It’s a term that we use all the time as the parents of young children. “Sleeping through the night” is viewed as the peak of the mountain when it comes to babies’ sleep, but its meaning is also widely misunderstood.
In today’s video, I’ll explain exactly what I mean when I talk about “sleeping through the night” and hopefully clear up the concerns that some parents have about it.Rather read than watch? Click here.
I often get emails from people letting me know that babies shouldn’t be sleeping through the night. And one hand, I absolutely agree. Nobody sleeps all the way through the night. It’s totally normal to have little naturally occurring wake-ups in the night, anywhere from two to five, sometimes even more if we’re a little overtired going to bed. That is completely normal sleep.
So, yes, your baby is absolutely going to have naturally occurring wake-ups in the night. Whether they need something from you or not is the big difference.
Babies who are dependent on help from breasts or bottles or rocking or pacifiers will most likely need you to come in and recreate all the things you did in the first place to get them to go to sleep.
Another question I get asked a lot is can you keep nighttime feeds? What if your baby’s just not ready to stop feeding in the night? Well, I’m here to tell you you can absolutely move forward with the program even if you plan to keep a nighttime feed.
Babies under the age of six months, you’re right. They may need a feed. That’s absolutely well within the realm of normal. But what you can do is teach your baby to fall asleep independently at the bedtime portion, so not nurse her to sleep, not bottle feed her to sleep at bedtime. Keep her awake through those feeds, into the crib awake, so that she can learn some independent skills.
Then you feel like it’s appropriate to feed in the night, my advice is to hold baby to her personal best. If she went six hours last night before needing a feed, there’s no reason why she should need a feed earlier than that tonight. So hold onto that personal best.
When you go in to offer the feed, couple of things you need to keep in mind. One, not nurse her back to sleep. We’re trying to break that connection, so we want to avoid it whenever possible. Keep a low light on so that you can keep an eye on her, and tickle, talk to her, do whatever you can to keep her with you through that feed, and then back to the crib as awake as possible.
I know it’s the middle of the night. But as awake as possible so that she can again use her own skills to fall asleep. And the good news is when you teach her independent skills at bedtime, it usually starts transferring to the night fairly quickly. So you’ll find within the first week that you’re getting longer stretches out of her.
You might even find that she just starts sleeping right through the night independently and you haven’t even had to pull any feeds. So the good news about teaching your child to sleep well, because when she’s ready and no longer needs a feed, she’ll most likely do it all on her own.
Thanks so much for watching today. Sleep well.
If your baby, infant or toddler is having trouble sleeping through the night, help is just a click away! The Sleep Sense Program has helped over 57,00 parents to get their kids sleeping 11-12 hours through the night AND taking long, restful naps during the day. If you’re ready to get started today – I’m looking forward to helping you!
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