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How to Get My Baby to Sleep Through the Night?

Updated on February 8, 2009

Sleeping Through the Night

How to get my baby to sleep through the night. The question which may ask by many parents out there. Getting a baby to sleep through the night can be one of the most difficult challenges parents may face. Many awaken three and sometimes four times a night to soothe a baby or toddler back to sleep. On the other hand, teaching a child to sleep through the night can be one of the most rewarding accomplishments for both child and parent. For the parent, an uninterrupted seven or eight hours of sleep is well needed and deserved. For the child, learning to fall asleep on her own and back to sleep when she awakens, teaches her valuable skills she will need to succeed throughout life. A child depends on his parents to help him develop good sleep habits. In order to do so, it is important to have a sensible plan that both parents agree to and stick with. The earlier the guidelines for sleep are established, the easier it will be to prevent sleep problems in the future. Around three to six months, many babies begin to sleep through the night on their own from time to time. Once a child has slept through the night at least once, it is possible to begin teaching him how to fall asleep on his own and continue to sleep throughout the night. By following a few simple guidelines, parents can be on their way to a stress-free, sleep-filled night.

Establishing a Bedtime Routine to Help Baby Sleep

For babies, the routines can be fairly simple and shouldn't take too long. If it takes too long, the baby can sometimes get a second wind and be harder to get to sleep. A bath is a nice start to the evening. There are even soothing baby baths that are nice to use. Then you can snuggle them into some comfy pajamas.

After that, sitting together in a rocking chair is a nice way to spend some time together before the baby nods off to sleep. Singing or playing some lullabies while you rock can help relax the baby to sleep. You have to be careful not to move too soon to put the baby in the crib, or you may find yourself starting over. Watch for steady breathing, and relaxed arms and legs.

Another wonderful addition to any bedtime routine is reading bedtime stories. This is one that will continue as the baby gets older. Children love bedtime stories, and it also encourages them to become readers themselves.

Consistency is the key, once you've established a routine that works. It may be hard to keep up with at times, but babies need that steady habit. Once they are used to it, bedtime won't be a struggle, but an enjoyable time for both of you.

Drowsy but Awake

The most important aspect of getting a baby to sleep through the night is having your baby learn to soothe herself to sleep. So put your baby down to sleep when she's drowsy but awake. Babies need to be able to fall asleep independently, since all babies wake naturally throughout the night. If your baby can soothe herself to sleep at bedtime, she'll be able to do the same when she wakes for a moment in the middle of the night. Don't let habits, such as rocking to sleep or nursing to sleep, develop now that you may not want to be doing six months from now, or two years from now! Keep the sequence of events basically consistent even with caregivers or when away from home. It can also be helpful to take turns with your partner when putting your baby to bed.

Enjoy your baby's bedtime routine. When you include massage and a bath, it becomes a wonderful time to unwind together and to bond. When your baby sleeps better, your whole family sleeps better, so start now to establish good sleep habits for the rest of her life.

FAQ

1. When can my baby start sleeping through the night?

When babies are able to sleep through the night and when they actually do are often very different things. Some infants as young as 3 months old can snooze for six to eight hours at a stretch. Others won't sleep this long until they're 12 months. But most babies (70 percent) do sleep through the night by the time they hit 9 months, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

2. Is it okay to use a nightlight in my baby's room?

If you'd like to use a nightlight or if you feel that your baby is more comfortable with one on then by all means do.

Don't assume that your baby is afraid of the dark, though. Young babies, especially, are pretty accustomed to a dark environment (the womb), and it's unlikely that a baby younger than 6 months will be frightened if the light is off when she wakes up. (A baby 6 months old or older won't be afraid of boogie monsters, but she may become upset that you're not with her when she wakes up.)

If your baby seems calmer with low lighting, or it's easier for you to respond to or check on your baby at night with a nightlight on, then there's no harm in using one. It won't hurt your baby's eyes or her ability to get a good night's sleep.

3. Is it true that baby girls are better sleepers than baby boys?

No. While parents will swear that their baby girl slept better than their baby boy (or vice versa), no studies have shown that either sex sleeps longer or more soundly than the other.

4. How much should my newborn be sleeping?

The average newborn sleeps about 16 hours a day, but some need much less sleep and some much more.

Also, it's not uncommon for a newborn's sleep pattern to change from day to day; he may sleep substantially less than usual one day and then "catch up" by sleeping more the following day. Let your newborn sleep as much as he likes as long as he wakes up to feed, and is eating adequately and wetting at least eight diapers a day. And let him sleep as little as he wants as long as he is not becoming overtired. But you'll probably find that he sleeps for a large part of the day, waking primarily to feed and then falling back to sleep soon after. This pattern will change over his first few months as he gradually spends more time awake and alert.

5. When can my baby go through the night without a feeding?

"Ninety percent of babies who are born full-term and are healthy can go through the night without a feeding by 6 months," says Susan E.C. Sorensen, a pediatrician in Reno, Nevada. By the time they're this age, she explains, most babies can sleep comfortably for at least six hours without waking up to eat.

Even if you don't mind getting up at night to feed your baby, it's a good idea to wean him off nighttime feedings around the 6-month marker. In fact, says Sorensen, there's no harm in starting to work on letting your baby learn to put himself to sleep - by putting him down when he's sleepy, but awake - around age 2 months. At this age he'll still need to be fed during the night, though.

The goal is to separate eating from going to sleep, so that if your baby does wake up at night, he won't need your breast or a bottle to return to slumber. Signs that your child's ready to give up his midnight snacks include not nursing for as long, not finishing the bottle, and falling asleep during feedings.

Be sure to discuss your baby's feeding schedule with his doctor before making changes, though, especially if your baby was premature or has other health considerations such as digestive problems or failure to gain weight.

Get Rid of Your Baby Sleeping Problem!!

Which one do you think that can help your baby to sleep?

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While some babies seem instinctively to be good sleepers, others need to be taught how to soothe themselves to sleep and how to stay asleep all night. If your baby falls into this...Written by experts in the field, Quick Easy Guides share little-known trade secrets and helpful hints to get you moving in the right direction.Quick Easy Guides gives you books you can judge by the cover. Our books are short, sweet and cheap. You can see for yourself.&l...

 
Baby & Toddler Sleep Program
Baby & Toddler Sleep Program

Here's an easy-to-follow program to make bedtime a stress-free time for you and your child. Written for tired parents across North America by a child psychiatrist and professor, this amazing baby and toddler sleep program helps take the agony out of bedtime. With proven success, it helps you and your family create a calm and peaceful sleep routine (even for very young children). Helpful techniques and tips take you step-by-step toward a full nights sleep, This is an accessible book for tired and...

 
The New Baby and Toddler Sleep Programme: How to Get Your Child to Sleep Through the Night, Every Night (Positive parenting)
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What bother you the most when your baby waking up almost every night?

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    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 8 years ago from Central Florida

      Great Lens! Before my daughter slept through the night, I was so, so tired from not getting uninterrupted sleep. I especially like how you put the following: "A child depends on his parents to help him develop good sleep habits. In order to do so, it is important to have a sensible plan that both parents agree to and stick with." I agree wholeheartedly. I'm lensrolling this one on my Help Your Baby Get Great Sleep Lens.

    • five starbaby-com profile image

      five starbaby-com 8 years ago

      Thanks for the info. This lens is a 5. I'm reading Dr. Sear's book right now. I would love it if you reviewed/rated my lens, I do movie posters as invitations and announcements for births, parties...

    • profile image

      JasonBlakely 8 years ago

      Great lens with a lot of great info! Please take a look at my Baby Sleep Tips page here for even more baby sleep help.

    • profile image

      herbie66 8 years ago

      Welcome to the 'Pregnancy and Baby' Group

      ( http://www.squidoo.com/groups/pregnancy-baby )