QuestionsCategory: ParentingDo you have any tips to encourage a baby to sleep through the night?
SarahJ asked 6 years ago

Do you have any tips to encourage a baby to sleep through the night?

1 Answers
Jill Wheatcroft Staff answered 6 years ago

Thank you for your question.

All babies wake up in the night and all babies are different, so it’s often a question of trying different ideas until you find something that suits your baby. I am not sure of the age of your baby, but if under 3 months you can gently encourage good sleeping habits. From early on encouraging babies to fall asleep on their own rather then when being held is the ideal. When they have finished a feed talk to your baby for a little then put your baby down (if possible when still awake but this will not happen each time) and then sit beside your baby talking in a soothing voice for a few minutes, then when still awake but happy, move away. This helps children learn they can fall asleep on their own.

When trying to get children to sleep through, the first step is to sort out physical needs so do make sure your baby is warm enough and obviously not hungry or wet. You may find you are feeding every few hours in the evening as they top up for the night, which is entirely normal (under 6 months). Try and get into a routine of getting ready for bed and keep to the same bed time. Some parents like to bath in the evening and if you baby finds this relaxing then it can be a good step. After the bath give the last feed then put them down and read the baby a story then say good night. After 6 months it can be helpful for your baby to be in a separate room if possible, a baby monitor may be needed unless you are close by. At night make the room is as dark as possible. During the day if your baby is having a nap have the curtains open, we want babies to understand the difference between day and night. You can use a night light to turn on to allow you not to trip in the bedroom when you go in for a night feed. Five to six hours is considered sleeping through the night for a baby. Once you have begun weaning you can try giving some baby rice as part of the last feed it may help you baby to sleep longer.

Baby mobiles which play soothing music for a while can also be useful, but again it does depend on your baby. Some background noises in the house can be good so they know someone else is around and frankly you do not want to create an environment where you have to tip toe around your own home in silence.  Try not to rush in at the first noise your baby makes (which is easy in a separate room) but wait to see if they will settle or become fully awake. If they are fully awake they are more likely to take a bigger feed and less likely to wake a few hours later. I’ll come back later to the issue of babies left to cry.  Every baby is very different and what works for one may not work for another. The other frustrating part is you often feel you have just got somewhere and the pattern is settlling down when what appears like suddenly the babies pattern changes. If trying something new or changing a bed time you need to do this for 1-2 weeks before seeing if it is working. If you baby is still waking every few hours at 9 months to a year and they are eating well during the day and growing normally then it may be time to get tough and leave them to cry for a little while longer than you have before. You must make sure all their basic needs are sorted and have decided the reason they are waking is habit rather then fear or being very hungry and if unwell do not try this process. If you are unsure do seek advice.

When they wake up go in tp let them know you are there but do not pick them up, remind them it’s sleep time and go out again. After 5 minutes go back in and check they are ok, again let them know you are there but it’s time to be asleep. Next time leave it 10 minutes then 15 minutes. Keep checking on them every 15 minutes until they fall asleep. This can be really hard to do and emotionally draining, but if you do this every night for a week it will break the habit the baby has developed. Sorry for repeating this but altering a slleep pattern can only take place if you are absolutely clear all the babies needs are met.  I hope some of these tips help.

Wishing you some good night sleeps. I do offer one-to-one consultations and we do have Sleeping Thru the Night small group sessions that we can deliver in a class room or setting of your choice.

Best wishes

Jill Wheatcroft
Riverside Cares

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