So if you have been following my blog, you know that my first baby was a horrible sleeper, totally my fault! I was a new mom and had no idea what I was doing. I had no clue that little things like nursing or rocking my baby to sleep would be the reason she would be up all hours of the night. Babies should really come with manuals! I have done tons of research and now I know, and I vow never to make the same mistakes again.
So when I had my second baby, I did things right. She started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks...Yea I know that's nuts! I never thought it would be possible. People say things like, "you're lucky, you have an easy baby". Little do they know, it has NOTHING to do with luck. The reason your baby wakes up multiple times at night has a lot to do with how you put that baby to sleep (unless of course they are teething, sick or going through a growth spurt). So I am about to reveal to you my secrets of how I got my baby to sleep through the night.
This is the easy part. Start with a solid, and consistent bedtime routine, at a descent hour (no later than 9pm). This will help teach your baby predictability. The more they know what's coming, the more likely they are to accept it. You can start by something simple like a bath and reading a book. It doesn't have to be anything complex. As long as it is the same routine, every night, at the same time. Eventually your baby will get use to this routine and know it's time to go to bed and not time to play.
Create a good sleeping environment
This may include things such as: room darkening shades, swaddling if your baby is young, comfortable jammies, proper room temperature. Anything you can do to make them as comfortable as can be, to promote a restful nights sleep. Take a look at my recommended sleep items to help you get started. Teach your baby to self settle
Take my advice, unless you want to be up all night replacing that pacifier, comfort nursing, or rocking your baby back to sleep, allow your baby to self settle and fall asleep on his or her own. It's the best thing you can do for your baby's sleep. And imagine how many extra Zzzz's you can catch, if you don't have to keep running back in the room to put your baby back to sleep. I wrote a whole separate article about this topic, read more here .
Make sure your baby is not hungry.
So here's the thing with this. A baby can usually sleep through the night, when she can take in enough calories during the day so that she doesn't need to wake at night to eat. If your baby's stomach is not yet mature enough to do this, you can fill her up all you want, and she still won't sleep through the night. A newborn's stomach is small and needs to grow enough to be able to hold a substantial amount to make it through the night. With that being said, you want to make sure you are always giving your baby enough breastmilk or formula, so when that developmental milestone happens, she will be able to sleep through the night, and not wake hungry a few hours later. We don't really know exactly when that happens, so it is hard to gauge. Experts say between 4-6 months, but it can vary greatly. So we don't want to overlook this opportunity. A perfect example is my daughter, who was sleeping sleeping 5 hours at night, but would sleep longer stretches (7-8 hours) during the day. I knew she was capable of going that long without needing a feed. So why not at night? I thought. I figured out that by the time we reached bedtime, she had exhausted my supply, she was breast-fed and I didn't have what she needed to make it through the night. This was a simple fix. I pumped an extra 2 ounces in the morning and added it to the nighttime feed and voila! She started sleeping 8hrs through the night that same night.
Another scenario is that if your baby has many bad sleep habits and sleep associations, you can also fill her up all you want, and she won't sleep through the night. My first baby had so many sleep associations, I tried everything to get her to sleep through. I gave her more breastmilk, I put cereal in her bottle (horrible, I know), I tried increasing solids when she reached that age, and nothing worked! She just had to learn the skills to fall asleep on her own to be able to sleep through the night. Babies have many sleep-wake cycles and if they don't know how to put themselves back to sleep after a cycle, they are going to need you to do it. Whether by rocking, nursing, or any other sleep association. So make sure you allow your baby to self settle, so that when her stomach reaches maturity, she can sleep through the night without needing your help to put her back to sleep.
Don't put off fixing bad habits
If you have been putting off making any changes in your baby's sleep routine, for fear of what you might have to deal with, then remember that it's only going get harder as your baby gets older. Also, keep in mind that a tired baby is a cranky baby, so you are not doing your baby a favor by putting things off. It makes daily tasks for them harder. It makes skills like rolling, crawling, standing alot harder to accomplish. Can you imagine putting a baby that is not well rested down on a mat to do tummy time...yeah right! Babies need to get their daily sleep requirements in, otherwise reaching these developmental milestones is going to be extremely difficult for them. Not to mention what the fragmented sleep does to you as a parent. Your nerves get frayed, you're on edge, you're anxious about what the next night is going to be like. Trust me, I know! I have been through months of exhaustion and lack of sleep. When I finally found out why my baby wasn't sleeping, I was astonished to find out that for the most part it was my fault. I quickly learned how to fix things, and now I have two wonderful sleepers. I hope that my tips can help some of you. I have started this site for that reason. Please read through my articles. I hope that my extensive research brings you a wealth of information. I have helped many families over the years, and have talked to many parents that were struggling with the same problems as me. Because I could relate, I poured my heart into these "sessions". As you could imagine, the demand for my assistance got really high. So I recently started consultation packages so that I can work with families one on one. If you need help beyond the articles that I have written, please take a look at my Consultation Packages
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