Surviving Parenthood

How to get your baby to sleep through the night?

by Mother of two

“How to get your baby to sleep through the night?”  is the million dollar question for all struggling parents trying to get a decent night sleep.  There are countless books and articles published on the subject promising you results, but I personally do not believe that there is a perfect solution.  Your results will always vary from baby to baby and from parent to parent.  Ultimately as a parent you will try anything that will work for your baby, so with that in mind here are some tips that I hope you will find useful.

  1. Establishing a Bedtime Routine – Regardless of what sleeping methods you are contemplating,  a bedtime routine is helpful.  It helps encourage your baby to recognize that bedtime is approaching.  Our bedtime routine includes, a short book, a diaper change, a change into pajamas, the dimming of lights, and soft classical music.  Whatever you choose for your sleep routine, just know that consistency and repetition will be the key to establishing your routine.
  2. Recognizing Sleep Patterns – Make sure you notice your baby’s sleeping pattern.  There should be one stretch where he/she sleeps longer than usual.  If this is during the day, I would try to shift it gradually until this long stretch is firmly moved to nighttime hours.  You do this by keeping your baby awake longer before his naps to make the adjustments.  This is easier said than done, this may take a few days so be patient.
  3. Feeding – Try to see if your baby will feed more right before bedtime.  1-2 ounces might make a difference, but don’t force your baby.  When he or she is able to take baby cereal, try to add some into the baby formula.  The solid food will keep your baby full and asleep for longer stretches of the night.
  4. Baby Swing – Might help your baby sleep longer at night.  I mainly only use it at night time to maximize sleeping time (for baby & Mommy).  But do not use it all the time, or your baby will get so used (mostly addicted) to it that he will only sleep while being swung.
  5. Pacifier – Some babies won’t take a pacifier and others will.  Regardless of how you feel, pacifiers can help your baby sleep longer.  We don’t judge!
  6. Soothing Bath –A warm soothing bath helps to directly calm and relax your baby. This is a great addition to your bedtime routine.
  7. Swaddling – Newborns especially like a tight swaddle to mimic their time in the womb.  This also helps keep their hands from swatting their faces and waking themselves up.  The right swaddling method may take some practice to master.  I personally prefer larger blankets to make a tight wrap around my newborn.
  8. Be Realistic – Your few weeks old baby will not sleep through the night.  Some will not completely sleep through the night until he/she is over a year old.  Be grateful if your baby wakes up to feed and goes right back to sleep afterwards.

Don’t ever feel like a failure!  Even if you tried everything and feel like nothing has worked.  It is not you or your baby’s fault.  With Little Lum, I tried to follow a rigorous routine and it backfired on me.  We had to take him for long drives at night to get him to sleep.  And he didn’t sleep through the night without waking up for milk until he was past one year old.

With Little Wing, he was much easier.  He was able to sleep through the night without any problems.  We still read a book, dim the lights, and turn on soft classical music for him.  Around 10-11 months he even stopped waking up to drink milk.  What a sweetheart!

Each kid is different.  Don’t be so hard on yourself or your baby.  Be flexible and just go with the flow.  (Easier said than done, especially when you have to wake up a few times a night).  Good Luck!