How to Get Baby to Sleep Through the Night
If there’s one thing we have learned as parents it’s that every baby is different! I remember being shocked that some moms had babies that slept through the night at 6 weeks old. Here I was with a baby getting up multiple times a night and I couldn’t believe other babies were already sleeping 12 hours straight. When your baby doesn’t sleep you’re willing to try anything to get more sleep! Well if this sounds like you, you’ve come to the right place. We have done all the research and homework for you. Here are our best 5 ways on how to get baby to sleep through the night.
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How to Get Baby To Sleep Through the Night
Our baby was not a really good sleeper when he was a newborn. I guess that comes with the territory of being a newborn! Because I was sleep deprived, I researched everything under the sun to help him sleep through the night. I hope some of these tips will help your baby sleep through the night! Note that since every baby is so different you may need to try different things and even if you try everything baby still may just need time to sleep longer at night (we promise you won’t have a teenager getting up still!).
Here are the 5 ways for How to Get Baby to Sleep Through The Night
1. Keep Them Well Rested. A well rested baby accepts sleep easier and has an easier time transitioning sleep cycles. You want to make sure baby is on a schedule where they do not get overtired. How do you know how many naps your baby should be on? This varies by age.
We have some great schedules for you to follow for ages 4-6 months:
If your baby is another age, you can use the Baby Sleep Science Chart as a handy reference for how to space out the naps (example: Wake, 2 hours, nap, 3 hours, nap, 4 hours, bed).
2. Create a Good Sleep Environment
Blackout Curtains are the best investment you can make for sleep. A dark environment helps your baby sleep better, particularly for naps or an early morning waker. We use a blackout curtain that you place behind your curtain and it blocks out additional light and noise.
White Noise – if you have a loud house or loud street, white noise can help block out those sounds and keep a constant sound that won’t interrupt or wake your baby. Particularly for a newborn, white noise can be very comforting as they even have sounds that mimic sounds they heard in the womb like your heart beating. The Cloud B Sleep Sheep is a great option as it comes with 8 sound options including a heartbeat.
Temperature – we all sleep better when we are at a comfortable temperature. Make sure your baby is not sweating or has too many layers as this can wake them up in between sleep cycles. Check their back to ensure it is not sweaty.
3. Get Rid of the Sleep Associations. We learned early on that a pacifier can be a sleep disruption. Our baby was waking up every few hours (not hungry!) but wanting the pacifier replaced. It took a couple of rough nights, but we ditched the pacifier and we all got a lot more sleep.
If your baby needs a “crutch” like a pacifier to fall back asleep then every time your baby wakes in between sleep cycles they will be looking for their crutch to fall back asleep. Most babies cannot find the pacifier on their own until they are 7 or 8 months, so until then you may be playing pacifier replacement.
Note – every baby is truly different and while our first woke up every hour crying for their pacifier our second did not and the pacifier actually helped baby sleep better. It will be easy to know whether your baby is hungry or not or just wanting their pacifier. If they are crying for their pacifier than you may want to consider weaning from it.
Help your baby learn to fall asleep on their own by creating a bedtime routine that doesn’t include nursing to sleep, rocking to sleep or putting a pacifier in. Try to put your baby down drowsy, but awake each night. The key is drowsy but still awake so they learn to fall asleep on their own. Once they know how to fall asleep on their own they should only be waking up and crying for you when they are hungry. Use the Baby Sleep Science Chart as a reference to know how often a baby should be waking to eat at their age.
4. Swaddling. Swaddling can help muffle the startle reflex that newborn babies have. This reflex can prematurely wake your baby up. Sometimes this reflex does not go away until around 6 months.
If you’re baby is younger than 3 months old: We highly recommend the this swaddle it’s the best swaddle we have found and our 7 week old started sleeping 7-8 hour stretches as soon as we started using it. Just make sure you get the 1.0 tog version as it’s thicker and works better for muffling the startle reflex.
If your baby is older than 3 months: That’s where the Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit comes in handy. At around the 3-4 month mark you should stop swaddling and can transition to the Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit. This was a lifesaver for us! The sleepsuit is designed as a transition for swaddling. It helps muffle their startle reflex just like swaddling does to prevent premature waking. It also keeps them cozy and secure making it easier for them to fall asleep on their own if woken in the middle of the night. We recommend the fleece version as it’s thicker and we found that our babies slept better in it than the cotton version. Read more on our Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit Review.
5. Sleep Training. If you don’t have a baby that “magically” sleeps through the night on their own you may want to look into some form of sleep training. Once your baby is old enough (minimum 6 months is usually recommended) and a healthy weight, your baby can now sleep through the night. We used the Baby Sleep Science Chart as a reference for what is normal for the amount of wakings. This blog also has a wealth of other information on nap training and information on how to reduce number of night feedings.
Another good resource for how to get baby to sleep through the night is the Baby Sleep Site. This site is packed with tons of e-books, expert advice and their membership even includes a weekly chat room with an expert sleep consultant!
If you’re looking for a simple book to read, then we recommend The Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent’s Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep from Birth to Age 5. This book covers a detailed plan on how to sleep train your baby and is done gradually so your baby can slowly wean off of night feedings. Just be sure you are comfortable for what feels right for your baby – every baby is different and following your inner mommy instinct on what you feel is right matters the most.
Finally, one item not listed for how to get baby to sleep through the night is a good bedtime routine. This should be implemented immediately and it’s never too early to establish a good routine. We usually do bath, pajamas, reading and then breastfeeding and try to put down drowsy, but still awake, Having a good routine is a great way to signal to the baby that bed time is coming and they can start to prepare to wind down. We always said “night night” and then put baby to bed.
Still not sure where to turn or need more advice? Then we recommend you join The Baby Sleep Site. It has a ton of additional information that can help any situation. And the best part is the weekly chat room with a sleep consultant!
We hope some of these tips for how to get baby to sleep through the night were helpful. What types of things have you found have helped your baby sleep better? Have you tried any of these tips listed?