Sleeping through the night yet? How-to tips to get your baby sleeping through the night.
Don’t worry if you baby isn’t sleeping through the night yet – and know that you’re not alone. Late night feedings and soothings are a right of passage for almost all new parents. But don’t despair – there are ways to get your baby sleeping through the night.
Developing a sleeping through the night rhythm
Most newborn babies sleep more than 16 hours a day, but in frustratingly short stretches of just one to two hours a time.
Your baby’s sleep patterns may seem to be all over the place at first, but a more consistent sleep pattern will gradually emerge as your baby’s nervous system gets more fully developed.
And there’s good news. Usually around 3-4 months, most babies will start sleeping 5-6 hours at a time. And something magic happens around 6 months – your baby will start naturally sleeping through the night.
Encouraging good sleeping through the night habits
Let’s face it – the first few months will have some of the most incredible, life changing moments in your life. But middle-of-the-night feedings can get old fast, and you’ll likely be yearning for normal sleeping through the night slumber before you know it. Still, it’s never too late to help your baby to become a pro at sleeping through the night. Consider these tips:
Get out there! Babies are little bundles of energy. When your little one is awake, try to keep him engaged by singing, talking, and playing. Infuse your baby’s environment with light and household noises – sensory stimulation during the day can help promote sleeping through the night.
Keep track of your baby’s naps. Daytime naps are important, but sleeping for long chunks of time throughout the day may prevent your baby from sleeping through the night.
Consistency is key. Try the time-tested favorites such as cuddling, singing, reading, or bathing. Your baby will learn to associate these actions with sleep. Many parents find that playing a sound machine in the nursery helps their baby to sleep through the night with a consistent noise, PINK recommends “white noise”.
Go for drowsy. Rather than letting your baby fall asleep before putting her in her crib, try putting your baby to bed when she’s drowsy but still awake. This will help establish a sleeping routine, and increase the chances that your baby will start sleeping through the night.
Provide “settle down” time each night. Most babies will cry and fuss before settling into a comfortable position before falling asleep. Its OK to soothe your baby by shushing and caressing her back – but avoid direct eye contact and talking during these times to increase the chances of your baby sleeping through the night.
Babies are generally very active when they are about to fall asleep, they twitch, wriggle, squirm, and they can be noisy, too. Often all this fussing is nothing more than a settling down process as they get ready to sleep through the night so unless you feel your baby is hungry, it’s OK to wait for a few minutes.
Dial down your night time care. Try doing a bath every night or every other night, give a massage with lotion right before bedtime. Using dim lights, a soft voice and calm, when feeding or caring for your baby during the night. This will signal to your baby that nighttime, not playtime.
Stop bed sharing. According to a recent study from Harvard Medical School, bed sharing actually makes inhibits sleeping through the night for most babies. According to the same study, bed sharing also increases your baby’s risk of SIDS. So for all of you mother out there that do this I know it is comforting and it is a hard habit to break but start the change NOW.