Sleep is precious. Putting baby to sleep is a parenting survival skill. Don’t just accept that being a mom equals to losing your precious sleep. But it is not wise to just let your baby “grow it out.”
If you don’t sleep- train your child, you are looking for at least a year of sleepless nights. Lack of sleep will make you look old. It will also cost you your health and sanity. You deserve more than that.
How to Train your Baby to Sleep through the Night
I am a zombified sleep-deprived mom during my first child’s early years. I learned the hard way. Come, my second baby, I researched and read just about anything that concerns sleep training.
I learned that there is a way to put my baby to sleep through the night. What worked for my kids might not work for yours, but at least some of these tips might help out.
Consistent bedtime hours and regular pre-sleep routine is a must. There is no such thing as weekend and weekday routine for babies. It must be the same all throughout the year, come rain, shine or snow. Make sure that your child is sleeping at the same time every night. Practice putting your baby to sleep at no later than 9:00 PM. 8:00 PM is the best time.
Your nursery room’s temperature must be controlled, the lights are set to dim, the room is quiet, and the white noise machine is running. Your bedtime routine must consist of no more than three things: Feeding, cuddles, and sleep. You can also insert nighttime baths, singing a lullaby or rocking him to sleep if you feel like it. Just make sure that you can do these things consistently every night. If not, better do these extra things during daytime so your baby will not expect them at night.
- Don’t tire out your baby
Watch out for noticeable signs of tiredness. Anticipate the time when your baby will get sleepy. Put your baby to sleep at the first sign. This is the reason why you must stick to an early bedtime. If your child is too tired, chances are he will fight sleep. Being over-fatigued is the cause of most baby sleep problems. Baby will cry and cry and get fussy for an hour.
Rocking your baby to sleep can also get tiring. She will likewise gain weight soon. Don’t tire yourself. Put baby down as soon as she gets drowsy. Don’t wait until she’s fast asleep. Continue to massage or sing a lullaby to your child while she is falling asleep on her crib.
- Co-sleeping / bed sharing
The physical nearness of mom is enough to calm baby back to sleep. Kids love to get touched. Mom’s familiar warmth can soothe baby much more than any fancy nursery. The security that baby feels and the ease of breastfeeding at night are the best reasons to try out co-sleeping.
That being said, co-sleeping is not for everyone. A parent can roll over and suffocate the baby. Pillows and beddings are also strangulation hazards, so you need to consider your child’s safety while co-sleeping. Likewise, co-sleeping is not for life. You should learn how to quit co-sleeping as soon as your child is weaned from breastfeeding.
- Wait it out
Wait for a few minutes before barging into the nursery room. Don’t sprint out at the first sound of your baby’s cries. There are times when your child has nightmares or toss and turn a lot while asleep. I usually wait for around five minutes. Let your child learn how to self-settle. After a few minutes of whimpers, your baby will fall back to sleep on his own.
- Daytime stimulation
Take your baby outside and get some fresh air during day time. Expose him to new sights and sounds. Engage him on lots of stimulating activities during the day. All these can help him to get better sleep at night.
- Rub her hair and belly
Do not scoop your baby out of the crib whenever she cries. Do not offer your breasts or a bottle, unless it already time for her next feeding. Try to soothe your baby by caressing her hair or rubbing her belly.
- Daytime naps
Daytime naps promote better sleep for kids that are less than a year old. Let your baby take a nap every 3 or 4 hours. This one is not advisable to toddlers. For older kids, they can sleep longer if they take less or forgo daytime naps.
Every child is different. What worked for your firstborn might not apply for your next child. Spend some time to get to know your baby’s sleep habits. When it comes to putting your baby to sleep through the night, patience is the key.