Every new parent asks themselves, “How can I get my baby to sleep through the night?” While there aren’t any solutions that work every time for every situation, there are some things that parents can try to make this possible. With proper baby sleep training, it is possible for parents to get the rest they need as well as assuring that their child is getting the sleep necessary for normal development.
For many new parents, one of the biggest challenges of life with their new baby is the sudden reality of sleep deprivation. The main reason why new babies wake up so much during the night is simple biology – their little stomachs can only hold a very small amount of breastmilk or formula. In other words, they wake up because they are hungry!
This is perfectly normal, of course, and you should expect to be up with your baby at least once during the night from birth until the age of about 3 months. But once a baby reaches about 4-5 months, they should be able to sleep through the night without waking for a feed.
Learn More about How to Teach Your Baby to Sleep through the Night
Unfortunately for many parents, it is often the case that children will continue to wake once… twice… even three or more times during the night to feed – and this habit can continue for months or even years!
If this sounds familiar, the good news is that your child is almost certainly NOT waking up because of hunger. The fact that your child insists on nursing, bottle feeding, or rocking before they go back to sleep actually has to do with their “sleep associations.”
Think of it this way: If your child has been nursed to sleep at bedtime ever since birth, then this is the ONLY way your child knows how to fall asleep. When he or she wakes up in the night, the thought isn’t “I’m hungry,” but rather, “I want to go back to sleep.” Since the only way your child knows how to fall asleep is by nursing, he or she cries out to you to come in and nurse.
The key to reversing this behavior is to eliminate the “sleep association” between nursing (or bottle feeding, or rocking, or singing, etc.) and falling asleep. Once your little one has learned how to fall asleep on their own, they’ll be able to do it WITHOUT your help during the night.
There is a variety of information concerning getting baby to sleep through the night. However, you need to be careful about what advice you take. Not all baby sleep tips are sound advice. Be sure that you are getting advice from quality sources. Baby sleep specialists are the best resource for finding information about getting babies to sleep. Usually trained in child development and psychology, these professionals can consider your child’s specific situation and devise a plan that fits his or her personality and your parenting style.
Most sleep specialists will analyze your baby sleep habits and discover areas where changes need to be made. Many parents are not aware of what needs to be done to train their baby to develop good sleep habits. By customizing their baby sleep help, baby sleep specialists are able to give practical advice that can help change your baby sleep patterns.
Understanding Baby Sleep Needs
Your baby’s sleep needs change as he grows. Generally, newborns will sleep much of the time, with no difference between night and day. As they grow, they begin to distinguish between night and day, sleeping more at night. Understanding the relationship between your baby and sleep is the first step to developing good sleeping habits.
As your child ages, he needs fewer hours of sleep, but does require them in longer stretches at a time. This is the time when he should be sleeping through the night. A well rested baby will be happier and more playful during his awake times. Another need your child has is nap time. Nap time should be restful and refreshing. How Can I Get My Baby to Sleep Through the Night?
A key to getting your baby to sleep through the night is to teach him techniques to put himself back to sleep when he wakes up. Baby sleep help experts teach techniques that help your child learn this. Many times, once a baby or child learns to sooth himself, he will begin to sleep through the night. Another factor to think about is if your baby is breastfed. Breast milk digests quickly and your baby may be waking due to hunger. By giving him his last feeding right before putting him down to sleep, you may extend the time until he gets hungry again.
There are many self-help books available that teach techniques to try. The best solution is to seek the help of a sleep specialist. Most specialists offer one-on-one meetings to discuss the specific needs of your child. This can be expensive, so they usually offer other options. Look into sleep seminars and online and phone help. These are also good options.When faced with the question, “How can I get my baby to sleep through the night?” remember there are professionals that deal with these issues all the time and can offer you assistance.