While a lucky few might enjoy the sweet sound of silence at night, many fathers find themselves waking up two, three or four times a night to calm down a wakeful baby. If you've been struggling with your child's nighttime habits, consider these sleep training methods to help you both catch a few extra Zzzs before morning.
For the first few months, you may just have to deal with your baby's frequent wakings. Babies often sleep for a few hours here and there and then wake up hungry, so you and your wife should expect to be making a few midnight trips to the crib during this time. Now is not the time to impose sleep training methods (as much as you might want to) – you'll have to wait until your little one is about four or five months old to do that.
Also known as the "cry it out" method, pediatrician Richard Ferber pioneered the Ferber method for teaching children how to sleep through the night. This involves putting your child to bed every night with a soothing bedtime routine, then leaving him awake to fall asleep on his own. If your little one starts crying, you're supposed to leave him alone for a predetermined amount of time before returning to offer comfort (no picking up or feeding, however) and increase this waiting time every night.
For those who want to avoid crying, William Sears' no-tears method might be a desirable alternative. Instead of leaving your infant to cry, Sears suggests responding immediately with rocking, soothing attention and even co-sleeping. These comforting rituals may help the child develop positive associations with nighttime sleeping.