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


By Brooke Strickland

Sleep deprivation for new parents is a shocking introduction to parenthood.  Everyone talks about preparing for it, but there’s nothing really that can prepare you for the amount of sleep you’ll lose in those first few months of your newborn’s life.  While the moments with your new little one are precious and fly by quickly, they can also feel like they’re going on forever, because with sleep loss, everything seems worse.  And according to a recent survey from BabyCenter that asked 1,000 new moms what their number one complaint was, sleep deprivation and exhaustion are at the top. In fact, 29% of new mothers can’t remember the last time they slept a full 8 hours. [1] This is draining – no doubt!  Fatigue can certainly overrun everything going on in your life and can make you feel forgetful, cranky, and generally unhappy.  So, how do you get your baby to start sleeping through the night?

Sleep training techniques are discussed in great length among pediatricians and parents.  After all, after days, weeks, and months of losing sleep, you’re likely desperate to find something that helps your baby sleep for a long stretch of time.  Author of The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Happiest Toddler offers several tools for teaching your baby that bedtime is near.  We won’t go into all of them here, but there are a couple key tips that medical professionals and parents alike can agree on. We’ve included them here.

  • Routine:  Babies and toddlers love routine.  They thrive on it, really.  So finding a routine that works for you and your kids on a nightly basis is key.  Pick a bed time and stick to it.  About an hour before, dim the lights and have your kid participate in some activities or routines that help him or her wind down.  Read some books.  Take a warm, soothing bath.  Sing songs.  While you can’t really teach a newborn to sleep through the night until they’re at least 4 months old, there’s no harm in starting them on a nightly routine as early as a few weeks old.
  • White noise:  White noise is your baby’s friend.  Babies don’t always need a quiet room to sleep in. In fact, white noise is soothing to them, as it mimics sounds they heard while in the womb.  So look for noise that is low pitched and rumbly and see if it works in soothing them to sleep.

Most of all, take some moments to yourself as a parent.  Try to get a 10 minute nap in here, take a walk and get some fresh air when you’re feeling overwhelmed, and most of all, try to make the most out of the moments with your little blessing. 

 




[1] Karp, Dr. Harvey.  “Sleeping babies and kids make happy parents.”  June 9, 2012.  CNN.com. http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/09/sleeping-babies-and-kids-make-happy-parents/?hpt=he_bn6 Accessed June 28, 2012.

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