For some parents, their babies sleeping through the night is no novelty; they seem to have an angel for a baby! But for other parents, baby’s constant demands to be fed, changed, cuddled, comforted, soothed to sleep and a hundred others, seem to leave little time left over for something as mundane as sleep!
It is these other parents who would like to know how to get babies sleeping through the night so that they can enjoy some much needed uninterrupted shut eye as well. So here are some tips that can help you:
1. Keep your expectations realistic
Firstly understand that babies do get up in the night for various reasons and it is unreasonable to expect them to sleep through the night right away. If you have realistic expectations you are less likely to experience frustration and irritation at the night time interruptions.
2. Give your child the best chance at staying asleep
Setting nighttime routines can help in babies sleeping through the night. Try to set a bed time, then have a bed time routine: a longer than usual feed to keep baby satisfied for longer, changing into a fresh diaper getting into nighttime clothing (an all-in-one or romper is a good idea for the night), some quiet time, perhaps a lullaby or a reading/telling a story. All these will create sleep associations of baby and help him sleep and stay asleep.
3. Let your baby get used to some noise
If your baby is used to sleeping with some amount of normal noise around, she is less likely to be startled awake in the middle of the night too.
4. Dream feed your child
One of the recommended tips for babies sleeping through the night is to dream feed baby. When baby has been asleep for a couple of hours (say you put baby to sleep at 8) by the time you are about to hit the sack at about 10, offer baby a feed while he is still asleep. If he has a brief feed while still asleep, he is less likely to awaken.
5. Try co-sleeping
Babies can awaken simply due to the feeling of being alone. Try co-sleeping, where your baby constantly senses you next to her which will comfort her and prevent her from awakening. This will make nighttime feedings easier and fuss free too.
6. Keep it low key
Babies sleeping through the night can be interrupted by diaper changes and feeding sessions that have too much stimulation: light, noise and so on. If you offer a feed or change a diaper, keep the lights muted, keep conversation to a minimum and try not to make eye contact.
7. Try a security object
A cuddle toy, a blanket or any other soothing object being close to baby may act as a security blanket, preventing nighttime awakenings.
8. Try not reacting
Babies sleeping through the night can also be encouraged if you let them try to soothe themselves back to sleep. Next time baby seems to stir awake, see if baby is able to settle back without awakening fully.