At a mere nine weeks (yes, 9!) Noelle slept through the night for the first time. After this accomplishment I wracked my brain trying to figure out what we did that made her sleep for so long. (I analyze things constantly when it comes to new baby stuff.) The primary thing I could come up with was that she was well fed. Among other things, plenty of activity (for a nine week old), fresh air (walking the dog), a couple naps during the day (not over tired), eating enough is what I attribute most to Noelle sleeping so well.
Full disclosure, Noelle was only breastfed for about a week, after that, she got breast milk in a bottle. (We're big snugglers, and I hold her all the time, so I was never worried about bonding with her that way.) This allowed me to track, to the ounce, how much Noelle was eating. For a while I kept a spreadsheet with the time and amount that she ate. After a few months (and when I went back to work) this became a bit stressful so I just jotted it down on a note pad. We still track how much Noelle eats every day. I figured as long as she ate at least what she did that first night, she would sleep. Obviously that "magic number" got larger as she did, but we had a baseline to go off of.
When we put Noelle to bed, we try and keep a routine.
Night time diaper and pjs
Swaddle (we don't tuck the bottom in anymore, think wrapped like a mermaid)
Bed time bottle
*We face her in the same direction every night, and I place her on her side.
She loves sleeping on her side and sometimes fusses if she's on her back.
While crying it out isn't a method we're fond of, we also wanted to teach her how to self-soothe. Of course there were nights here and there where she would wake up in the middle of the night, but it didn't happen often. If she does wake up, we let her fuss a little, and then head into her room to give her a hand. She usually falls back asleep pretty quickly. Now at six months I can't remember the last night we were up in the middle of the night with her. There were some nights where Noelle wouldn't go to sleep, but we solved that with snuggles on the couch, and HGTV or the Food Network (mom's favorites).
As a side note to the sleeping topic, we did not get a video baby monitor. Old school for us - only sound, not two way. I find it's all we need, and never feel like I need to watch her sleeping either. We also use a sound machine with the noise of waves crashing on the beach. One worry we did have was that she would have troubles sleeping because of all of the other noises we're subjected to living in such close proximity to others. I'm not sure how much it actually helps her, but it sure helps put me to sleep through the monitor!
In my parent's defense for letting me cry it out, I'm a fantastic sleeper. Car, couch, chair, commuting (yes, on the train), doesn't matter. If I'm tired, I will sleep. Without a doubt, I get this from my mom, from her mom. My dad is not a good sleeper, but the ladies in the family - we can sleep. Amen to that!
*All the photos in this post are of Noelle napping. As mentioned, we don't have a video monitor, nor am I going to risk trying to photograph her actually sleeping at night.