The first day when you bring your newborn baby home, you are excited and you are ready for the restless nights. You know that the baby will wake up in the middle of the night for feeds. You’ve learned this from countless of parenting stories.
You accept this predicament for the first few months of the baby’s life. However, after a while, you start to wonder, when will the baby start to sleep throughout the night? How can you help your baby to sleep better at night?
Each baby comes with their own sleeping habits. However, generally, babies should be able to sleep throughout the night when they are about 9 months old. That is just a guideline. Expect every baby to be unique though.
The best thing you can do is to establish a bedtime routine. Many mothers swear by the importance of this if you want to avoid bedtime problems. Natural instincts have us hold our babies until they are asleep before putting them down in the crib. But you know what? You should do the opposite instead. Put your baby down awake during bedtime. Well, not really awake but drowsy. This will help them learn how to fall asleep on their own. This is the key to getting back your good night’s sleep. If babies learn how to fall asleep on their own, they can put themselves to sleep again if they suddenly wake up in the middle of the night.
Having a video baby monitor is very helpful when you are training your baby to sleep on their own. You don’t want to keep running to your baby’s side each time he or she let out a little wail. With the video monitor, you can see why the baby is crying. Maybe the baby’s binky fell out or she is spitting out milk. You can tell if you need to run into the room straight away or you can wait a few minutes to see if the baby will fall back asleep. A video monitor will help you assess the situation.
Some experts say to wait 15 minutes if the baby wakes up and cries. If they don’t go back to sleep by 15 minutes, then go in there to comfort and pat them back to sleep. Maintain a sleep environment though. Don’t turn on the bright lights. A night light should be sufficient.
Babies wake up in the middle of the night for different reasons. Don’t get too caught up in training baby to sleep that you miss out on the real reason for the wakings. Feeling like you need to discipline baby and teach them to be more independent will just create more stress for baby and you. Here are some reasons why the baby could be waking up.
– Check the temperature. Make sure the baby isn’t crying because he’s feeling hot or cold.
– Baby could be teething and that’s uncomfortable.
– Baby is going through a growth spurt and feels hungry.
– Maybe something in the environment is bothering him like a glaring street light or noise from the street.
– Baby is going through a developmental stage like learning to turn over, crawl or walk.
– The baby is experiencing separation anxiety. She wants to be glued to you 24 hours.
I know you want your baby to learn how to sleep throughout the night as quickly as possible so you can get your sleep back too. You may have to teach the baby new sleep habits. Don’t forget you have to give time for the baby to unlearn old bad habits. Just be patient and remember that every baby is different. Do your best but don’t push for it too hard.