When I was pregnant all people could tell me was to get sleep now because my child was going to keep me up all hours of the night. I mean you hear so much that it almost becomes like a broken record. One thing that helped me was at my baby shower, a close friend of mines came up to me and said "Don't worry about sleep, you will adjust and your baby can sleep through the night." She actually sat there and gave me advice as to how and when to start sleep training my baby. Just knowing that it was possible gave me such a positive attitude towards whether or not my child would sleep and if I would be able to maintain my sanity.
We have been blessed that outside of the first few nights in the hospital where my sleep was moreso disturbed by the early morning changing of the nurses and their checks on me and the baby versus the baby waking up - she has been a pretty good sleeper. Since birth, Gracia has only gotten up one time in the middle of the night to eat, which her feeding would last about 30 mins at most and she would be right back to sleep. Knowing that she is showing signs of teething means that she can be introduced to a half a spoonful of rice cereal at night which may help her sleep at least 6-7 hours at night versus her present 4 hours.
So what was my friends advice you may be asking?
Simply talking to your baby. She said that she would literally tell her babies (she has twins) - "Mommy and Daddy like to sleep so we want you to sleep too." or "Sleep is a good thing." It doesn't seem like much but it helped, so she things. For us these are the things that worked:
Soft speaking voice if you have to get up in the night, not turning on the lights while feeding in the middle of the night, allowing her to sleep through loud noises during the day and soft noises at night- we played soft music for all of us to go sleep with during her first few weeks. I believe it helped her understand the difference between night and day (although I can honestly say that she didn't have day and nights confused for too long). We had a nightlight in the room so that we could still see her and change her in the middle of the night, so that we didn't have to have all the lights on in case we had a blow out diaper in the middle of the night. Find what works for you early on and get a hang of the feeding schedule - it got to a point where I would wake up five minutes before her next bottle and could prepare that way by the time she starts whimpering like she was about to cry, mommy was already prepared with bottle and she was back to sleep within 15-30 mins.
Sleep is absolutely possible - I simply had to find the position that she liked the best.
Of course back is best. However, my child loves to sleep on her side. She gets the longest sleep on her stomach but I do not let her sleep on her stomach unless I am awake and seated next to her just in case. Now that she can lift her shoulders and her head, sleeping on her stomach is safer but I am still being cautious. Until then, she sleeps on her side and back depending on the time of day. If she is fussy, its not because of lack of sleep thats for sure.
So since I am a proponent of speaking things into the atmosphere, one things for sure, I was determined to encourage my daughter to be a good sleeper and so far she has done great. No middle of the night play times for Miss Gracia.