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Top Tips for Getting Baby Sleeping Through the Night

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Babies and sleep don't always seem to mix. If you're having problems with getting a baby to sleep -- and staying asleep -- there are a few things you can to do encourage your baby. Sleeping through the night can be wonderful for both you and your baby.

Getting Baby to Sleep with a Routine

Babies sleep better when they have a set bedtime routine. To start, let your baby know the difference between night and day and teach her how to settle herself if she does wake up during the night.

 

Although it seems like your baby and sleeping through the night will never combine, start early with these tips.

Set a bedtime routine. This routine can vary according to each family, but many people choose to include:

  • A bath.
  • Pajamas.
  • A last feeding.
  • Diaper change.
  • Brushing teeth.
  • Storytime or special song.
  • Lights out and say goodnight.

When you do the same things each night, your baby will know what to expect when it's time to say goodnight. This makes getting baby to sleep easier on everyone.

Getting Baby to Sleep After a Late-Night Feeding

For a few months, your baby will wake up to eat during the nighttime. During the late night feedings:

  • Keep your lights dim.
  • Don't change your baby unless she's dirty. Changing the diaper could bring her from drowsy to fully awake in just a few minutes.
  • Speak in quiet, gentle tones.
  • Put her down immediately after eating.

Putting Baby to Bed Awake

Many parents love to let their babies sleep in their arms -- after all, your new baby is so sweet and peaceful when she's sleeping. At some point, however, babies need to learn how to fall asleep by themselves. She may protest a little, especially at first, but if you can remain calm, you can help her realize that she can fall asleep without you. Many parents have a hard time listening to their babies cry so go back in every few minutes to pat her back, but don't pick her up.

To help babies associate their crib with sleep, try to avoid putting your baby in there if it's not naptime or bedtime.

Baby and Sleeping Through the Night

After your baby learns how to fall asleep on her own, it's time to teach her to settle herself if she wakes in the middle of the night. Young babies (usually those younger than six months) still need to eat during the night, which means you'll need to wait to get that full night's sleep. However, that doesn't mean you can't help her learn how to fall back asleep.

If your baby is waking frequently, there may be too much light in her room. Consider buying a blackout curtain or using a special shade to keep out sunlight before it's time to get up. If your baby is still waking through the night to eat, use a small plug-in nightlight to help you see. These lights will put out very little light, but they will still allow you to see so you don't trip and fall in the dark.

However, the opposite is also true. Many moms and dads are surprised to learn that their baby needs some exposure to light during the day. This exposure helps their natural body clock develop, which means less confusion between day and night. Recent studies in the UK found that babies who slept well at night were exposed to twice as much daylight between the hours of 12 pm and 4pm as those who didn't sleep well.

Babies sleep better when they're comfortable, so if your little one has outgrown the swaddle, keep her warm at night with a sleeping bag. These can help keep your little one toasty warm, yet safe from covers.

 
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