My Baby Won’t Sleep Through the Night
Like any parent of an infant, you are probably not getting as many winks as you used to. A full night’s sleep can seem like a long, lost memory. Along with the various developments going on in your home, you may have also developed some dark circles under your eyes!
When bringing your baby home, every parent knows that for the first several months, they will be up and down at night. You may wonder when this is supposed to stop. After all, your baby must eventually sleep through the night, right?
While most babies start to sleep through the night by 4-6 months of age, this can vary. Some don’t start sleeping fully through the night until 10-12 months!
Are you still in this window? If your baby won’t sleep through the night and you are wanting to get them on an appropriate sleep schedule, there are steps you can start taking. So how can you speed up the process?
1. Create a Routine
Babies thrive on repetition and routine. It is never too soon to start creating a routine for your baby. If anything, this will help him or her if the baby won’t sleep through the night.
Having an inconsistent bedtime each night can prolong your baby not being willing to sleep fully without waking up.
Repeat Each Night
Each night, make sure you are doing the same thing over and over. Even the smallest changes can throw them off balance and make it even harder when your baby won’t through the night.
Your routine should be simple for you to do every night. Read them a bedtime story, relax them with a massage, sing them a lullaby. Lots of babies respond well to relaxing affection. The calmer you get baby before bed, the better.
Whatever you choose, just be sure that you can complete the task each night before bed. Soon, your baby will associate the routine with all-night sleeping, helping you both to get a better restful experience.
You can also promote self-soothing for your child during this routine. Self-soothing is a means of allowing the child to comfort themselves.
Now, of course, you won’t want to do this method all at once. Just as anything else, your baby will need time to adjust to the change.
When they are awake but still drowsy, put them back into their sleeping space. You can standby and rub them or hush them- but try not to pick them back up. See if your presence alone will comfort them enough to fall back asleep on their own.
Once you find something that works for you both, stick with it. Try not to change as much as possible so you don’t have to deal with any regression.
3. Wean Them Slowly
When your baby won’t sleep through the night, are they waking up for nighttime feedings? If they wake to demand food, it may be a good idea to start weaning them.
Get a Full Belly Before Bed
If your baby tends to feed just until they fall asleep, try to gently keep them awake long enough to make sure they are getting a full belly before leaving them to sleep.
If they are not getting enough to be satisfied, chances are they will be waking up for more. You won’t want this to be the reason your baby won’t sleep through the night.
Feed Less and Less
When they do get up to feed at night, feed them in smaller and smaller amounts. This way you can wean them off and they can rest for longer periods at night on smaller feedings.
This may be slow-going, but it is definitely possible to train them. You can reduce their intake until they aren’t using feeding as a soothing method and are truly only eating when they are hungry.
Helping your baby stay satisfied before you sleep will help out when you both need to be resting instead of waking up for feedings!
4. Keep Them Awake During the Day
Your baby may be napping too much throughout the day. If you notice your baby won’t sleep through the night, pay close attention to nap times. Are they getting too much rest? Are they treating nighttime rest like a nap itself?
5. Follow a Schedule
Measure the length and consistency of daytime naps. Are they napping at a certain time? Do they seem to nap when they want and not be following a noticeable pattern?
This should be avoided when possible. When your baby won’t sleep through the night, try putting them down each day at relatively the same time.
6. Avoid Late Naps
Do you notice your baby napping in the evening? This may be one reason your baby won’t sleep through the night. Late naps can cause more wakefulness during night hours.
Decreasing late naps help to keep your baby sleepy before bed. This can help them to stay asleep longer and lead to full nights in no time!
Keeping your baby active during the day will also expel all the energy they have to make them more tired when night does fall. If your baby won’t sleep through the night, keeping them active throughout the day may just be your answer!
7. Create a Relaxing Environment
When your baby does wake up throughout the night, try to make sure you are causing as little disturbance as possible. Create a relaxing environment free of noise or distractions. Don’t chatter with your baby at night.
Try to talk as little as possible, or not at all. This will help to keep your baby in a sleepy state and hopefully get them back to resting quickly.
Ambiance is Key
Making sure their environment is a perfect temperature and keep the room as dark as possible. Of course, you may want to add a small nightlight that provides enough light for you to be able to navigate their room without bumping into things!
We all know babies can wake up to even the slightest of sounds. You can play white noise, whether it be a fan or a noisemaker. This can help a baby remain undisturbed by outside noises since they can be woken up so easily.
When your baby won’t sleep through the night, it can be a pretty taxing time. Don’t let that get you down. This, too, shall pass.
The best thing to do is to create a planned routine that works best for you and your child. Once you have the plan in place, you can work every day to adhere to it. Soon enough, your baby will be used to it and you can finally enjoy a full eight hours of sleep without disruption.
The more comfortable, full and soothed your baby is, the better he or she will sleep. Each child will vary from another. Reasons will differ as to why your baby won’t sleep through the night. What works for some moms may not work for you- and that’s okay!
Exploring the cause of nighttime waking is the first step to fixing it for good!