5 Tricks to Get Baby to Sleep Through the Night
Get Baby to Sleep!
Over 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. March 1 is Baby Sleep Day, the perfect time to focus on your family’s bedtime routine. Consider these helpful fixes on how you can help your little one get to bed, stay asleep, and wake up when you want.
Sleep Train Smoothly
No tears here! Melissa Moore, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in the sleep center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, shares how to set up a no-fuss bedtime routine for your baby.
Believe in the power of a bedtime routine.
Studies show that the more nights during the week your baby follows one, 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.
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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.
Make it fun.
It’s normal for a toddler to resist bedtime; kids this age want to practice their newfound independence (plus, they have major FOMO). Give her choices: Would she like to stomp up the stairs like an elephant to get to her room or tiptoe like a mouse? You can also create a chart together that shows every step of her bedtime routine, including how many books you read. This way, you choose when your toddler goes to sleep, but she gets to pick the details.
Build a Better Bedtime Routine
You can create a consistent sleep schedule with this advice from Jodi A. Mindell, Ph.D., a Parents advisor and chair of the Pediatric Sleep Council.
Head to bed sooner.
You might think this 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 earlier. 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 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.
It’s normal for toddlers to be afraid of the dark. Graham J. Reid, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and associate professor in the departments of psychology and family medicine at Western University, in London, Ontario, gives tips on how to calm your child’s worries.