If you have to shake your baby’s crib or pat her on the back until she falls asleep then your baby has not yet learned the skill of “self settling.” She has used you as a sleep aid all of her life. She will have to learn how to fall asleep herself. This is not easy, but it gets even harder the longer you wait. Although it might be stressful, you will have to get her used to not being patted or shaken at all. You could try giving her a transitional object like a soft toy or a blanket. It is best to have a bedtime routine like brushing her teeth or gums, holding her and reading to her a short time, and putting her in the crib with the toy or blanket. Obviously she will cry and demand her usual shaking or patting, but you should say goodnight and leave the room. You can call in to her if you are worried she is afraid. “Mommy’s here, go to sleep.” There really is no harm in toughing this out for several nights.
Some people fear that they are harming the baby by enforcing this change. Don’t worry. Kids are much more flexible than we think. Children do not “break” from learning to adapt to change. Self settling is a learned skill like walking. The learning process can cause discomfort; but it is well worth the effort. It is my feeling that what your baby needs most is a well rested mother who is delighted to see her in the morning. In the long run these few difficult nights will provide real rewards for everyone.