What’s Stopping My Baby From Sleeping Through The Night
Youve read every book on sleep, followed everyones advice and your baby is still up at 3 am. What gives?
Many babies wake up because they are picked up frequently throughout the night, says Lewis. I tell parents that it’s ok to make contact with the baby, but ensure the contact is non-stimulating, such as a gentle hand on the belly.
Lewis also says that giving the baby enough to eat before bedtime can reduce nighttime awakenings.
I never advocate for a parent to withhold feeding a hungry baby at night. If the baby is hungry, feed her, says Lewis. “Do a short feeding, put the baby back to sleep and make sure any contact you make is brief and boring.”
Dont Let Your Newborn Sleep In The Car Seat
This is a contentious one, because weve all been there: Your baby conks out in the car seat while youre driving home or running errands, and the beauty of the bucket seat is that you can pop it out and transfer your sleeping infant inside for the remainder of her nap. But according to the AAP, allowing an infant to sleep in a bucket car seat thats been placed on the floor or clicked into a stroller is a safety hazard, as the babys head can fall forward and cause something called positional asphyxiation. Due to the angle of the seat design, its much safer to let your newborn nap in the car seat while its attached to the base and installed in the car. Letting your baby sleep in a car seat overnight when youre not awake enough to check on her is a serious baby sleep mistake. In fact, experts actually recommend limiting the time your baby spends in a car seat, bouncer or swing to 30 minutes, mostly for developmental reasons and the risk of developing positional plagiocephaly . However, wed like to acknowledge that this 30-minute maximum is downright impossible on road trips, for parents who have long work or daycare commutes, or when the swing is truly the only place you can get your infant to nap. Wed love to see some more research on this recommendation.
Do Not Let Your Baby Sleep Longer Than 2 Hours At A Time From 7 Am To 7 Pm
This has got to be the single most effective thing you can do encourage your newborn to have longer stretches of sleep at night. Granted, this will literally be impossible to accomplish for most babies before 4 to 6 weeks. When those new newborns want to sleep, try as you might, they will not wake up. But, as soon as you see that youre able to wake them up a bit, do so! Take off their clothes, expose them to cooler air, take them outside/expose them to sunlight, put them in a baby tub filled with lukewarm water Simply put, do anything you can to wake them up if theyve been asleep for longer than 2 hours.
Trust me on this one.
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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.
What Sleeping Through The Night Means
As much as they long for it to happen, many parents aren’t even sure what it means for a baby to sleep through the night. According to sleep experts, sleeping through the night means different things depending on your baby’s age. “Sleeping through the night” for a 3-month-old is different from that of a 10-month-old.
Generally speaking, your baby will start sleeping through the night when the natural wake-sleep cycle begins to stabilize. Instead of waking every two to four hours at night to eat, your baby may sleep for five hours at night, wake to eat, and then sleep another two or three hours. Additionally, time spent awake during the day may grow longer.
Sleep experts find that by 6 months of age, consolidated nighttime sleep patterns, which include at least six consecutive hours, are seen in over half of the infant population in studies. And by 9 to 12 months of age, 72% of infants sleep at least six consolidated hours at night.
Keep in mind that to be physiologically able to sleep for longer durations, your baby needs an ability to store enough calories to fuel nighttime growth processes.
This increased calorie consumption occurs when your baby can not only handle larger feedings but also store fat and carbohydrates. But resist the urge to rush this process and overfeed your baby. If your baby is uncomfortable or experiences reflux, this will interfere with sleep, too.
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How Much Sleep A Newborn Baby Needs
Your baby will need about 9 to 18 hours of sleep until they are 3 months old. The average they will sleep is about 14.5 hours.
Your baby is unique and may sleep differently to other babies. Some babies sleep for long periods, others for short bursts. They will sleep during the day and night. They might sleep for anything between a few minutes to a few hours at a time.
Newborn babies dont know the difference between day and night. Their sleep is more likely controlled by their tummies.
General Sleep Tips And Helpful Information To Remember
Newborn sleep is a rollercoaster sometimes its okay to feel like what worked last week doesnt work again this week. Thatll happen as their sleep is developing a lot in the first few months!
The most important thing is to try to create some consistent routines around sleep, getting in good day time naps however you can, and take some shifts with a partner if thats an option .
Youll be through the newborn fog in no time. If youre still struggling with sleep, you can always find a resource or someone to help you get through it!
Ashley Olson is a certified pediatric sleep consultant, owner of Heaven Sent Sleep, and passionate about helping new parents, experienced parents, desperate and sleep deprived parents form healthy sleep habits for their children.
She has over 3 years of experience in working with families and has completed over 150 hours of coursework plus continuing education related to infant and toddler sleep. The focus of her work is on fostering a routine that grows your bond with your child while improving their sleep habits. She specializes in custom sleep plans and one on one support in changing sleep practices!
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Learn More: Sleep Training
Use these tips if youre having trouble getting baby to fall asleep. And remember, the Zen Swaddle and Zen Sack are effective tools for helping babies sleep better and longer and they could be the key to teaching your little one to self-soothe!
How To Take Care Of Yourself When Baby Wont Sleep
There is nothing like the exhaustion new parents experience. Youre desperate for sleep. Its hard! But this too shall pass. Right now you may be asking yourself when do babies sleep through the night, but someday your teenager will be glued to his/her bed and youll long for the good old days. ?
In the meantime, if youre dealing with exhaustion, put these ideas into action, and hopefully youll catch a few more ?:
- Nap when the baby naps .
- Consider hiring a postpartum doula.
- Establish a shift schedule with your partner during the night.
- Eat healthy and stay hydrated.
- Exerciseeven simple walks with your baby can infuse you with fresh air and a boost in your heart rate
- Practice meditation or calming yoga to keep your stress levels low.
- Remove the temptation of technology from your bedroom so you arent distracted when you have an opportunity to sleep.
- Learn about your own sleep cycle so you can maximize the sleep you do get.
- Embrace self-care by doing your favorite activities or scheduling outings with friends.
- Practice safe co-sleeping. Some moms get more sleep this way others feel they get less. Try it out and see if it works for you.
- Try nursing on your side.
- Ask for help. It takes a Village to raise and child and we all need help. Find a sitter, friend or family. member to relieve you from time to time so you can SLEEP.
And perhaps most of all, dont stress! Easier said than done, I know. Babies arent easy. As they struggle to adjust, you will too. And thats okay.
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References: What Scientific Studies Say About Newborn Sleep
Anders TF. 1979. Night-waking in infants during the first year of life. Pediatrics 63: 860-864.
Bennett C, Underdown A, and Barlow J. 2013. Massage for promoting mental and physical health in typically developing infants under the age of six months. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Apr 30 4:CD005038. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD005038.pub3.
Cheruku SR, Montgomery-Downs HE, Farkas SL, Thoman EB, and Lammi-Keefe CJ. 2002. Higher maternal plasma docosahexaenoic acid during pregnancy is associated with more mature neonatal sleep-state patterning. Am J Clin Nutr 76:608-13.
Cubero J, Valero V, Sánchez J, Rivero M, Parvez H, Rodríguez AB, Barriga C. 2005. The circadian rhythm of tryptophan in breast milk affects the rhythms of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin and sleep in newborn. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 26:657-61.
Cubero J, Narciso D, Terrón P, Rial R, Esteban S, Rivero M, Parvez H, Rodríguez AB, Barriga C. 2007. Chrononutrition applied to formula milks to consolidate infants sleep/wake cycle. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 28:360-6.
Custodio RJ, Junior CE, Milani SL, Simões AL, de Castro M, Moreira AC. 2007. The emergence of the cortisol circadian rhythm in monozygotic and dizygotic twin infants: the twin-pair synchrony. Clin Endocrinol . 66:192-7.
Dement W and Vaughan C. 1999. The promise of sleep. New York: Random House.
Doan T, Gardiner A, Gay CL, Lee KA. 2007 Breast-feeding increases sleep duration of new parents. J Perinat Neonatal Nurs. 21:200-6.
Image credits for Newborn sleep patterns
What Does ‘sleeping Through’ Mean
We consider ‘sleeping through the night’ to mean a decent night’s sleep for mum and dad! So that means sleeping from about 10pm to 6am……..however you will have put your baby down to sleep at about 7pm and do a feed at 10pm before you go to bed.
Some books consider ‘sleeping through’ to mean 5 hours sleep – but that’s not a full night sleep for anyone!!!
Feed Your Baby Every 25 To 35 Hours During The Day
If possible, try to establish a cycle where your baby wakes up and eats immediately . Then baby would remain awake to complete the 60 minutes of wake time. Followed by sleep for some amount of time. Then, of course, waking and eating again. This is a great way to ensure your kiddo gets as many calories during the day as possible, and hopefully sleeps longer stretches at night.
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. Heres an overview of how its 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 babys 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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At Night: Newborn Sleep And Waking
In the first few months, newborns usually wake several times a night for feeds.
Between one and three months, your baby might start waking less often and have a longer period of sleep at night.
By the time your baby is around three months old, they might regularly be having a longer sleep at night for example, around 4-5 hours. But you can expect that your baby will still wake at least once each night.
If your baby is premature or low birth weight, your paediatrician or child and family health nurse might recommend that you let your baby sleep for only a certain amount of time at night before you wake them for a feed.
When Do Babies Sleep Through The Night And What Might Be Preventing It
The sleepless nights that come with having a baby are no joke. 2 AM feedings, 4 AM diaper changesits not easy. Now, after what feels like an eternity of sleepless nights, youre asking yourself when will my baby finally sleep through the night?
In this article, we will go over:
1. When babies are developmentally able to sleep through the night? 2. At what age can you typically expect babies to sleep through the night? 3. What might be keeping your baby from sleeping through the night?
Getting your baby to sleep through the night is a common challenge for parents. As Im sure youve already realized, your definition of sleeping through the night might not mean what it used to. Before baby, you considered sleeping through the night to be a full 8-hour snooze, whereas now you might be only getting a half hour to an hour of sleep at a time. At this stage, even getting a 4 to 5 hour stretch of sleep will feel like sleeping through the night. While the 8-hour stretch of sleep might not happen until closer to 6-9 months old for most!
The good news is your baby will sleep through the night! With a little bit of effort and a lot of patience, it will happen! And were here to guide you through it.
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