Baby up all night? Looking to find ways to help your baby sleep through the night? First things first, this article should be started with a disclaimer, babies are not meant to sleep through the night. Certainly not during the newborn stage or even for the first 6-12 months. Newborn babies need feeding every few hours, day or night so you can expect to be woken up a lot in those early days.
That said as the months go by and babies take on bigger feeds or solid foods and become more alert during daylight hours some type of the resemblance of a nighttime routine and sleep does start to form. Some people are lucky and their baby starts sleeping through the night from three months old, others it may take a little longer.
There are lots of factors at work that could be influencing your baby’s sleep pattern, remember they are all different. If however those long sleepless nights are starting to take their toll and you are looking for ways to help encourage your baby to sleep through the night consider these tips.
Get the Environment Right for Sleep
Have your baby’s bed and room perfectly set up for sleep, whether they have their own bedroom or are sharing yours. Ensure their bed is comfortable and practical, babies don’t need pillows or lots of soft toys in their bed. A comfortable crib, baby fitted sheets, sleepsuits and sleeping bags are all your baby needs. The room should also be between 68-72 degrees for optimum sleeping conditions and consider low-level lighting to keep the atmosphere calm and relaxed.
Have a Bedtime Routine
Just like adults babies will benefit from having a regular routine at bedtime. One that helps them associate that time of day with going to sleep. It could be a calming bath at night, cuddles, calming music, or baby massage. Try and stick to this routine every night to promote the habit of sleep. It is also a good idea that part of your bedtime routine should be to put your baby down in their crib drowsy but not asleep.
This can help your baby associate their crib with going to sleep and encourage them to do so without being cuddled to sleep. Remember it may take them a few minutes to fuss and relax, they are unlikely to fall asleep instantly.
When Your Baby Wakes in the Night
If your baby wakes during the night try to adopt behaviors that reinforce the fact it is still nighttime. Carry out night feeds and nappy changing in dim lighting, use soft voices and try and keep the atmosphere serene and relaxed. Turning on the telly or illuminating the room with bright lights may give off the wrong signals to your baby.
Consider a Pacifier
Many new mums do not wish to use a pacifier and every mum is entitled to their opinion and to make their choices. However, if you are at your wits end with a baby that cannot settle you may wish to consider giving them a pacifier to help them settle and get off to sleep.
As the saying goes, whatever gets you through the day – or night!