So if you have been following my blog, you know that my first baby was a horrible sleeper, totally my fault! I had no idea how to get a baby to sleep through the night. And I surely didn’t know that I was doing things that were actually hindering the process. I was a new mom, I had no clue that little things like nursing or rocking my baby to sleep would be the reason she would be up all hours of the night for months to come. Babies should really come with manuals!
Wondering how to get baby to sleep through the night? Violet can help! Take a look at the available consultation packages and options!
After waking up every 1-2 hours for almost a year, I vowed never to make the same mistakes. So when I had my second baby, I did things right from the beginning. She started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks! Yes, I know…. that’s nuts! I never imagined it would be possible. Friends would say things like, “you’re lucky, you have an easy baby”. Little did they know, it has NOTHING to do with luck. The reason a baby wakes up unnecessarily all night has EVERYTHING to do with how mommy or daddy puts that baby to sleep, and how they respond in the middle of the night to the wakings. So I am about to reveal to you, the secrets of how to get a baby to sleep through the night.
This is the easy part. Start with a solid, and consistent bedtime routine, at a decent hour (no later than 8:30 pm). This will help teach your baby predictability. The more your baby knows what’s coming, the more likely he/she will accept it. You can start with something simple like washing up, pj’s, and reading a book or two. It doesn’t have to be anything complex. As long as it is the same routine, every night, at the same time. Eventually, your baby will get used to this routine and will know it’s time to go to bed since the routine will help signal that.
Create a good sleeping environment
This may include things such as room darkening shades, swaddling if your baby is young, comfortable jammies, proper room temperature. Anything you can do to make your baby as comfortable as can be, to promote a restful nights sleep. Babies are picky about comfort. Don’t compromise safety, but make sure your baby’s sleep environment is just right for him/her.
Teach your baby to self settle
Take my advice, unless you want to be up all night replacing that pacifier, comfort nursing, or rocking your baby back to sleep, allow your baby to self settle and fall asleep on his or her own. It’s the best thing you can do for your baby’s sleep. And imagine how many extra Zzzz’s you can catch if you don’t have to keep running back in the room to put your baby back to sleep. I’m not saying you should never rock or nurse your baby to sleep, but if you are up all hours of the night doing so, this is not healthy. Not for you, not for your baby. Not sure how to teach your baby to self settle? Read more about teaching baby to self soothe.
Make sure your baby is not hungry.
So here’s the thing with hunger, babies can usually sleep through the night when they are developmentally ready to take in enough calories during the day, so that they don’t need to wake at night to eat. If your baby’s stomach is not yet mature enough to do this, you can fill her up all you want, and she still won’t sleep through the night. A newborn’s stomach is small and needs to grow enough to be able to hold a substantial amount to make it through the night. With that being said, you want to make sure you are always giving your baby enough breastmilk or formula, so when that developmental milestone is reached, your baby will be able to sleep through the night, and not wake hungry a few hours later. Experts say this happens anywhere between 3-6 months of age.
Another scenario is that if your baby has many bad sleep habits and sleep associations, you can also fill her up all you want, and she still won’t sleep through the night. My first baby had so many sleep associations, I tried everything to get her to sleep through. I gave her more breastmilk, I put cereal in her bottle (horrible, I know), I tried increasing solids when she reached that age, and nothing worked! She just had to learn the skills to fall asleep on her own to be able to sleep through the night. Babies have many sleep-wake cycles and if they don’t know how to put themselves back to sleep after a cycle, they are going to need you to do it. Whether by rocking, nursing, or any other sleep association. It is important to allow your baby to self settle, so that when her stomach reaches maturity, she can sleep through the night without needing your help to put her back to sleep.
Don’t put off fixing bad habits
If you have been putting off making any changes in your baby’s sleep routine, for fear of what you might have to deal with, then remember that it’s most likely only going get harder as your baby gets older. Also, keep in mind that a tired baby is a cranky baby, so you are not doing your baby any favors by putting things off. When your baby is overtired this makes skills like rolling, crawling, standing much harder to accomplish. Can you imagine putting a baby that is not well rested down on a mat to do tummy time and practice rolling…yeah right!
Babies need to get their daily sleep requirements in, otherwise reaching developmental milestones is going to be extremely difficult for them. Not to mention what the fragmented sleep does to you as a parent. Your nerves get frayed, you’re on edge, you’re anxious about what the next night is going to be like. Trust me, I know! I have been through months of exhaustion and lack of sleep. When I finally learned how to get my baby to sleep through the night, I was astonished to find out that there are so many things I was doing wrong. I quickly learned how to fix things, and now I have two wonderful sleepers. Now I help other parents with this.
Violet is a Registered Nurse and Baby Sleep Consultant specializing in helping babies and toddlers sleep. Believing there is no “one size fits all” advice for helping a baby sleep, she offers personal sleep plans and consultations that take into consideration your baby’s age, sleep history, temperament, and individual circumstances.
Wondering how to get baby to sleep through the night? Violet can help!
Take a look at the available consultation packages and options!