How To Improve Newborn Sleep At Night

When To Make A Nap Routine Change

How to Improve Your Baby’s Night Sleep

With that in mind, if your baby is quite a bit off the norm in terms of typical daily sleep averages, perhaps you might want to consider making some adjustments to both nap and bedtime routinesparticularly if your baby also shows signs of daytime tiredness and wakes up a lot at night.

Signs that your baby could use more daytime and nighttime sleep include crankiness, difficulty falling and staying asleep, rubbing their eyes, and appearing less alert. If your child exhibits these symptoms, they are likely asking for a napand a more consistent schedule in general.

When Should Babies Start Sleeping Through The Night

Some babies begin sleeping through the night around six months of age. At six months, about 62% of babies sleep uninterrupted for at least 6 hours. By the time they reach one year, about 71% of babies sleep uninterrupted for at least 6 hours at night.

Infants three months and younger generally don’t sleep throughout the night without waking up to be fed. Parents shouldn’t be concerned if their baby doesn’t sleep throughout the night without waking up, even if the baby is a year old.

How Much Sleep Do Babies Need

Sleep patterns will change over the first year of a babys life, including the number of hours of sleep needed and the duration of sleep periods throughout the day and night.

  • 0 to 3 months: Its normal for newborns to spend 14 to 17 hours asleep in a 24-hour day, broken into shorter periods to accommodate feeding, diaper changes, and interaction with their family. Breastfed infants usually need to eat more frequently than bottle-fed infants, about every 2 hours versus every 3 hours. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine advises parents not to worry if their newborns sleep pattern doesnt match the projections, as these amounts can vary before the first 4 months.
  • 3 to 6 months: Starting at around 3 months of age, an infants daily sleep needs drop to 12 to 15 hours. Around this time, sleep also starts consolidating into longer periods as babies are able to go longer without feeding. Sometime during this period is when most babies start to sleep through the night, though there are exceptions to the rule.
  • 6 to 12 months: From 6 months onward, babies do the bulk of their sleeping at night. However, other issues such as teething, growth spurts, illnesses, or sleep regressions may start leading to nighttime awakenings. Parents may opt to use more specific sleep-training strategies if babies arent sleeping through the night at this stage.

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Realize That The Sleepless Nights Won’t Go On Forever

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics , healthy babies usually settle into a routine in which they sleep for longer stretches at night by 2 to 3 months of age. Almost all babies should be able to sleep through the night by the age of 6 months, but the AAP acknowledges that there can be a significant discrepancy between this statistic and what happens in any given family on a given night.

At Norah’s 6-month well-baby visit, I still had dark circles under my eyes. Her pediatrician suggested that I refrain from nursing her to sleep and instead put her in her crib drowsy but still awake. Norah let me know that she had a problem with that strategy. I compromised by nursing her an hour before bedtime and rocking her to sleep while she sucked on her binky. So the happy ending to my tale from the dark end of sleep deprivation is that at 10 months, my daughter started sleeping through the night — and so did I.

Create A Slee Friendly Environment

What to Do When Your Newborn Won

In the first few weeks of life babies want to be kept warm and cozy. Sometimes cribs are too uncomfortable. Maybe the room temperature is off. To set your son or daughter up for sleep success try the following:

  • Let the baby sleep in a pack and play or bassinet that helps them feel cozy and secure.
  • Check lighting, temperature and sound and set them at a level that promotes sleep.
  • Keep your baby close by so you can get to them sooner. Keep your baby in your room in the first few months so you can attend to their needs quicker so they dont fully wake-up.

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What’s An Example Of A Sleep Schedule At 2 Months

A 2-month-old sleep schedule might look something like this:

6:30 a.m.
Sleep, wake only to eat
4 a.m. – 6:30 a.m. Sleep, wake up

Of course, this schedule is only an example. Different infants might sleep at different times of day or for different lengths of time depending on their parents’ schedules and activities. The same infant might also sleep at different times on different days.

Safe Sleep Practices For Infants

  • Practice the ABCs of safe sleep: Babies should always sleep Alone, on their Backs, in a Crib. Place your baby on his or her back for every sleep, night time and nap time.

  • Do not put your baby to sleep on his side or tummy.

  • Once your baby can roll from his back to tummy and tummy to back, your baby can stay in the sleep position that he assumes. But always place your baby to sleep on his back.

  • Place your baby on a firm mattress in a safety-approved crib with slats no greater than 2-3/8 inches apart.

  • Make sure your babys face and head stay uncovered and clear of blankets and other coverings during sleep. If a blanket is used make sure your baby is placed feet-to-foot in the crib. Remove all pillows from the crib.

  • Create a smoke-free-zone around your baby.

  • Avoid overheating during sleep and maintain your babys bedroom at a temperature comfortable for an average adult.

  • Remove all mobiles and hanging crib toys by about the age of 5 months, when your baby begins to pull up in the crib.

  • Remove crib bumpers by about 12 months, when your baby can begin to climb

For additional safe sleep practices for infants including information and video on choking, making a safe home environment, resources, swaddling and tummy time, click here.

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Make Night Time Wake Ups Boring

I know your baby is the cutest baby who ever lived, but in the middle of the night, you need to ignore that fact. Dont make eye contact, dont talk, dont stimulate in any way.

Keep the lights low, TV off, and even if your baby wants to party at 4am, I suggest staying in the room and standing your ground until your baby finally gives in and goes back to sleep.

Prepare For Quick Changes

Instantly Improve Your Baby’s Sleep (6 Simple Changes)

“Hunting for a fresh crib sheet after your baby soaks his diaper or spits up is miserable in the middle of the night, and turning on the lights can wake him up more fully, meaning getting him back to sleep can take an eternity. Instead, double layer ahead of time: Use a regular crib sheet, then a disposable waterproof pad, then another sheet on top. That way, you can just peel away the top layer and pad, throw the sheet in the hamper, and toss the waterproof pad. Also be sure to keep a one-piece, a swaddle, or a sleep sack nearbywhatever it is your baby needs to continue the night comfortablyso you’re not hunting through drawers every time your baby’s diaper leaks.” Aimi Palmer, a sleep consultant and cofounder of AB Child Solutions, in London

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Dont Feel Pressured To Burp Or Diaper Your Baby If Doing So Will Wake Your Baby Up

When your baby is sleeping or about to doze off the last thing you want to do is jolt her awake with intrusive care-giving. So can you wait? That seems likely.

In a recent study of more than 70 infants, researchers found no evidence that burping was beneficial to babies. It didnt make them cry less, and it actually increased a babys chances of regurgitating after a meal . And an earlier experiment suggests that babies arent awakened by the sensation of a wet diaper .

# : Dont Replace Night Weaning With Another Sleep Crutch

If your baby is used to being fed or nursed to sleep then hes learned that sucking is the way to fall asleep.

And over time, he becomes dependent on sucking to fall asleep. He now needs to suck every time he tries to fall asleep.

So when you decide to night wean your baby youll have to teach him a new way of falling asleep.

But Heres the Trick:You have to teach him a new way of falling asleep that doesnt depend on YOU getting up in the night and DOING SOMETHING.

For example: If you get your baby used to falling asleep by rocking, rather than feeding, hell still wake up and need you to rock him back to sleep when he wakes at night. Probably just as often as before.

The reason is that hes replaced one sleep crutch for another.

Instead of feeding, he now needs rocking to fall asleep. You see, he still needs something external in order to fall asleep. He doesnt know how to fall asleep on his own.

BUT if you teach your baby how to be comfortable and happy falling asleep on his own, youre also teaching him how to resettle himself in the night when he wakes.

And, by the way, he will continue to wake throughout the night. We all do! We might change positions, adjust our pillow and then fall back asleep. We just dont remember it.

Your baby will slightly wake between sleep cycles, like we all do, and fall back asleep in the night without a fuss.

This happens because he doesnt need to do something like suck or be rocked. And hell sleep longer stretches at night.

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Set Up A Proper Sleeping Environment

The proper sleep environment will matter more and more as baby gets past the 6-week mark. Set up a room for your baby to sleep for naps and bedtime. The sooner your baby starts to associate darkness and loud white noise with sleep, the easier his or her life will be.

People always worry their baby will become addicted to or dependent on darkness and white noise, and then wont be able to sleep without it. Newsflash: adults have sleep preferences too! I dont like to sleep on planes, trains, or automobiles. I prefer sleeping in my bed, with my pillow, etc. Many adults swear they sleep just fine through any errant noise, but studies show that constant pink noise helps the brain go into more stable levels of sleep. You can also just not use white noise or darkness, and then see how that goes.

Most babies sleep better with loud white noise, and as-dark-as-possible darkness. This is a post about how to get your kiddo to sleep better, after all

Use A Glove Filled With Rice To Mimic Your Hand

Should Babies Sleep with a Night Light? Ultimate Guideline

This is such a genius idea. If youve ever kept your hand on your baby until she was asleep and then ever so gently removed your hand, all while begging the Lord that she will stay asleep, then you will so appreciate this tip.

And if you have a baby who simply wants to be held at all times, read more here about what to do when your baby will only sleep in your arms.

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Relax And Clear Your Mind In The Evening

Many people have a pre-sleep routine that helps them relax.

Relaxation techniques before bed have been shown to improve sleep quality and are another common technique used to treat insomnia (

122 ).

One study in older adults determined that exercise nearly halved the amount of time it took to fall asleep and provided 41 more minutes of sleep at night .

In people with severe insomnia, exercise offered more benefits than most drugs. Exercise reduced time to fall asleep by 55%, total night wakefulness by 30%, and anxiety by 15% while increasing total sleep time by 18% .

Although daily exercise is key for a good nights sleep, performing it too late in the day may cause sleep problems.

This is due to the stimulatory effect of exercise, which increases alertness and hormones like epinephrine and adrenaline.

However, some studies show no negative effects, so it clearly depends on the individual (

128 ).

Drinking large amounts of liquids before bed can lead to similar symptoms, though some people are more sensitive than others.

Although hydration is vital for your health, its wise to reduce your fluid intake in the late evening.

Try to not drink any fluids 12 hours before going to bed.

You should also use the bathroom right before going to bed, as this may decrease your chances of waking in the night.


Sleeping Through The Night

Its also important to note what sleeping through the night actually is.

A baby is considered to be sleeping through the night when they sleep sixyes, just sixhours in one stretch. Perhaps your baby already is sleeping through the night and you just didn’t realize it. Either way, don’t worry. It may not feel like it , but your child will be sleeping for more significant stretches soon enough. It may take months to get there but your child’s nighttime sleep will continue to lengthen and eventually will reach between an average of 10 or more hours a night.

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Breastfeed In The Evening

Babies will often cluster feed in the evening, seemingly wanting to eat nonstop for a few hours. This is completely normal infant behaviour. Allow your baby to nurse for as long and as often as he wants. He may be hungry, or he may also just need this time to settle and have one-on-one time with you. Evening breast milk contains melatonin , which can be passed to your baby and help him fall asleep. Not surprisingly, cluster feeding is often followed by a longer stretch of sleep.

Find Your Babys Sleep Number

How Can You Improve Your Toddler’s Sleep?

According to sleep expert Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., late bedtimes cause many childhood sleep problems, because overtiredness makes it harder for children to get to sleep and stay asleep. But figuring out when to put your baby to bed can be tough.

To find your babys perfect bedtime, first determine how many hours of sleep he needs in a 24-hour period to determine how many hours he can comfortably stay awake per day. Set your childs bedtime so that he is not awake longer than that, and youll prevent overtiredness that can wreck nighttime sleep.

For example, a 10-month-old who needs 14 hours of daily sleep can stay awake for 10 hours per day. If he gets up at 6 a.m. and naps for three hours each day, he needs a standing 7 p.m. date with his bed.

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