“Although it may seem impossible, there are many ways to help your baby get a good night’s sleep and help you get the overnight sleep you need,” says Stacey Elkhatib Smidt, M.D., MSTR, pediatric sleep neurologist.
“Just keep in mind that the age and size of your baby will determine whether sleeping through the night is possible – babies younger than three months and under 12 pounds will need to feed through the night. Always talk to your pediatrician about any concerns for your child’s weight gain or feeding habits,” Dr. Smidt says.
Dr. Smidt shares 10 tips to help your baby sleep through the night:
Having a consistent nighttime routine can help your baby to sleep better and longer, with less frequent wake-ups throughout the night.
A regular bedtime routine can consist of numerous activities to help soothe your baby and get them ready to sleep:
Going to sleep at around the same time every night can help your baby learn when to slow down and get ready to go to bed.
Self-soothing can help your baby to learn to sleep comfortably on their own. If they are constantly waking up during the night or crying, it is likely because they do not know how to soothe themselves.
Two goals for your baby to learn in order to improve their sleep are:
Babies often wake up for no reason on their own throughout the night, so learning to distinguish between them needing something or just simply waking up can help them to learn to sleep overnight comfortably.
Your baby may wake up and notice that things are not the same as they were when they fell asleep in your arms, causing them to feel upset or confused.
If your baby wakes up and is fussy in the middle of the night, they might just need some comforting. Before reaching for the bottle or beginning to breastfeed, try other methods of soothing:
Your baby might just need something to give them the comfort they need to fall back asleep. If they are still uneasy after trying to soothe them, then it might be time to try feeding them.
A common misconception for parents is that their baby will sleep better after eating solid foods because they will feel more full and satisfied. However, if you give your baby solid foods too soon, stomach issues, allergies or other negative reactions might cause your baby to wake up more through the night.
Talk to your health care provider to determine the best age for you to start incorporating solid foods into your baby’s diet.
Your baby should sleep in their own crib or bassinet, but having them sleep in your room with you can be helpful in creating a comfortable sleep environment for them to sleep through the night.
Avoid putting your baby in your bed to sleep next to you, there are many risks associated with this that could put your baby at harm
Some babies can fall asleep easier when swaddled, or wrapped in a blanket or swaddling-specific sleep sack.
Feed your baby right before you plan to go to sleep so that they are full and comfortable enough to fall asleep when you are. Feed them before they have fallen asleep then move them to their crib or bassinet so they do not associate feeding with being able to fall asleep.
Your baby wants to be calm and relaxed when they are sleeping, just like you.
It is normal for babies to wake up throughout the night. If you feel that something may be wrong or are worried about the frequency of your baby’s wake-ups, talk to your health care provider about why they might be waking up so often.
These methods can help to teach your baby to sleep through the night, but there may be times when they wake up for other reasons. It is important to get to know your baby’s cries and different ways of communicating their needs and wants with you.
The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.
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