Nicole Johnson, President/Lead Sleep Consultant of The Baby Sleep Site® kindly contributed this article on How to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night.
When you first have your baby, besides some of the nerves you may feel that you are now responsible for another life, there is often such excitement surrounding that first feeding, that first diaper change, and their first bath.
There are so many “firsts” to look forward to and be able to say as a parent “Phew! I did it!” That sense of accomplishment is like none other.
Beyond the first several weeks of a newborn’s life, many new parents start asking themselves when their baby will sleep through the night for the first time. Sleeping through the night is one of the firsts many of us look forward to as the days of sleep-deprivation start wearing on us. And, if your baby takes too long to sleep through the night, you may start to feel like you’re failing in this parenting category. Don’t worry, you are not alone!
How can you help your baby sleep through the night
First, set realistic expectations about when babies sleep through the night and then follow these tips:
Check the Sleep Schedule
One of the first ways you can set your baby up for success in sleep is to make sure your baby is not overly tired at their next sleep period. Even if schedules aren’t your thing, if you are aware of how long your baby has been awake, this can help guide you into a peaceful slumber at night.
But, how do you know what schedule to use for your individual baby?
Every age has different expectations for sleep and each baby may need their schedule tweaked to work for them. So, first, look at sample baby sleep schedules and then adapt it to fit your baby’s tendencies. For example, some babies have their long stretch of being awake before bedtime while others have one of their shortest. You know your baby best to make those adjustments.
Maximize Daytime Feedings
Babies can’t sleep through the night when they’re hungry, of course! There are quite a few factors to consider as far as daytime feedings.
Some babies have big stomachs and can take big milk feedings while others have small stomachs or reflux and need more frequent, smaller feedings. Which type of baby do you have?
If you have the first type, then your baby will likely take larger feedings more spread out in the day, but if you have the second type and you are trying to stretch too much time between feedings, you will be left with a baby who is not consuming enough milk during the daytime. And, those babies wake up at night.
While starting solids can help with some hunger at night, keep in mind that milk is higher in calories than fruits and veggies, so it will only help so much. Your baby needs a certain number of calories, fat, and milk in order to grow and thrive. Once your baby can consume all of their calories in the daytime, she can sleep through the night.
Create Sleep Cues
Cues help all of us know what to expect whether it’s the scent of dinner cooking or brake lights on the car in front of you. When it comes to sleep, “setting the mood” for your baby can go a long way. You can darken the room, put on pajamas, and play soothing music. These cues, also called a bedtime routine, can help your baby start to relax even before you put them down and expect them to be asleep. The more relaxed your baby is, the easier it will be for him or her to fall asleep.
Teach Your Baby How to Sleep
One big piece of the puzzle to help your baby sleep through the night is to teach him or her how! It might seem silly to think you have to teach a human to sleep. It seems so easy. You lay down, close your eyes, and voila! If only it was that easy.
We all fall asleep a particular way, whether it’s on a bed with sheets and a blanket, with a fan going or the TV on. Some people like it completely quiet while others like some type of noise on in the background. And, our babies are the same way.
When your baby falls asleep while feeding, rocking, or driving in the car enough times, he or she will begin to associate that action with sleep and start to believe it may be the only way. Or, at least they may begin to prefer that way. So, one important key is to simply teach your baby there is another way to fall asleep.
Of course, not everyone likes change. After all, your baby sees no reason why he can’t wake up every hour for you to rock him back to sleep. But we are parents now and we have more wisdom. So, we can help your babies learn a new way to fall asleep…new sleep habits.
While some babies learn new skills with ease and without much protest, there are other babies who do not like change at all and have very strong opinions. For babies who do not like change, parents typically use sleep training to teach new ways of sleeping. Sleep training often has a negative connotation, but there are gentle ways to teach your baby new things. We do it every day with learning to walk, talk, use utensils, etc. If we think about teaching our babies how to sleep, we can help them sleep through the night in no time!
How to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night Printable Guide
You can download your free printable version of this guide from my complete free resource library here:
About the Author
Nicole Johnson is a married mother of two wonderful boys and owner of The Baby Sleep Site. When her eldest son was born, he had a lot of sleep problems – he would wake every one or two hours, all night long! She got busy and thoroughly researched literature and scientific reports until she became an expert in sleep methods, scheduling routines, baby developmental needs, and more. She overcame her son’s sleeping issues in a way that matched her own parenting style, and knew it was her mission to help other tired parents “find their child’s sleep”. If you have your own sleep issues, Nicole and her team at The Baby Sleep Site® can help! Download the popular free guide, 5 Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night, to get started today.
- Sleep when the Baby Sleeps and other Ridiculous Advice
- 5 Tips on How to Get Your Baby to Sleep
- How to Sleep Train a Baby
PIN THIS POST:
Do you have any tips on how to help your baby sleep through the night?