This is the hardest stage to go through. Especially if you were like me who did not "train" your child to sleep through the night until after 1 year but I have accepted it and I am thankful now that it has been achieved. Some days.
Before you begin, make sure every single issue has been resolved:
Your child is having a balanced diet throughout the day.
Your child is ...
or needs a diaper change
not overly exhausted from not having a good nap during the day
wearing comfortable clothes
eczema is not flared up
actually tired to go to sleep.
I know, you probably get that prickly annoying feeling when someone says to you "yeah, my son is on a strict schedule because like, that's the only way I get things done. I am like a very organised person. It's the only way I-like- function."
I know, it is super annoying to hear that but there is truth to it but no need for an over exaggeration. I always thought that the"routine" meant this very strict schedule and sounded very intimidating, but it's not. The idea is to generally do the same thing every day so that your child body clock starts working and understands what the time is for and what's happening next.
It would be best if your husband/partner does the night time routine so that your child doesn't think it's time for another feed with you. My son was only able to sleep through the night when I switched to fresh milk from a bottle and Amar gave him the night time bottle feed. However, if you are still breastfeeding, make sure your child is still awake before you place him or her in the cot. You don't want to associate sleep with the feed. Or else, they will continue to wake up during the night.
Before you give baby the last bottle, read him or her a bed time story, dim the lights and whisper to them. Mention every once in a while that it is sleep time. Associate a word like "nom" (arabic for sleep) or "nigh nigh" as if ya3ni you are trying to hypnotise them. Just say it every once in a while and subconsciously it will click. Then give him the bottle and a cuddle and sing a song to help them fall asleep ( you can ditch all that except for the bottle once your child learns its time for bed)
Afterwards, gently put baby in the cot. Don't get too excited an run out of the room.
Tap baby gently on the back and tell them its nom time and whisper. DO NOT pick baby up after that. If baby is still crying, leave the room and return after 10 minutes. Tell your baby that you are leaving the room and make sure they see you leave. You don't want to freak your baby out by leaving as soon as they turn their head.
When you return, gently tap their back and and tell them that it's nom time (gently). Then leave the room. Come back after 20 minutes if baby is not settled and then eventually 40 minutes, etc... Eventually baby will understand and sleep through the night. It takes some people 2 days for it to happen and for others around 2 weeks. It is recommended that you stay home during those days so that you put your baby to bed at the exact same time.
Now, this whole read your baby a story, give them the bottle, sing a song, cuddle, etc...etc...etc...was wayyyy to long for me. I remember when people told me this routine, I was just like, oh my God...say wallah you think I am going to do this every single day???
Eventually when Hasouni learned that 830 pm meant bed time and that going to his room, dimming the light and giving him a bottle meant sleep time, I ditched the book and singing. I gave him a cuddle bes ya3ni that's as far as I took it. Half the time I use to forget to go to the bathroom before I started the freagin routine so I kept trying to hurry up. And honestly, the idea is to get your baby to realise it's bed time. You don't need to make it this long ass story for them to understand. Just do the same thing every day and khalas. BUT, you will need to do the long version in the beginning because it is a huge change for them and these stories and songs and blah blah blah help them transition. You can read him a book during the day.
But none of these will work if you do not make sure your child has a good nutritious diet throughout the day. Or else, you will be trying to put a hungry baby to sleep. There are many guidelines that you can follow online or perhaps consult a dietitian. Dinner time is usually the most difficult meal because your baby is probably already full from all the fruits, dairy, and veggies that you gave so stock up on carbs to help them be full through the night.
If all else fails, you can always go to a sleep clinic with your baby. They are a great help for that moment when you think you are doing everything wrong and they reassure you that the process is normal.
Good luck to you all! Let me know what you have done to settle your baby to sleep. Would love to hear about your experience.