but for us it's just more time to bond."