Tips On How To Get Your Baby To Sleep Better
Establishing a great sleep routine and environment is an essential part of improving your babys sleep, regardless of the reasons they might be waking up. Set them up for success with the below tips.
- Make their room as comfortable as possible. Both Dr. Adams and Dr. Karp recommend a dark room and a noise machine for a soothing sound. Dr. Adams also recommends keeping the room at a comfortable temperature.
- Swaddle them until they learn to roll over. Dr. Karp encourages a womb-like environment. Once they have learned how to roll over, you can no longer swaddle their arms, but you can have them wear a sleep sack for their age.
- Establish a routine. Babies thrive on routine, says Dr. Adams. Its important to have a nice bedtime routine so that they are prepared for sleep and they can go to sleep at the same time every day. This can consist of a bath, lotion, a bottle, reading and then bed, for example. Whatever you pick, just be consistent.
- Encourage enough sleep. Sometimes, babies dont sleep well at night because theyre overtired, especially if they dont nap well. Dont keep a baby up later thinking it will help them sleep better, because in many cases, that will backfire. If you find they are cranky and having trouble falling asleep, it probably means you need to put them to bed a little earlier and they will sleep longer, says Dr. Adams.
Should Parents Be Concerned If Their Babies Arent Sleeping At Night
Some changes in a babys sleeping patterns are normal. Keep in mind that if there are brief changes, such as illness or traveling, sleeping may be more difficult for your child. Continue maintaining a consistent routine for the baby to encourage sleeping through the night.
If you are concerned about your babys sleeping habits, keep track of hours slept and when sleep occurs. Share this information with your pediatrician and they will be able to help identify whether or not your childs behavior is normal or reflective of a possible sleeping problem.
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What Is Safe To Sleep
Since the AAP’s recommendation, the rate of SIDS has dropped greatly. Still, it is the leading cause of death in young infants. The Safe Sleep campaign reminds parents and caregivers to put infants to sleep on their backs and provide a safe sleep environment.
Here’s how parents can help reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related deaths:
For parents and families who have experienced a SIDS death, many groups, including First Candle, can provide grief counseling, support, and referrals.
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When Will Baby Sleep Through The Night With Sleep Training
If the thought of your baby waking up throughout the night until theyre 3-4 years old scares you, then you can try sleep training. According to both DeBear and Willes, sleep training can usually begin as early as 4 months old . Of course, if you still want to give your little one some time to develop the skill naturally on their own, you certainly dont have to start at 4 months. However, once you get closer to the one-year mark, be prepared to intervene. For most babies, if they havent started to sleep through the night without sleep training by 10-11 months, its less likely they will do so on their own before their third birthday, says Willes.
Start Early And Enlist Help
- Teaching your baby to sleep can be stressful for many new parents long days of cleaning blowouts, listening to inconsolable cries, and keeping up with insatiable hunger followed by interrupted nights takes its toll on the whole family. The best advice is:
- Start laying the foundation for healthy sleep as soon as you return home from the hospital, by adopting these tips.
- Get your partner on board from the start. Even simply having help with those dreaded middle of the night feedings can give you the couple extra hours of shut-eye you need to function during the day
- Tip: Be aware that sleep deprivation is directly linked to postpartum depression enlisting help from your partner, friends, neighbors, or relatives can make all the difference.
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When Parents Can Expect Relief
For both the midnight to 5 a.m. and the eight-hour criteria, two months was the most likely age for infants to do this, Henderson says.
”Three months was the most likely age for infants to begin sleeping through from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m, a criterion that better reflects typical family sleep requirements,” she says.
“By 5 months of age, 73% were sleeping from midnight to 5 a.m., 62% were sleeping for an eight-hour period, and 53% of infants were sleeping from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.,” she says.
“Further, by the end of the first year, 87%, 86%, and 73% of infants had met the criterion, respectively.”
The practical applications? “This is a developmental guide for parents of the capability of healthy, typically developing infants for sleeping through the night,” Henderson tells WebMD. “Please remember that each child develops at their own rate as reflected in the different and increasing rates of sleeping through over the first year.”
“Parents should not be worried if their infant has not begun to sleep through the night at 2 and 3 months,” she says, noting that not all did so.
Talk To Your Partner About Helping Around The House
Parenting is meant to be a team sport. Like any successful team that means practice and planning are critical. Although birth moms often carry a large burden when it comes to feeding and caring for a newborn, partners want to be useful, too. Plus, having father-baby bonding time is magical and important.
You and your partner should discuss ways to share the work before youre both exhausted. Ask your partner what their expectations are and let them know how you see duties being shared. Here are some ideas:
- Divide and conquer one parent feeds the baby and the other changes the diaper.
- Perhaps on some nights, mom pumps and passes off nighttime bottle duties.
- If baby takes a bottle, maybe theres a schedule so both parents can each get at least half a nights sleep. One of you could take the late shift and the other can take the early shift.
- Maybe one of you is responsible for feeding baby and the other is responsible for feeding the rest of the family. If someone is responsible for planning and making meals, you could avoid the dreaded question, What do you want to do for dinner?
As a dad, I know we want to be a helping and comforting presence, not an additional burden or stress to be managed. Talking through new roles early on will give us the ability to help you the most.
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When To Visit The Doctor
If your baby isn’t sleeping through the night by 12 months or by the time he’s a year old, talk to your pediatrician to determine if there’s a root cause. Other reasons to chat with the doctor: your baby snores, she has a hard time breathing, or she seems extremely fussy at bedtime and after feedings .
To 6 Months: Longer Stretches Of Nighttime Sleep
The first step of sleeping through the night is building up those blocks of sleep. Gradually, youâll witness three hours of solid sleeping, then perhaps four or five hours. You might even be surprised with an even longer stretch from time to time!
At 1 month old, your baby may begin to sleep for longer stretches at night, perhaps including one long block of three to four hours. Itâs during this time that your babyâs circadian rhythms are forming, and theyâre getting used to the difference between day and night.
By 2 months old, your baby will likely be more alert and attentive during the day, which means they may end up sleeping a little longer at night. At this point, you may even choose to skip one nighttime feeding.
From 3 to 5 months old, your baby might be able to sleep for a stretch of about five to eight hours at night! This is a significant accomplishment, but it probably wonât be a nightly occurrence at first.
If by about 6 months old your baby still has trouble sleeping for longer lengths of time at night, you might consider shortening their afternoon nap. If this solution doesnât help, talk to your childâs healthcare provider to get some personalized guidance.
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Sleep During Their Nap
Yes, their naps are a great time to get something done, but if you need rest, Dr. Sears encourages you to take that time to sleep, and to nap while the baby is napping. Instead of feeling like you have to clean the house or make a home-cooked meal, allow yourself to take a nap . This is the time to cut yourself some slack and get into survival mode, says Dr. Karp. The dishes can wait, the toddler toys on the floor can wait, writing thank you cards can wait your mental and physical health cannot.
Let Your Baby Cry It Out
One crying-it-out type of sleep training is the well-known Ferber Method, also known as “Progressive Watching” or “Graduated Extinction.” The goal is to teach your baby how to sleep on their own and put themselves back to sleep if they wake up during the night. Richard Ferber, MD, director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Children’s Hospital Boston, developed this method. He advises parents not to start this training until their baby is at least 5 or 6 months old. Hereâs an overview of how itâs done:
- Put your baby in their crib — drowsy, but awake. Once you’ve finished their bedtime routine, leave the room.
- If your baby cries, wait a few minutes before you check on them. The amount of time you wait depends on you and your baby. You might start waiting somewhere between 1 and 5 minutes.
- When you re-enter your babyâs room, try to console them. But do not pick them up and do not stay for more than 2 or 3 minutes, even if they are still crying when you leave. Seeing your face will be enough to assure your baby that you are close by so they can eventually fall asleep on their own.
- If they continue crying, gradually increase the amount of time you wait before going in to check on them again. For instance, if you wait 3 minutes the first time, wait 5 minutes the second time, and 10 minutes each time after that.
- The next night, wait 5 minutes the first time, 10 minutes the second time, and 12 minutes each time after that.
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They Need A Better Nap Routine
The issue: If your baby isnt sleeping at night, take a look at their daytime sleep, says Dr. Sears. If they dont have a consistent nap schedule and theyre sleeping too much, they may not be tired enough to sleep through the night. On the contrary, if theyre not sleeping enough during the day, they may be overtired at night.
The solution: Focus on establishing a consistent naptime routine. The pre-nap routine should be consistent and predictable, so your baby knows it is time to take a nap, says Dr. Adams. She recommends a short routine such as rocking, reading a book and putting on a white noise machine.
What Else Should I Know
Being small or large at birth doesn’t mean a baby will be small or large later in childhood or as an adult. Plenty of tall teens began life as small babies, and the biggest baby in the family can grow up to be a petite adult.
By the time they’re adults, kids tend to resemble their parents in size. Genetics, as well as good nutrition and your attention, will play a large part in how your baby grows in the years to come.
Whether your baby starts out large, small, or average, in the next few months you can expect your little one to keep growing fast.
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How Do You Get Your Baby To Sleep Through The Night
Sleeping through the night is a milestone that your child will eventually reach. It takes time and patience on your part, along with maintaining the kind of environment that encourages your little one to sleep for longer blocks of time during the night.
Though you may be feeling a little frazzled and sleep-deprived at the moment, this period of sleepless nights will eventually pass. Hang in there!
How we wrote this article The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the National Health Service . You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.
Where Should My Baby Sleep
For the first 6 months your baby should be in the same room as you when they’re asleep, both day and night. This can reduce the risk of SIDS .
Particularly in the early weeks, you may find your baby only falls asleep in your or your partner’s arms, or when you’re standing by the cot.
You can start getting your baby used to going to sleep without you comforting them by putting them down before they fall asleep or when they’ve just finished a feed. It may be easier to do this once your baby starts to stay alert more frequently or for longer.
If you use a baby sling to carry your baby, make sure you use it safely. The Lullaby Trust has information about swaddling your baby and using slings safely.
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Consider Moving Baby Farther Away From You
The AAP recommends that babies room-share with their parents until theyre at least 6 months old. But if your baby is sleeping in your room, or his bassinet or crib is very close to your bed, moving him farther away might work better for some families.
It could be that the very proximity to you is contributing to more overnight wake-ups. Talk to your pediatrician for help with the transition.
Baby Sleep Schedule: 4 To 8 Months
When your baby passes the four-month mark, theyve finished what I call the fourth trimester. Many of your new-parent friends may still be desperate from exhaustion. So, if your little one is a great sleeper, dont brag too much! All babies are different.
Total Sleep for 4- to 8-Month-Olds: Your growing baby often clocks 12 to 14 hours of sleep a day.
Wake Time for 4- to 8-Month-Olds: The day starts between 6 and 8am for babies between 4- and 8-months old, depending on your baby, of course!
Napping for 4- to 8-Month-Olds: Babies this age may still be eking out three naps a day or they may have settled into a comfortable two-nap schedule, totaling three to five hours of sleep a day.
Bedtime for 4- to 8-Month-Olds: Night-night often starts around 7 to 9pm.
Nighttime Sleep for 4- to 8-Month-Olds: Your baby may have unbroken sleep of six to 10 hours, which most anyone would call sleeping through the night!
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What Sleeping Through The Night Entails
While parents may wish that babies sleeping through the night meant a solid 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep so that they can catch up on their sleep as well, that is far from what it means. For most babies, a half dozen hours of sleep at night are considered sleeping through the night.
According to Healthline, sleeping through the night can mean anything from six to nine hours of solid sleep for babies. They do not wake up hungry or need assistance with being soothed back to sleep. Instead, the babies transition in and out of their sleep cycles with ease and get both themselves and their parents a good chunk of consecutive sleep.
How To Help Your Baby Sleep Through The Night
If you believe your baby is ready to sleep through the night, but is still waking several times per night, then it might be time to consider sleep training.
While its true that some babies will eventually sleep through the night on their own, many babies need help learning how. You can help your baby or toddler sleep through the night by weaning him away from his sleep associations and helping him learn to fall asleep without help from you. Then, you will be on your way to sleep-filled nights!
The thing is, this process is tough for some babies and so, by extension, its tough for their moms and dads, too! If you have tried sleep coaching on your own, but with no luck, why not try a personalized consultation from The Baby Sleep Site®? Your consultation will allow you to work one-on-one with an expert sleep consultant. Your consultant will craft a Personalized Sleep Plan® just for your family, walk you through each step of implementing the plan at home, and then will support you throughout the process.
Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. Youll be able to log in and get started right away no waiting!
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