Tips to Get Your Baby Sleeping Through the Night
Getting their babies to sleep through the night is arguably one of the greatest challenges parents face. The task can be especially daunting for new parents, as the adjustments a newborn baby brings means they need even more sleep than normal.
So how can parents help their babies to sleep through the night? We have the tips you need to help the expression “sleeping like a baby,” come true for you!
- Teach them the difference between night and day.
Some newborn babies are night owls, which is something that unfortunately you can’t do much about – at least for the first few days. After that, however, there are ways to help your child distinguish between awake time (day) and sleep time (night). Play with her during the day and don’t restrict any household noises she might hear. If she falls asleep while feeding, wake her up. At nighttime, gently quiet things down; and if she wakes up, don’t spend too much time playing or talking.
- Get a routine!
It’s never too early to start! In fact, having a bedtime routine is absolutely crucial for your baby as she learns to sleep for greater stretches of time. Routines for other daily activities such as feeding and napping can also help to get your baby more relaxed at bedtime.
- Keep naptime balanced.
Naptime is important, but it shouldn’t be too long, as this can disturb your baby’s all-important nighttime sleep. In general, babies will and should sleep as much as they need to during their naps, but if their sleeping for stretches longer than 3-4 hours, you may want to gently rouse them.
- Be active!
Although babies can’t physically tire themselves the way older children can, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can to do wear them out! Keeping your baby stimulated by talking, singing, and playing – even just exposing him to the sights and sounds of your home – will do wonders for helping him to sleep more soundly at night.
- Put her to bed drowsy.
Your baby doesn’t have to be fully asleep before you put her to bed; in fact, experts say it’s better if she isn’t. By putting your child to sleep when she is drowsy, but awake, you are helping to teach her how to put herself to sleep by associating the bed – and not your arms! – with the process of falling asleep. Be sure to keep her crib clear of all toys or blankets and put her to sleep on her back.
- Give her a chance to fall asleep on her own.
Although it can be difficult – especially for new parents – letting your child fall asleep on her own is important for her sleeping development. In fact, at about 6 to 8 weeks your child is ready to be left alone for a short period before falling asleep. She may fuss or cry to find a position that is comfortable, but that’s okay. If she doesn’t stop, stand by her and gently rub her back or speak softly and calmly to her. This may be all she needs to settle back down.
- Nightly noises are normal.
As your baby sleeps, you will likely hear a series of sounds as she squirms around in her bed. She may also cry as she tries to find a comfy spot. Instead of running every time she stirs, let your baby cry for a few minutes before you check on her – unless you think she might be hungry.
If your baby is experiencing difficulty settling down at night, you may want to consider using a pacifier. In fact, using a pacifier has been linked to reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Of course, this might mean your baby wakes up more, as the pacifier falls out during her sleep.