When Will My Baby Sleep Through The Night
When will my baby sleep through the night? It’s a question that appears on most parents’ minds, no matter how many kids they have. The reason is simple: there just isn’t one single answer. Every baby is different even if they are siblings. This being so, should shed some light on the fact that we are creating these “sleeping problems” we so often talk about, out of the pressure we feel to fit everything into a mold.
When do babies sleep through the night?
Let me ask you a question: do you remember (prior to your babies) all those times when you slept through the night? All the way through, no waking up in the middle, no bathroom trips, no sips of water. I honestly cannot remember such a thing. Some people might be able to sleep that way, and they are a minority. Therefore, some babies can sleep through the night, but that doesn’t mean they are the norm.
Do yourself (and your family) a favor and relax your expectations. Follow your instincts and if your current sleep routine is not working, go ahead and try something new. But no matter what, remember that this is just a phase and soon it will become a different one.
My aunt [gave me the best advice]: Put her to sleep yourself every night. Sing to her and cradle her in your arms and sit by her side—every night. Because one day you won’t be able to. ~ Salma Hayek (Tweet this)
There are many sleeping techniques, and they all have many people in favor of them, and many others against them. You can look them over and see if there are any that resonate with you, but I recommend that you always follow your motherly instinct and not what anybody else tells you.
I personally go for what I find more natural: co-sleeping and following the baby’s rhythms. I don’t think that there is a need to sleep-train babies, but there are still certain things you can do to induce a more sleep-favorable environment.
Things that can help your baby sleep through the night
- Age and weight: With this one you are going to just have to wait it out. Most babies younger than 6 months and less than 11 pounds need the nutrients given by night feedings in order to be healthy. But some can usually start to sleep for 5-6 hours stretches, so there is hope. Just give it time and the sleep patterns will improve in your favor when they don’t need a middle-of-the-night refill.
- Mind the diapers: A wet diaper could make your baby uncomfortable and wake him up from a pleasant slumber. So put a fresh one right before going to bed, and if you still need to change a diaper in the middle of the night don’t turn the main room light on, try using a small lamp, or even the cell phone light.
- Relaxing bath: Warm water can help your baby relax his body and get a better night’s sleep. Some parents find it useful to make it part of a sleeping routine and use some sleep-inducing fragrances such as lavender to help cue the baby’s brain about it being time to sleep.
- Top them off: Making sure your baby goes to bed with a full belly will help him or her go for longer without waking up to request a feeding. So if possible, feed them right before they fall asleep. If you are bottle feeding, resist the urge to add rice cereal before your baby is 6 months. Despite popular belief, there is no research that supports that adding cereal really helps babies sleep longer and it could actually be a choking hazard because of the consistency.
- Don’t let them go past the tired stage: This one is a tricky one with some babies that show no signs of being sleepy until the very end. Just like an adult, if your baby gets overly tired he might have difficulties falling asleep. So it is important to wind them down; get in the room, turn the lights off, and start the process of calming down. You can read a story, sing lullabies, or listen to relaxing music. Look for any subtle signs of sleepiness and do not wait until they are exhausted to take action.
- Give them enough exercise during the day: Babies are going through a lot of changes, not only cognitively but also physically and they are wired to practice their new skills in order to dominate them. That is why sometimes babies seem to get a second wind right in the middle of the night and want to go crawling or walking all around the house. So make sure they get enough exercise during the day for a more peaceful night.
Yes, we as parents of young children are eager to go back to our own routine, where we mostly decide when to sleep and when to wake. Walking around all day dragging our feet and not being able to think straight is very far from the ideal situation, and therefore when we hear that our friend’s 5-month-old is sleeping the glorious amount of 8 hours straight we scream a little in our heads “How is that even possible!? When will MY baby sleep through the night!? I must be doing something wrong!!!”, and then to the already-stressful chore of being a parent, we now add the stress of thinking we are failing at it.
Without enough sleep we all become tall two-year-olds. ~ Yoyo Jensen (Tweet this)
So when you are feeling overwhelmed with the task, remember that as long as you are thinking about your kid’s wellbeing, then you are doing a good job. Nobody has all the answers, even the experts don’t agree on any one single technique being the best for, well . . . anything! So keep on trying your best. Keep reading and educating yourself about all the new studies and information we now have that our parents did not. Take what feels right to you, go with what works best for your family, and ignore the rest.
There is no way to be a perfect mother. And a million ways to be a good one. ~ Jill Churchill (Tweet this)