How to Teach Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night
Yes, you CAN teach your baby to sleep through the night. Sleep expert Emma Purdue shows us how
5 min read
Firstly, address the day before you address the night
If your babies naps are all over the show – some days baby naps for 1 hour all day, some days 3 hours, some days all naps are in the car, some days all naps are in babies cot – then this kind of inconsistency doesn’t sit well with many babies. Some babies will strive on just going with the flow, most need a little more structure to their day.
So have a look at your babies naps and aim to stay home for all naps for a couple of days – working on nap length being more than one sleep cycle (more than 45 minutes) and if they are under 5 months old – 3 naps a day.
Once you feel your babies’ daytime sleep has improved and they are settling easily for all naps, but still not sleeping well at night, you can head to point two…
Look at how your baby is settling for sleep
Does baby require you every time? Is your breast your babies sleep prop? Is your baby needing a dummy for every sleep? Are you getting up every 2 hours to pop it back in?
If your baby needs you to settle back to sleep then gently withdraw how much you assist your baby to sleep over a few weeks. Use the dummy less – feed less, rock less, work on self-settling. I don’t mean leave your baby to cry alone for extended periods of time.
Could your baby be hungry at night?
If your baby wakes at 10pm, 3am and then you start your day at 7am – does your baby take a full feed at 7am? Yes? Then your baby still needs that 3am feed. If your baby refuses the 7am feed – you know you can wean your baby off the 3am feed.
If your baby wakes 2 hourly over night and demands to be fed back to sleep, unless they are under 4kg – this is probably not genuine hunger.
Some babies will take one night feed until they are well established on solid food. Remember if your babies night time wake ups and feeds don’t bother you, don’t worry about societies pressure to make your baby sleep through. Yes they can sleep longer – but don’t try to fix what you don’t consider broken.
Check the sleep environment
Stop. Then listen
If your baby is over 6 weeks old then take pause when they wake up at night. Stop. Listen – then react. Don’t rush to pick them up. If you only fed them 1 hour ago and they are crying, is it wind? Has their swaddle come undone? Are they grizzling back to sleep now that you have stopped to listen?
Offer your voice as first point of soothing, if this doesn’t help, or is helping a little, try soothing them with some gently touch in their cot. If this is working then chances are it was not hunger waking them up.
Is your baby’s bedtime early enough?
Often a bed time before 7pm is required well up until 1 year old. Over-tired babies no not sleep well.