When you’re a tired parent, there’s so much to worry about. Even so, one of my biggest worries, when my babies were little, was this: how will I get baby sleep through the night? Getting your baby to sleep through the night fixes so many problems – the most crucial being that everyone’s sleep deprived!
So let’s get everyone back to sleeping – including your baby – so that your parenting skills can function at a normal, well-rested level. Because really. Being a parent is hard enough when you’re rested.
How to Get to the Point When Baby Sleep Through the Night
Getting to the point when your baby is capable of sleeping through the night depends on a lot of factors. Here are some of those factors:
- Baby’s age.
- What developmental stage your baby is at.
- Whether the baby is nursing, breastfed, or a mix of the two.
- If mom or baby are taking any medicine that could be getting into the breastmilk.
- And a ton more (that’s just what I can think of in a quick minute or two!).
In other words, some of y’all will have easy sleepers. And some of us don’t. If your baby is one of those amazing children that learn to sleep through the night at an early age, bless you! I’m quite jealous – and enjoy your sleep.
For the rest of us, we may need some advice to help us see things more clearly than our sleep-deprived state allows us to. So, let’s see what some of the experts say.
Stick to a Schedule and a Routine
While your baby was in utero, they got used to a certain routine – your routine. But when you were busy walking around, the baby saw that as sleep time. Because you were quite literally rocking them to sleep in your womb! I can only imagine that it was an amazing waterbed type of set up.
In any case, it’s time to get your baby used to a new routine and schedule – one that works for both you and them.
Your exact schedule and routines will depend on your circumstances. For example, if you work, you’re going to have to take that into account with your baby’s sleep and eating schedules. Will you pump at work so you can continue breastfeeding? Or will you transition to formula? There’s no wrong answer – those are just some considerations to keep in mind.
When it comes to baby’s schedule, two main ideas helped guide me and my family.
The first was using a “sleep, play, eat” routine that cycled endlessly. Most sleep experts recommend “sleep, eat, play”, but that didn’t work for us. Once I switched to “sleep, play, eat,” things got better for us. So find what works best for your family. And don’t feel bad if that means tweaking what the so-called experts say. They aren’t the parent of your baby – you are! So really, they’re just a consultant. And you’re the expert.
From there, we also tried to adjust our children’s schedules so that they were sleeping more at night. Now, it was a nice thought. But it also didn’t work until well after their first birthdays. So, we had to find what worked for us.
Find What Works for You
What worked for us during that first year was co-sleeping. Now, we tried co-sleeping in the bed, but that didn’t work well. In fact, it was a disaster for us.
What worked for us was co-sleeping on the couch (for the first three boys) and then in a recliner (for our youngest girl). So if that’s what works for you, listen closely: buy the recliner sooner than later! It was so much more comfortable than our couch, and I wish I’d had it with our first boy. I’d have gotten so much better (and more!) sleep.
So as you begin to experiment with the best sleep routines for you and your baby, remember this: do the best you can. Try making small changes and see how they work. Keep what works – ditch what doesn’t. Ask family and friends for help as appropriate.
And always be sure to talk to your pediatrician so that they’re aware of what’s going on. That way, they can give you pointers or advice specific to you and your child’s circumstances. For example, my pediatrician wasn’t a fan of us co-sleeping on the couch. But he also knew that nothing else worked – and he gave us some great ideas for helping us to stay safe.
So do what you have to while you’re working through that initial survival phase. Best of luck, my fellow parents. You’ve got this!