Baby Sleep Basic

HOME > PARENTING TIPS > BABY SLEEP BASIC
/

How can I get my baby to sleep through the night?

You're not alone. About a quarter of children fewer than five have sleep problems. Refusing to go to bed or waking in the night are both common, and the two often go together. If your baby is constantly waking in the night, your own sleep patterns will be disturbed. Feeling sapped of energy and constantly tired as a result may make it hard to function, as well as make you more prone to depression.

Here are some tips on how we can better understand and help our little one sleep better.

 

Understand Your Baby's Sleep Needs

During the first 2 months, your new-born’s need to eat overrules her need to sleep. She may feed almost every 2 hours if you're breastfeeding, and possibly a little less often if you bottle-feed. Your baby may sleep from 10 to 18 hours a day, sometimes for 3 to 4 hours at a time. But babies don’t know the difference between day and night. So they sleep with no regard for what time it is. That means your baby’s wide-awake time may be from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. By 3 to 6 months, many babies are able to sleep for a stretch of 6 hours. But just as you think your baby is getting into a nice routine -- usually between 6 and 9 months -- normal developmental stages can throw things off. For instance, when your baby begins to associate bedtime with being left alone, she may start crying just to keep you around.

 

Establish a Bedtime Routine

A study of 405 mothers -- with infants between 7 months and 36 months old -- showed that babies who followed a nightly bedtime routine went to sleep easier, slept better, and cried out in the middle of the night less often.

Some parents start their baby's bedtime routine as early as 6 to 8 weeks old. Your baby's routine can be any combination of regular bedtime activities. The keys to success:

  • Play active games during the day and quiet games in the evening. This keeps your baby from getting too excited right before bedtime.
  • Keep activities the same and in the same order, night after night.
  • Make every activity calm and peaceful, especially toward the end of the routine.
  • Save your baby's favorite activity for last, and do it in her bedroom. This will help her look forward to bedtime and associate her sleep space with things she likes to do.
  • Make night time conditions in your baby's bedroom consistent. If she wakes up in the middle of the night, the sounds and lights in the room should be the same as when she fell asleep.

 

Put Your Sleepy Baby to Bed

Starting when your baby is 6 to 12 weeks old, soothe her until she is drowsy. When she’s on the verge of sleep, put her down and let her drift off on her own. Don't wait until she’s fully asleep.

This routine will teach your baby to soothe herself to sleep, and you won't need to rock or cuddle her to sleep every time she wakes up during the night.

 

Let Your Baby Cry it Out -- Should You or Shouldn’t You?

The decision is yours, of course. But if it's hard for you stay away from your baby when she cries, going with this method may not be the best choice. Studies shows that, even if parents make it through the first night or two, they usually find that enforcing sleep this way is too stressful. Many parents were not able to ignore their babies long enough or consistently enough for them to stop crying and eventually fall asleep on their own.

 

Check In, Then Leave

One crying-it-out type of sleep training is the well-known, yet controversial, Ferber Method, also known as "Progressive watching" or "Graduated Extinction". The goal is to teach your baby how to sleep on her own and put herself back to sleep if she wakes 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 baby is at least 5 or 6 months old. Here’s an overview of how it’s done:

  • Put your baby in her crib -- drowsy, but awake. Once you've finished her bedtime routine, leave the room.
  • If your baby cries, wait a few minutes before you check on her. 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 baby’s room, try to console her. But do not pick her up and do not stay for more than 2 or 3 minutes, even if she's still crying when you leave. Seeing your face will be enough to assure your baby that you are close by so she can eventually fall asleep on her own.
  • If she continues crying, gradually increase the amount of time you wait before going in to check on her 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.

Adopting this method might be difficult during the first few nights. But you’ll likely see improvement in your baby's sleep pattern by day 3 or 4. Most parents see an improvement within a week.

Reference:
http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-topics/children-and-sleep
http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/sleep-naps-12/nighttime?page=2
http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a123/how-can-i-get-my-baby-to-sleep-through-the-night#ixzz2cmEkaFy2
http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a123/how-can-i-get-my-baby-to-sleep-through-the-night#ixzz2cmFj0BcL

  • Join

    Join
  • Star Baby 2016

    Star Baby 2016
  • Mom Card

    Mom CardMom Card