Sleepless nights are a rite of passage for most new parents. Unfortunately, even if you expected it to happen, it doesn’t make it any easier when it’s your turn. There are various reasons why your baby might be waking through the night, whether they’re hungry, teething or just out of routine, but there are some methods you can try to improve their sleep – and yours too.
There are, however, some methods you can try to improve their sleep – and yours too. Apart from learning how to stop snoring or setting up a comfortable sleeping area for your little one, there are a few tips that you can implement. To help you through these difficult stages, we have curated some tried and tested tips. Try these with your little one to encourage good sleeping habits, help them snooze for longer and make them better sleepers as they continue to grow.
When Can You Expect Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night?
Before you try these tips, it’s important to first manage your expectations. “Sleeping through the night” typically means sleeping six to eight straight hours, which probably doesn’t mean you’ll get an undisrupted sleep yourself.
For example, if your baby goes to sleep at 7pm and sleeps for six to eight hours, they’re still going to wake you up between 1am and 3am for a feed. This amount of sleep marks great progress for any baby and gives you time to get some much-needed rest, but it’s still not quite the peaceful slumber you once enjoyed, before your little one came along. It may be a long while yet until you get to that stage – after all, you still have the troublesome toddler years to come – but by committing to good sleep practices for your child now, you should find things a bit easier.
Your baby’s ability to sleep through the night will depend on their age, weight and night-time feeding routine, among other things. Newborn babies, for example, will wake often because they need to eat frequently. Your baby may begin to sleep through the night from the age of 3 or 4 months, but for some, it will take a bit longer.
- Establish a Bedtime Routine
Most parents introduce a bedtime routine for their child from the age of 3 months. A calming bedtime routine should involve a set of simple activities you can do before putting your baby down to sleep. This might include dimming the lights in the room, changing into fresh nightclothes, reading a bedtime story, or singing a lullaby. These activities will help your baby to relax and get ready for sleep.
- Introduce a Sleep Schedule
Babies sleep when they need to, so it can be difficult to stick to any kind of schedule. But you can help your little one sleep through the night by ensuring they don’t sleep too much during the day. From the age of 4 months, your baby may be spending twice as long sleeping at night as they do during the day.
- Phase Out Night Feeds
The stage at which you should begin night weaning depends on whether your baby is bottle- or breast-fed. In general, though, night feeds may no longer be necessary for babies aged 6 months to a year. By gradually reducing night feeds, your little one will get used to not being fed every time they wake and will hopefully start to sleep for longer periods through the night.
- Teach Your Baby to Self-Soothe
If a baby can self-soothe, it means they can fall asleep, or return to sleep, on their own, with little or no crying. If your baby is able to calm down and relax by themselves, they will generally sleep for longer periods, which is great news for both of you. You can encourage self-soothing by trying to limit the amount of time spent with your child when they wake during the night. It may be worth investing in a high-performance mattress, Sleep Number’s performance ratings may be able to help you select the right one for you!
The next time your baby cries for you during the night, try soothing them without removing them from the crib. You can do this by rubbing their back, singing, re-swaddling or replacing their pacifier. Try to limit your time spent with them, as this will encourage them to self-soothe. Place your baby on their back then leave the room, giving them some time to fall back to sleep.
- Set the Scene for Sleep
Setting the scene for a good night’s sleep is vital to help your baby settle more quickly and stay asleep for longer. Make sure the room is kept at a comfortable temperature for your baby and that there’s no light coming in that could disturb them. You could also look at nursery furniture sets, including a cot bed and changing table, as these will keep your baby comfortable and enable you to stay organised too. This makes it easier to avoid disruption if you do need to do a quick change in the middle of the night.