One of the biggest problems new parents have to contend with is getting their baby to sleep at night. Assuming your child isn’t suffering from night terrors or is constantly crying for some other reason, most babies cannot sleep for six to eight hours straight until they hit the three-month mark.
A baby not sleeping is a serious problem, and sometimes, there is little you can do about it. Other times, you can take action with some methods that are quite effective. Here are a few strategies you can try to get your baby to sleep through the night.
1. Develop a Bedtime Routine
By the time your baby is four months old, he or she is cognitive enough to recognize an evening ritual. You should create a routine that lets your baby know it is time to go asleep. For example, you can give your baby a bath at the same time every evening. Right after the bath, you put the baby in the crib, signaling that it is time to sleep. You should give the baby an ideal environment to sleep in, which involves dimming the lights and putting on soft music.
2. Make Sure You Put the Baby Down Drowsy
Many parents wait until the baby falls asleep on the couch or in the playpen before putting them in bed. However, if the baby falls asleep in one place and wakes up in another they may become confused and start crying. Instead, try putting the baby in their crib when he or she is drowsy but still awake. That way the child won’t be surprised and they may be able to fall back asleep without your help.
3. Plan a Feeding Right Before Bedtime
Newborns need to nurse between eight and 12 times daily. A common reason why babies wake up in the middle of the night is simple – they’re hungry and need to breastfeed. Most likely you’ll go to bed a few hours after putting your baby down. But, if you feed your baby right before bedtime, or you wake them and feed them before you go to bed, it could help both
4. Do Not Assume a Baby Is Hungry
While many newborns wake up due to hunger, there is a litany of reasons why a baby wakes up in the middle of the night. Many parents offer the bottle or some food right away. But, hunger may not be the culprit. Sometimes, a baby is just confused or uncomfortable. If that’s the case, try rubbing their belly or softly singing to them. It should calm their jangly nerves and sooth them back to sleep.
5. Avoid Going to Solids Too Quickly
Many parents think that solids will help a baby stay full throughout the night. However, there is a schedule for changing over to solids you need to abide by. Don’t rush the feeding schedule because you want your newborn to sleep. Moving to solids too rapidly can lead to gastrointestinal issues or trigger food allergies. Your baby should not receive any solids until the six-month mark, and when they do make sure you’re picking the right solid foods. No research exists that shows a connection between better sleep and solid foods. There is really no reason to risk it.
6. Follow Your Baby’s Cues
There are plenty of tips and tricks you can implement to try to get your newborn to sleep. At the end of the day, you need to pay attention to what your baby is telling you. You may have an idea for a good bedtime, but your newborn rubs his or her eyes and yawns an hour earlier. These cues tell you that your baby is sleepy sooner than you think. Occasionally, you need to let your baby lead the way.
More times than not, you’ll have to wake up often throughout during the night to look after your child. With a few strategies in mind, you can help your baby sleep for eight hours sooner, allowing you to get a better night’s rest far sooner than your friends.