How to Make Baby Sleep through the Night
You know your parental skills have sharpened when you already know how to get baby to sleep. That is if you have enough experience by now. Unfortunately, other parents—especially the new ones—still need some few tips on properly managing those seeming graveyard shift jobs of answering their baby’s 3 a.m. wake-up calls. Yes, it can get very frustrating. In fact, your baby waking up in the middle of the night will not only disrupt your normal sleeping pattern and sap your energy, making it harder to function well, but it will also make you more vulnerable to experience normal blues and eventually, depression.
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Now, you might be asking, “why can’t my baby sleep at night?” Various factors might actually be the reason. It could be that your baby needs a feed or comfort and assurance from your touch. Once she starts teething, expect sleep deprivation on your part to also kick in. Basically, your baby is still trying to differentiate night and day, and since babies are naturally inclined to sleep, waking up any time of the day—and night—should be expected. Moreover, even when this does not continue to be the case, many babies still go on waking up through the nights for some time. Good news. You can do something.
To start with, you can try a sleep training method called “controlled crying”. It involves leaving your baby, after saying goodnight and letting her cry. Go back after a few minutes—maybe two—and comfort her. Leave her afterward and when she still cries, extend the time and interval of you leaving from 5 up to 10 more minutes. This may be harsh for you but an extensive research has been made when it comes to its effectivity. You should keep in mind though that it isn’t advisable to leave your baby for a longer period at night. You can also gradually lessen the times you go in to comfort your baby instead of following strict intervals. Other than that, here are the other ways on how to get baby to sleep at night.
Ways on How to Get Baby to Sleep
How to Make Baby Sleep – Understand and Follow their Needs and Sleeping Pattern
Understanding the factors that can help and hamper your baby’s peaceful night should obviously be the first step. Try to find out why she wakes up at night. Also, a newborn baby that is up to six weeks old may stay awake for only half an hour a day. This increases though as she gets older and understanding this pattern can help you tailor-fit your approach to their growing needs. This also involves understanding how she eats, especially since it often overrides her need to sleep. What’s important is to follow your baby’s schedule instead of yours. A simple observation of your baby’s sleep cues like yawning, rubbing her eyes, and any other signs of tiredness can help you discern the proper time for her to sleep.
How to Make Baby Sleep – Calm Your Baby before Sleep Time
Settling down activities is important on how to get baby to sleep. Of course, you should turn off the television and any other sources of noise and head to her quieter room at least 10 minutes to set the scene and help her relax beforehand. Try to turn off the lights as it can stimulate her. You can also sing some soft lullaby or talk gently to her while cuddling your baby in a blanket or in her swaddle. You can give her a bath too, and a calming massage before putting her into pajamas. What’s crucial in doing all these is that you yourself are relaxed as well.
How to Make Baby Sleep – Follow a Simple Bedtime Routine
Setting a simple and short nightly bedtime routine will make your baby sleep better, easier, and minimize her outburst in the middle of the night. The steps discussed just above in calming your baby before sleep time is part of your routine. Do this every night before her bedtime and she will take it gradually as a sign to go to sleep. This is basically a principle of learning called “association”. Just remember to make the bedtime condition consistent in that when she wakes up, everything around her should stay the same right when she fell asleep.
How to Make Baby Sleep – Let Your Baby Fall Asleep On by Himself
Even as early as 6 up to 12 weeks old, your baby’s sleep-wake cycle that regulates her sleeping pattern, called “circadian rhythm”, naturally kicks in and starts to develop. During this time, try to gradually cut off those things you do where she might easily learn to depend on, such as feeding or rocking your baby to sleep. Simply put her down when she’s about to sleep and wait if she settles by herself. This is where the aforementioned “controlled crying” technique could be used if she cries. Also, try to soothe or rock her in your arms or anything that can put her to sleep. Put her down just before she can completely drift off on your arm as this can become a habit hard to get rid of when she grows up. Overall, as with “association”, this technique will make your baby learn to fall asleep on her own.
How to Make Baby Sleep – Daytime and Night-time Feeding
As aforesaid, your baby has to take her time to know the difference between day and night. Making her daytime feeds energetic while her night-time feeds calm and quiet will help her learn the difference and will eventually set her body clock. Speaking of night-time feeding, there is one common misconception we need to clarify here. To claim that the only way on how to get baby to sleep is to nurse her is quite erroneous. Letting your baby settle down by herself as stated previously will help you slowly cease the night-time feedings. In doing so, it is important not to abruptly apply the changes. Gently reduce them perhaps by eliminating one bottle at a time for four to five days if she’s receiving multiple bottles a day. Over time though, it is natural for the baby to stretch out the interval between her feeding. You can use this as an advantage by feeding her before bedtime so you will be assured once you yourself take the rest.
How to Make Baby Sleep – Avoid Overstimulation
Sometimes, your baby seems to get more energetic at night instead of getting sleepier. This is especially true once she is going through a developmental milestone, such as learning to crawl or to stand. Learning and practicing this new occurrence might make her too excited to actually fall asleep. In managing this, try to assert to your baby that night-time is the time for her to sleep and stop playing. You can do this by leaving the room and ignoring her if she still makes a sound by chatting or cooing. Normally, the baby would decide to go back to sleep since she can entertain herself no more. If she starts to cry, you can follow the aforementioned “controlled crying.” Just be sure not to let pass a much longer time before returning back to soothe her. In general, avoid overstimulation, as it can hinder your baby from settling down and falling asleep.
Other Ways on How to Get Baby to Sleep at Night
- You can give your baby a blanket, or a stuffed animal, or any other security objects to make her night as comforting as possible even without you.
- Also, when your baby gets old enough, you can actually ask help from your partner to comfort your child, since feeding or nursing your baby by this time won’t really matter.
- Now if you want to cuddle her up, remember that it’s best to keep her in a separate cot next to your bed particularly when she’s too young.
- You should also try to increasingly wean your baby off her pacifier so she can ultimately go to sleep without it. This might get too harsh though at first.
- You can play some soothing sounds too as part of your baby’s bedtime routine.
Reduce the Risk of SIDS
Sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS is a tragic occurrence involving an infant’s unexplained death, who seems to be healthy, during sleep. Some parents might horribly find their child already lifeless in their cribs. The real culprit behind this condition is still undetermined, though SIDS is found to be linked to defects in the part of the infant’s brain that regulates breathing and sleep arousal. Various factors are playing a role in putting the baby into this risk. Good thing, you can do ways of preventing SIDS:
- In lying your baby down, make sure that she is sleeping on her back. Also, use a firm yet comfortable surface where your baby can doze off. If she falls asleep in your car seats or any other surfaces that aren’t flat, carefully transfer her to her room.
- Speaking of which, both of you should be in the same room, though not in the same bed.
- The objects inside the crib such as pillows and blankets, including the bedding, should be soft.
- Do not cover your baby’s head which could result in too much heating.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle by not smoking and drinking too much. Comfort your baby with your touch. This will give her assurance.