How can I get my newborn to sleep through the night?

Q: How can I get my newborn to sleep through the night?

A: At first, you can't, so don't bother trying. A newborn wakes up frequently to eat, sometimes as often as every two to three hours. If she's sleeping too much, she's not eating enough. Over time, your baby will be able to go longer stretches without food. Meanwhile, you can help her learn to fall asleep on her own by laying her down when she's sleepy but still awake. Try to avoid nursing her to sleep after the first month or two so she doesn't get into the habit of needing milk to drift off. By 4 to 6 months, babies are usually able to sleep for longer stretches, with just one or two nighttime feedings. It usually isn't until somewhere between 9 and 12 months that most babies truly sleep through the night. --Sharlene K. Johnson

Originally published in Parents magazine, May 2007. Updated 2009

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