If your baby is not sleeping through the night, you might be feeling the lack of sleep in your daily life.
After all, you want for you and your baby to enjoy a good night sleep. As hard as it may seem, there are things you can do to help your baby sleep through the night.
Ready to get some well-deserved Zzzs? Let’s get started.
Reasons a Baby Doesn’t Sleep Through the Night
As a new mom, one of your concerns is to get your baby into a sleeping routine that will allow him or her to sleep through the night.
Sometimes parents can find themselves set on a baby sleep routine only to encounter setbacks after only a few short weeks.
While there’s no exact reason why a baby doesn’t sleep through the night, there are a few explanations.
A sleep association is nothing but an aid or action that helps a baby sleep through the night.
Adults even experience it too when they have a favorite pillow or night routine they need to fall asleep. It’s the same thing with babies.
Sleep associations can be a good thing because they soothe the baby to sleep, but there are also some negative associations that can disturb the baby’s sleep.
Negative sleep association (involving parent or caregiver):
- Bouncing the baby to sleep
- Driving the baby in the car
- Sleeping next to the baby’s crib
- Holding the baby’s hand
- Pushing the baby in the stroller
- Feeding the baby to sleep
Positive sleep association (involving only the baby):
- Sucking on their thumb
- Lifting their legs
- Biting a lovey
External sleep associations:
- White Noise
- Room Temperature
Another reason why your baby is waking up at night could be developmental milestones.
It happens when your baby has learned to do new things such as rolling, crawling, pulling up, talking, etc. It’s a similar thing as when an adult has a lot on their mind and can’t sleep.
Parents often see a sleep regression due to developmental milestones around 8 to 10 months.
The pain of teething is enough to keep anyone up at night. Babies begin teething around 6 months so if you notice a sleep pattern regression during this time, teething might be to blame.
You might be tempted to get out of the baby sleep routine to make your little one more comfortable. However, this might create a negative sleep association later on.
It’s important that you have a teething plan beforehand.
If your baby is waking up in the middle of the night, they could also be hungry.
Depending on the baby’s age, you might notice he or she wakes up less to feed, but this doesn’t mean your baby could go up to 12 hours without eating.
It’s important you learn all you need to know about night feedings.
Your Baby is Human
If nothing else makes sense, keep in mind your baby is not sleeping for the simple reason that he or she is human.
Although you might set a routine, it doesn’t mean your baby is going to always respond to it.
It’s a human thing to have good and bad night’s sleep, and babies are no different.
Techniques to Try
Now that you understand some of the reasons why your baby sleep is interrupted at night, it’s time to learn what you can do to help the process.
The Ferber method is one of the most popular techniques for getting a baby to sleep. It’s named after the doctor who created it, Richard Ferber, M.D.
He based it on the theory that babies can make associations with falling asleep. These associations happen before bedtime or when they wake up in the middle of the night.
The baby learns it’s time for bedtime based on the routine you set. The trick is to allow the baby to fall asleep on their own once in their crib.
Once you put the baby down in the crib, you should leave the room. If the baby cries, wait 5 minutes before going in. You can then go see the baby and calm them down without picking them up.
Repeat the process adding increments of 5 minutes until the baby falls asleep. This will show them you’re around and they’re not alone. The key is to be consistent with it.
The idea of this method is pretty self-explanatory. You will be in control of the baby sleep times.
Begin by writing down the times when your baby wakes up for one week. The following week you will try to wake the baby before they wake up naturally. For example, if the baby wakes at 1 and 5 AM, you should wake them up at 12:45 and 4:45.
Then perform your bedtime routine. With each day, you should increase the waking times by 15-minute increments. This will teach the baby you’ll be the one to wake them up.
Reinforcing Sleep Rhythms
The main purpose of sleep rhythms is to prevent your baby from becoming overtired. A fatigued and tired baby could result in nighttime sleeping problems.
You should observe your baby to determine when they’re getting sleepy. Depending on their age, they might go longer periods of time awake. Research claims if you don’t wait until your baby is overly tired, they will sleep better at night.
There are mixed feelings surrounding the family bed technique due to privacy concerns. Parents might begin to slowly lose their privacy or they run the risk of rolling over and hurting the baby.
This method allows for the parents and the baby to share a bed. It might be more functional in the early months when the baby requires more frequent feedings. This way the mom can fall back to sleep faster.
Sleeping Methods by Age
Now that you know about some of the baby sleep techniques, you might wonder at what age you can begin implementing them.
Newborn to Three Months
It’s common knowledge babies sleep a lot and wake up several times to feed. It might seem impossible to teach a newborn infant sleeping habits, but it might not be as difficult as you think.
You’re able to work on your baby’s sleep habits as early as six weeks. Since babies are not able to tell the difference between day and night until about 8 weeks, it’s up to you to set the mood.
Until your baby knows the difference, you should be playful with them during the day and talkative while you feed.
During the night feedings, you should set a calmer mood. Try to maintain eye contact with the baby, and not be talkative or playful. Also, try swaddling your baby.
Three Months to Six Months
Once your baby is three months, you should start setting a bedtime. It’s always a good idea to set the baby’s bedtime between 7 PM and 8:30 PM. Remember, it’s important that you stick to this routine.
Three months old is the perfect time to begin encouraging your baby to fall asleep without needing your help.
In order to encourage them to fall asleep without your help, you should place them in their crib or Moses basket when they’re awake but getting a little drowsy.
Watch for signs of sleepiness:
- Pulling their ears
- Rubbing their eyes
- Yawning and stretching
- Losing interest
- Crying at the slightest touch or provocation
Six Months to Nine Months
If before your baby turned six months you had no problems getting them to sleep, things might change.
At this age, babies might begin to develop separation anxiety when they wake up and their mom isn’t there.
This is the age when developmental milestones and teething begin to happen, so it might cause their sleeping schedule to regress.
The key to help your baby sleep through the night is to be consistent with a sleeping technique and schedule.
Try to put the baby to sleep on their back while they’re drowsy but awake. That way they will know you’re there before they fall asleep and this will help with some of the separation anxiety.
Nine Months to Twelve Months
Once babies reach this age, they’re able to sleep through the night and get about 11 to 12 hours of glorious baby sleep.
During this stage, you should remain firm about when it’s time for bed, but make bedtime enjoyable.
You can try a bath, story time or song before you put the baby down.
If your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, it could be due to their day-time nap being too late, and you might have to move it around.
Make sure you assure the baby you’re still around by leaving the bedroom door open or using a nightlight.
Ready to Try These Baby Sleep Techniques?
Getting your baby to sleep through the night might seem impossible, but it can be done once you find the right technique.
All you have to do is understand the possible reasons why and apply a method that works for you.
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