How to Get Baby to Sleep Through the Night
Struggling to get your newborn to sleep? These eight strategies will help them snooze through the night, leaving your infant (and you) feeling rested.
Get Your Baby to Sleep
More than 90 percent of parents want to change something about their child’s sleep routine, according to research by Jodi A. Mindell, Ph.D., a Parents advisor and chair of the Pediatric Sleep Council, a group of leading experts from around the world. Consider these helpful fixes on how to get your baby to sleep through the night.
Babies need to wind down, just like you. So start switching gears (low lighting, little noise) about 30 minutes before bed. This helps set your little one’s internal clock.
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Believe in the power of a bedtime routine.
Studies show that the more nights during the week your baby follows a bedtime routine, the better she’ll sleep. Try an evening bath to mark the end of the day; even if you skip the soap, the warm water can induce drowsiness. You can also incorporate other soothing rituals like reading books, singing lullabies, and cuddling.
Offer one last feeding.
Before you or your partner goes to sleep, gently wake your infant to nurse or bottle-feed. (This will help him wake less often in the coming hours.) Then put him back down while he’s still awake but drowsy.
Stick with it.
Put your baby to bed at the same time and in the same place each night. If you're thrown off schedule because of a holiday or vacation, don't worry. Just try to get back on track ASAP.
Head to bed sooner.
You might think an earlier bedtime will lead to an earlier morning, but both babies and toddlers wake up less often and get more total sleep when they hit the sack sooner. Shoot for a bedtime of 7:30 or 8 p.m. for your toddler and expect him to sleep for about ten hours.
Delay an early riser.
While you can’t change a newborn’s wake-up time (he’ll always cry when he’s hungry), you can adjust a toddler’s. Try it by using a wake-up light. You can schedule it to glow at a certain hour so he’ll know exactly when it’s okay to call you or burst through your door.
Make bedtime fun.
It’s normal for toddlers to resist bedtime; kids this age want to practice their newfound independence (plus, they have major FOMO). Give them choices: Would they like to stomp up the stairs like an elephant to get to their room or tiptoe like a mouse? You can also create a chart together that shows every step of the bedtime routine, including how many books you read. This way, you choose when your toddler goes to sleep, but they get to pick the details.
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Don't rely on soothing methods.
Babies can fall asleep on their own by about 5 months, says Heather Turgeon, coauthor of The Happy Sleeper. You should gradually stop soothing methods around this time, or your little one will become hooked. Turgeon recommends practicing with one nap per day, where you cut back on the rocking, shushing, and patting. Then you can slowly incorporate these practices into bedtime, too.