Getting Baby to Sleep Through the Night
As wonderful as a newborn is, baby sleep problems can pose an exhausting challenge to any doting new parent. Because they are still developing their nervous systems, newborns typically sleep in stretches of just a couple of hours at a time, at all times of day and night. As babies approach 6 months of age, they generally can sleep up to 12 hours at a time, making it more likely that they will sleep through the night. This is a good age to start establishing healthy baby sleep patterns.
Good Infant Sleep Habits
A good night sleep for baby means a good night sleep for you so use these tips for getting baby to sleep through the night.
Teach them to self-soothe – One of the most important steps in getting a baby to sleep through the night is to encourage them to fall asleep on his or her own. When you put a baby to bed drowsy but awake, they start to make the connection that the bed means bedtime.
Stick to a consistent routine - Between 3 and 6 months of age, you can start to establish healthy baby sleep habits by sticking to a regular bedtime routine. This will help set your baby's internal clock. You can soothe the baby through cuddling, reading, music, etc. and then put the baby to bed. By this time, the baby will probably be drowsy and ready to fall asleep. Most babies will start to doze off without any fuss. Try stroking or patting the baby if the baby is fussing as this may help calm him or her down.
It may take longer for babies who breastfeed to fall asleep on their own since they may feel the need to nurse. If your baby is nursing, try to feed the baby earlier, and then start the regular routine.
Keep baby active during the day – A busy baby with lots to do during the day will sleep better at night.
Put baby to bed earlier – While this baby sleep advice may seem counterintuitive, sometimes putting a baby to bed a half hour earlier can help them stay asleep through the night. A later bedtime may cause a baby to be overtired, sleep deprived and fussy. Going to bed earlier can help the baby have a better quality sleep and does not mean that they will necessarily wake up earlier.
There are many different approaches to baby sleep problems. Experiment with some or all of them and discover the ones that work best for your situation. Good baby sleep habits are beneficial for both baby and you.