Getting a Baby to Sleep Through the Night
I’m pretty sure most moms sleepwalk their way through the early months of motherhood like exhausted zombies on autopilot. When we brought my newborn son home from the hospital, he would sleep for four hour stretches at night and it was awesome. Then he started waking up every two hours. And he did that for months.
We were so exhausted and desperate for sleep. We read every article we could find for help. Eventually, we started dreamfeeding him (read more about it below) and that worked for us. Some parents disagree with that method, but hey, when you’re dying for sleep, you take what you can get!
So how do you “train” your newborn to sleep through the night? Is it even possible? The truth is yes and no. It may not work immediately, but with some patience you will enjoy your comfy bed once again.
Here are some things you can do to create a sleep-friendly environment for your baby and your family:
Expect Daytime and nighttime confusion
It’s worth noting that newborns get daytime and nighttime mixed up. A sleep schedule that feels natural to you may not feel natural to them at first. But it will. By four months old, most babies naturally prefer to sleep at night. The problem is that it takes them a while to figure out how to do it.
Use White noise
Newborns have a reputation for sleeping through almost anything—a loud restaurant, the TV, or the sound of a vacuum cleaner or hair dryer. After all, your womb was a pretty loud place. But why does she wake up and scream when the floor creaks as you tiptoe in to check on her?
Sudden loud noises can easily wake a sleeping baby. That’s why white noise is a must-have in the nursery. You can run a fan or get a white noise machine. Anything that masks loud noises with a soft hum works wonders.
Stretch the time between feedings
This is a popular method for getting more zzz’s, so perhaps it’s worth a try. As your baby gets bigger and is gaining weight and growing appropriately, a feeding schedule naturally emerges. If your baby is used to eating every two hours, then you can do the math and determine that a feeding will most likely occur at 2am and 4am. These are the feedings most parents want to drop.
The idea is to gradually extend feeding times during the day, so she will be full longer and sleep for longer periods of time at night. Add 15 minutes between feedings every couple of days until you can get closer to four hours between feedings.
The concept behind dream feeding is to feed her while she’s sleepy, so she won’t wake up hungry. For example, if your baby’s last feeding was at 10pm and now it’s midnight and you’re going to bed, you would gently wake her up and offer her milk while she’s half asleep and half awake. Think of it as a strategic snack.
If she eats, then chances are she will sleep longer because she has a full tummy. It’s more like establishing a nighttime feeding on your schedule instead of waiting for her to wake up.
How did you get your zzz’s with a newborn? What helped you get your baby to sleep through the night? Let us know in the comments section on the Boudreaux’s Butt Paste® Facebook page!