Probably one of the most awaited milestones of parenting is the time your baby finally, finally, starts sleeping through the night. If you’re anticipating this momentous event, well, no one can blame you! After all, how difficult is it to function with 2 hours (more or less) of sleep?
All babies need to sleep. In fact, newborn babies sleep most of the time, spending as much as 17 hours a day! You may not notice this because your baby sleeps erratically throughout the day and wakes up several times throughout the night. This is normal because their little stomachs only hold a small amount of milk at a time; thus, they need to feed frequently.
Your baby’s erratic sleep habits is no cause for worry. Then again, with your baby waking up multiple times a night, it may become impossible for you to get the right amount of sleep. In this case, it is necessary to start working on a more consistent sleep pattern.
Unfortunately, there is no magic formula on how to get a baby to sleep through the night. Each baby is different, and each one follows their own body clock and timeline. However, there are ways you can gently encourage your baby, coaxing them into the right direction.
5 Ways to Get Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night
1. Create a safe, calming sleep zone for your baby.
The first thing to keep in mind when encouraging your baby to learn healthy sleep habits is the environment that they are in. Is their nursery conducive for sleeping? Does it have a soothing atmosphere? These things are necessary in fostering a peaceful, restful sleep.
You may want to start with the bedding. Keep it simple to avoid SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and only use breathable cotton crib fitted sheets that stay in place.
Also, avoid using a weighted baby blanket for your infant! It will hinder your baby from moving, which can increase the risk for SIDS. Instead, use ultra soft baby blankets made of cotton that are lightweight, breathable, and comfortable.
2. Set a consistent schedule for your baby’s bedtime.
Your baby may have an erratic sleep schedule, but you can gently change this into a more consistent pattern. Don’t let your baby sleep too late in the night as they may already be overtired by then. It is better to let them sleep early in the evening for a more restful sleep.
Also consider that your baby may not sleep right away, so start putting them to sleep even earlier than your set schedule. Remember that their nap schedule impacts their nightly sleep schedule as well so avoid letting your baby nap too late in the afternoon.
3. Establish a bedtime routine.
One of the most important things that you should do — not only to encourage your baby to sleep better but also to aid in their overall growth and development — is to establish a regular and consistent bedtime routine.
Because your baby’s body clock is still maturing, they need external signals from you to learn what to do next. You can do this in the form of a simple, sustainable routine. For example, to teach your baby that their bedtime is approaching, you can create a routine that includes calming activities like bathing, massage, and story time.
4. Put your baby to bed when they are still drowsy and not yet fully asleep.
It is a common practice to put a baby to bed when they are already fast asleep. However, this practice only teaches your baby a behavior of dependence, where they would find it hard to fall asleep on their own.
What you can do is to put your baby to bed when they are still drowsy and just starting to fall asleep. This teaches them how to fall asleep on their own so that when they wake up in the night, they would know how to soothe themselves back to sleep.
5. Let your baby sleep in your room. If possible, co-sleep in one bed.
While co-sleeping is not for everyone, this practice may help your baby self-soothe (which, as we learned previously, is vital for good sleeping habits). Because they sleep right next to you, your baby may be able to sleep more comfortably and securely.
If direct co-sleeping is not possible, then let your baby sleep in a crib inside your room. You can monitor them as they sleep, and you can check on them without having to get up. It is also easier to feed your baby when they get hungry in the middle of the night.
There is no surefire way to get your baby to sleep through the night. Even if you follow all of these tips, there is no guarantee that your baby would sleep the way you would like them to do. Remember that your baby is their own individual with their own preferences and biological clock.
However, following these tips is helpful in creating a safe and soothing environment that your baby will benefit from. A consistent routine and encouraging your baby to learn how to soothe themselves will definitely impact their growth and development — you have nothing to lose!