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How do I get my baby to sleep through the night?

First of all, let’s acknowledge something important: you’re probably doing okay. And you are not alone in feeling the pressure on new parents to get a baby sleeping through the night as early as possible. The upshot: that’s very unlikely to happen before 4 to 6 months. It takes months for babies to learn night is night and day is day, and that we sleep at night.

There are two things parents can do to help that process along:

  • First, develop a routine and schedule that gets them used to falling asleep at the desired times. Having dinner, taking a bath, reading a story, singing a lullaby, getting pajamas on — every family has a different routine, but going through those motions at consistent times will help a baby learn when to expect to sleep.
  • Second, help your child learn to fall back to sleep on their own if they wake up during the night.

When breastfeeding is part of the routine, babies may occasionally fall asleep because of the soothing nature of nursing. Learning to fall asleep on their own, or to self-soothe, is a skill that babies must learn, and you can help teach them by putting them into their crib or bassinet drowsy but awake. It’s sweet to cuddle with your baby, but you don’t want your baby to learn that they require cuddling to fall asleep.

Until then, it helps to expect to be very tired. Getting up every few hours is just part of having an infant, and it helps, if you can, to try to get some sleep when the baby sleeps. Don’t be afraid to loosen your tidiness standards a little, back out of commitments and ask for extra help during these early months. Ask the grandparents or family members to come over and take a shift. Ask a friend to come watch the baby while you take a nap or shower. You can always pay it forward for someone else.

And remember,?babies do cry, and that can be frustrating and sometimes even discouraging, especially if your baby wakes up crying during the night. If you want to put the baby in a safe place like a bassinet or crib, it is perfectly OK to leave the room for a few minutes to take a breather and calm down.

 

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Posted March 21, 2024 by at United States in Let's Talk Baby
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