Suggestions for Helping Baby Sleep through the Night

Lack of sleep can be one of the hardest aspects related to new parenthood. I have great sympathy for those new parents dealing with lack of sleep because my first daughter did not sleep through the night until she was over a year old. With my second daughter came more knowledge and experience and as a result my husband and I did things a little different. Much to our surprise, Baby D began sleeping through the night at about 2 months of age! Every baby is different and will be ready to sleep through the night when he or she is ready but I wanted to offer some simple suggestions on what we did to encourage our little one.

*Before having our daughter, my husband and I discussed our expectations with one another regarding how we would handle nights. This is very important because both parents should be on the same page. Additionally, you don’t want your first discussion to be with a fussy newborn in the middle of the night. Also if you are breastfeeding, do not feel you have to do everything at night. My husband helped with tasks such as burping after feedings and changing her diaper.

*Place all necessities (diapers, wipes, blankets) within close reach so you do not have to fumble around, making noise while looking for things in the middle of the night.

*Set a routine! The first week home with baby is always crazy but after that try to begin a night-time routine. This also includes having baby on a regular feeding schedule throughout the day. My daughter would feed about every 2 hours until about 9 pm and then we would change her diaper, place her pajamas on and swaddle her. This routine was something she became very accustomed to and helped her settle down.

*Keep the lights off. It is hard for anyone to fall back asleep once the lights have been turned on for a little while. If possible keep all lights off in the room so your baby clearly knows it is night-time. We would turn a hall light on outside our room for light to change diapers only.

*Try not to talk to your partner or play with baby. Conversation with your partner and play-time with baby are both things that can confuse baby into thinking it is time to be awake. It may also put her into a pattern of wanting to play with each feeding throughout the night.

*Place baby back in the same place as where you picked her up from. For example, if baby began crying when she was in her crib, after she has settled or has finished feeding place her back in her crib to sleep.

*Interact and play with baby as much as you can during the day so that she begins to associate daytime with fun and play and night with sleep.

*Don’t minimize your daily noises for baby. Go about your normal routine and keep you house bright and open.

*If all else fails, rock or sway with baby, place her in a soothing bouncer chair or swing to help her get through fussy night periods.
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