I used to be a champion at getting infants to sleep. I had a special "baby walk" with a bounce that took every baby I ever met straight to snoozeville. Until I had kids of my own. Somehow I ended up having kids who had as many sleep difficulties as I have and were perhaps even more stubborn than me about bedtime.
Back sleeping - The recommended method resulted in exactly 2.7 minutes per any 24 hour period. Babies hate sleeping on their backs.
Side sleeping - In the mid-90s, this was a recommended sleeping position. I even had a wedge pillow specifically designed to keep baby on her side. It was considered safer than stomach sleeping, comfier than back sleeping, and prevented them from drowning in their own barf. It did NOT, however, get us any additional sleep.
Stomach sleeping - I tried this most dangerous of sleeping positions out of desperation. And it's true - most babies seem to love it. My babies increased their sleep from 2.7 minutes per 24 hour period to at LEAST 7 minutes per 24 hour period when placed on their stomachs. Warning: Do not try this under any circumstances as it increases the likelihood for SIDS. Or if you do, get your doctor's permission and please don't sue me.
A bath before bed - Very calming. Unfortunately my kids were always able to work themselves back up to a frenzy during the "streak naked through the house in a mad attempt to escape your pajamas" phase that followed the evening bath.
Bedtime stories - All the way up to age 13. It's a nice ritual, calming and comforting. I highly recommend it for promoting literacy and general bonding. It got us zippo extra sleep though.
A strong routine - Kids love routines. Lacking the ability to look up at the clock and say, "Oh my! It's 8:30 already!" routines give kids comfort. Knowing the routine preceding bedtime makes kids much, much happier. However, it never made my kids any sleepier.
Putting baby in bed while sleepy but still awake - Causes much, much, much screaming. Up to three hours of screaming at times.
A shorter nap, a longer nap, an earlier nap, no nap - Adjustments to naps rarely made even a lick of difference. We tried it all.
Night lights, snuggly toys, loveys, toys that make lights appear on the ceiling - None of my kids were ever tricked into staying in bed by any of these things.
Just wait for them to become teenagers.
Then they NEVER want to get out of bed.
You can outlast them folks! With the help of family, friends, good luck, fortitude and possibly wine or a prescription from your doctor, you CAN make it through this stage and into teenager-hood. Perhaps (if you're extremely lucky) you may even survive with your sanity intact! Good luck out there!
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