It іѕ 4аm, аnd you аrе up fоr thе 5th tіmе that nіght. Yоu nоw realize that уоu оnlу hаvе 2 hоurѕ until уоu hаvе to gеt uр fоr the day. What do уоu do? Dо you gеt up аgаіn оr gо gеt thе lіttlе оnе аnd brіng hіm/hеr іn tо bеd wіth уоu? Do you reach over and nudge your partner saying, “its your turn”. If your baby has been struggling to get to sleep at night or keeps waking up during the night meaning you have to go in every time, then it might be time to consider sleep training for him or her. I know I definitely came to a point with my son when I felt that the time had come to sleep train.
First of all, asking yourself, “How do I get my baby to sleep through the night?” you need to learn what sleep training is. It is the method that entails helping your baby know how to fall asleep and stay asleep all through the night. Sounds like a dream, right? Well, getting to the point where your baby does this easily and quickly can be hard for some mothers because some babies may put up a fight in this department. However, there are babies who take to sleep training like a fish to water, and it can be such a relief when this happens soon enough. I understand the struggle because I had to go through the same one when sleep training my own baby boy.
However, it is important to note that sleep training or sleep strategies are usually not advised if your baby is in the 3-6 month age bracket. Sleep training has all kinds of benefits. Everyone else in your family will get some well-deserved rest but the most important advantage is that when your baby is falling asleep easily and sleeps throughout the night, he or she will get to enjoy the benefits of sleep such as proper development. Getting your baby to fall asleep will not be fun; I know this from a first-hand experience as my baby boy gave me quite the time. However, it is all but harmful as sleeping is a learned skill and it will help you and your baby to develop proper sleep hygiene, which will have to happen sooner or later.
Not everyone must go the sleep training route because some babies can learn to fall and stay asleep all through the night. With that being said, when do you know whether to sleep train your precious bundle of joy? It is entirely up to you but whichever method you employ should feel natural and should work for your baby as well as your family. If your baby takes too long to fall asleep or keeps waking up during the night, then chances are you will also be up for a significant amount of time with your little one trying to get them back to sleep. When yours and your baby’s sleep is disturbed, then both of you will be exhausted and this can result in problems such as poor immunity, anxiety, and low mood, for both of you. Lord knows how exhausted I was when my son would keep me up for many a night.
If you are looking to understand how to put your baby to sleep through the night, already on the verge of exhaustion, then you may be more than willing to start sleep training but essentially, how do you know when to do it? There are babies who are usually ready for some form of sleep training between 4-6 months. However, there are pediatricians who stick to the guidelines stating that infants should be sleep trained when they have attained a specific weight. However, it is more appropriate to give them time until they have developed to the point of soothing themselves, and usually, this is at around 4 months old.
Again, you should know that there is no specific time to start sleep training your baby and the 4-month mark is merely the best recommended time to think about starting. According to professionals, you are not necessarily missing anything if you fail to sleep train your baby until he or she is 10 months, or even a year old. Before sleep training your baby, you should consult with your pediatrician to find out the best way forward.
In some cases, you may not know why your baby is up at 3 a.m.crying when you just put him to bed thirty minutes ago, especially if you are also sleep-deprived. This is why you need to determine what your baby’s sleep issue is before selecting the right strategy for you.
If you are looking to understand your little one’s sleep then you should go about it comprehensively from the time he or she wakes up in the morning, naps, rests, plays, bathes, not to mention the bedtime routine. Think about how you cater to your baby’s demands for each factor. You can do this by keeping a sleep diary to help you understand what the week is like specifically regarding your baby’s sleep. Now that you have filled your journal, you will be more adept at knowing which method to use in terms of your little one’s requirements.
It is easy to simulate a baby and merely gazing into their eyes, as tempting as it may be, can engage their attention letting them think it is time to play. When your baby is trying to fall asleep, the last thing you want to do is induce any excitement in him or her. Making any animated or prolonged eye contact with your baby is very stimulating for them so you should try to avert your eyes when putting them down or even when you are calming them after waking up. It can be very hard to do because naturally you want to engage with your baby and making eye contact is a way to communicate but this is not a time to communicate with baby! Try looking at his or her belly and use a gentle touch and a gentle voice to get your baby back to sleep. You want them to remain sleepy. If your baby increasingly interacts with you during the night, then this may prompt them or motivate them to get up and move around.
Lights can trigger the ‘on’ switch in your baby while darkness stimulates the release of melatonin by the brain, which is important for inducing sleep. Keep the lights bright during the day and dim during the night and your baby will start to figure out for him or herself that it is bedtime. Allow plenty of sun into your house during the day or take the baby outside. You can also put down your baby in a well-lit room when it is time for a nap. Put in dimmers in your baby’s nursery and in rooms where you sit with him or her and then dim the lights in the evening or a couple of hours before bed to establish the mood. If you put a night light in your baby’s room, make sure it is very small, dim, and cool to the touch. if the baby wakes up in the night, do not turn the lights on or take him or her into a bright room but instead calm the baby back to sleep in the dark room. If sunlight during the early morning causes your baby to wake up before his or her time then you might want to put up room-darkening shades.
If the baby is having trouble going to sleep, then wake him or her up for a dream feeding, which is also known as a late-night feeding. This is very effective in helping babies sleep for longer intervals. Ensure the lights remain dim and lift the baby out of the crib gently. Settle them down to take a bottle or nurse. Your baby might be awake enough to feed on his or her own but if this is not the case then nudge your baby’s lips gently with the nipple until he or she latches onto it. Once the baby is donefeeding, put them back in bed without burping them.
It may be tempting to change the baby whenever he or she wakes up in the night but chances are your baby does not need her diaper changed and you will end up becoming the master of your own undoing. Instead of doing that, use high-quality nighttime diapers before putting her to bed. This way, if the baby wakes up, you can just sniff his bum to find out if the diaper is soiled and only change it when the baby has pooped. If you do not want to wake your baby completely during a nighttime diaper change, then try warming your wipes using a wipe warmer before using them on your baby.
Jumping at every sound you hear in your baby’s room through a baby monitor will only enable your little one to keep waking up in the night. If your baby cries or makes a sound, try waiting for a bit to give him some time to go back to sleep on his own. If this does not happen and you hear as if the baby is waking up, then you can rush in before she goes into a full-blown frenzy. When you go in before the baby starts howling, you will catch her before she becomes too worked up to go back to sleep. You are allowed to reduce your baby monitor’s sensitivity so that you cannot hear every gurgle coming from her mouth but you can hear when he is distressed.
If you are a breastfeeding mom, then this can be a bit harder for you. However, if you get the times right then you will both be able to have a good night’s sleep. If your baby drifts off to sleep on her own then there is a good chance she will be more adept at learning to self-soothe. The best time to put your baby to bed is when she is beginning to quiet down and just before she starts nodding off.
Co-sleeping involves sleeping close to the baby but not necessarily having him in your arms throughout the night. According to research, babies and mother can share a sleep cycle if they sleep in the same room. This was especially beneficial for a mama bear like me who was sleeping with my baby boy in the same room because I got a bit more sleep. You can share a bed with the baby, or place the baby’s crib or cot next to your bed. The same way you would follow safe cot sleeping guidelines is the same way you should follow safe co-sleeping rules when employing this method.
Play calming sounds or a white noise machine to help your baby settle down when it is time for bed. When your baby was in the womb, he or she was constantly surrounded by noises from your body such as the heartbeat. Now that your baby is outside the womb, you can take advantage of noises reminding them of this time as a calming tool. Rhythmic heartbeat or white noise can be beneficial in helping to soothe the baby. You can find plenty of special recordings to play for your baby before bedtime that assimilate these elements to help baby relax.
This is very effective in helping your baby know what is coming next as it can calm down the baby so she prepares for sleep. Most bedtime routines begin with a bath but you do not need to go with bathing every day. You can read a favorite bedtime story, this can be the same story every night ( believe me, babies won’t get sick of the repetition.) You can sing a lullaby to your baby either while putting on pajamas, or right before you tuck them in. Saying prayers with baby ( if you are a religious person ) is a nice way to spiritually bond with your little one before bed. A really nice way to wind down before bed is giving your baby a massage with baby friendly lavender oil. Use soft strokes and make sure baby is warm. There are many other little bedtime rituals that will help prompt your little one that it is time for bed soon. Consider what works for both you and the baby.
So you have mastered your bedtime routine with the baby he has been sleeping well for the past few weeks then one day, you hear a piercing cry at 2 a.m. in the morning. It is normal for the baby to begin waking up at night again and there is no cause for alarm. Babies experience sleep regressions when they are going through significant developmental changes or routine changes such as a new sibling, illness, or travel. Usually, this can occur at the four-month milestone when your baby’s sleep pattern starts changing and she becomes more mobile. It can also occur at nine-months when separation anxiety starts kicking in. You can get through it by adopting a consistent and predictable daytime schedule and a calming bedtime routine.
Getting your baby to sleep through the night is a common problem for most mothers out there. You can just as easily make your bedtimes less stressful for you and your baby with these helpful tips and habits. This will help you assess your little one’s sleep pattern before trying out a method that works best for everyone. Before you know it, bedtime will include less crying and anxiety and more snoozing and snoring for both of you!