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Alright, let’s get back to getting our babies to sleep. Sleeping through the night is one of the primary goals when your child is firstborn. Everyone is asking: did he sleep through the night? How is her sleeping doing? Are you making it through the night with that little one? Seriously.
There are a couple of popular sleep training methods to mention. Most experts and pediatricians suggest waiting until about 3-4 months old to start any kind of sleep training for a baby. So if you have a newborn you might want to wait a bit before you do something like this. Here are a couple of popular methods:
1) Ferber method – This was a technique created by Dr. Richard Ferber in which you allow the baby to cry for a certain amount of time before comforting them. The time gets longer and longer as you go on but the idea is that the baby learns to self-soothe so that if they do wake up in the night, they can go back to sleep.
2) Cry It Out – Do you know why baby’s cry? Because it works. A baby quickly learns that if it cries, someone will provide it attention. With the cry it out method, you basically are allowing the baby to cry itself to sleep. The idea is that eventually, the baby learns that crying doesn’t work for getting the attention. The cry it out method is often tougher on the parents than it is for the baby. I remember trying this with our first child and after 45 minutes straight we couldn’t take it anymore.. He was supposed to fall asleep already according to this method, but he didn’t.
#3) The No cry method – This is also sometimes known as the no tears method. When your baby cries, you pick them up for reassurance and then put them back down. You do this as much as needed.
The main idea here is creating a comfortable sleep routine and sticking with it. A lot of different approaches may fall under the no cry method but ultimately you are comforting the child. Every child is different and like with most things, you need to see what sleep training method works best for you and your child. Keep in mind too, none of these sleep training methods work after one day. It can take a week, two, or even more.
Now there are some tips that I found really helpful in getting our baby to sleep through the night and I think they apply no matter which method you use.
1) Stick to a schedule – Put them down to sleep at the same time every night. For some, this may be hard because of your own schedule but you need to figure out a way to keep the baby on a schedule for sleeping.
2) Put them down earlier – Contrary to logic, putting them down earlier helped them sleep longer…at least for both of my kids. Ideal bedtime is earlier than you probably think. Try 6:00-6:30 to put them down.
3) Establish a bedtime routine – In addition to the schedule, establish a routine. You do the bath then pajamas, then a book, then feeding, then sleep. Kids thrive on routine and knowing what comes next. Keep everything in the same order. Routines worked really well with our children in helping them sleep through the night. The key is that as a parent, you have to stick to the routine.
4) Remove Distractions – Get all of the mobiles, toys, lights, or anything that can distract them out of the crib. Also, no need for blankets or pillows as those can be dangerous when they are really young.
5) Put them down before they fall asleep – If they are drowsy in your arms, put them down to then fall sleep where they will be. Falling asleep in dad’s arms is great but not when you then wake up in the crib in a different place. Also, the transfer can be a slippery slope. Try to place them while they are sleepy so they get used to falling asleep in their bed and it should help teach themselves to soothe in order to sleep through the night.
6) Feed right before bed – Get them nice and full so they are less likely to wake up hungry. Adjust your feeding schedule to coincide with the bedtime. This helps the baby wake less often. One of the main reasons babies get up in the middle of the night is they are hungry.
Understanding how to get your baby to sleep through the night can be a little frustrating for new parents. Remember that it doesn’t last forever. Most babies sleep through the night by the time they are 6-9 months old. If you are continuing to have problems with your baby sleeping, seek outside resources…maybe your pediatrician or pick up a book as there are a lot on the subject. As I said, every child is different but it does require commitment from you to stick with the routine.