Babies Sleeping Through the Night
Exactly how do you get a baby to sleep through the night? It’s not practical to even think about this with a newborn baby. A newborn’s stomach isn’t that big. Their little tummy is only slightly larger than a walnut. Every bit of food and every ounce of energy goes into growing. And that is very hungry work. So if you are thinking that it is practical for an infant to sleep though the night put that thought out of your mind. Your friend who boasts that her six week old sleeps through the night is just confused. She is suffering from sleep deprivation, just like you. Or she has always just thought that three hours means all night.
It is not realist to think that an infant will sleep through the night until they can eat enough to sustain their little bodies and their growth. When their stomach gets larger it will hold more food. When they have more food they can sleep for a longer period of time. This doesn’t come until they are about 14 pounds or three-four months old. Before they reach that pinnacle they will wake up when they are hungry. After that time baby sleep habits can sensibly be developed.
Baby Sleep Schedule
Most babies are awake more during the night than during the day. There is no sleep schedule. Or it is random and confused. But as they get older it is practical and advisable to help instill good sleeping habits. There are logical methods that can be used. Changing baby sleep patterns is the key to success.
Babies need plenty of naps. They also need interaction with their parents, siblings, and toys. Setting an infant sleep schedule may not work exactly as you’ve planned. Each baby is different and has a special little personality. There are some simple and logical techniques that will help babies sleep when you want them to sleep.
How to Get Your Baby to Sleep
A baby won’t sleep all night if she’s slept all day. Common sense should be your guide. Providing stimulation for your baby is one of the keys to your baby’s development. The timing of that stimulation is the important. Providing all kinds of entertainment in the morning might wear the baby out. A tired baby might then take an overly long nap. That might delay the normal feeding time. The delay in feeding time will delay a second or third nap, and so on. If the baby is sleeping when it is time for putting the baby to sleep for the night will not work.
Keeping a baby up in order that she sleeps might backfire as well. An excited, over stimulated and fatigued baby will probably not sleep. The stimulation should be timed. In the morning before the baby’s nap take her outside. She’ll enjoy the outdoors and the sun will give her some natural vitamin D. Make sure you put plenty of sunscreen on her and limit the outdoor time to about a half an hour.
Later in the day play with her a little before putting her down for her nap. Set an evening routine that will start with the last feeding of the day. The baby will remember the routine and associating it with bedtime. Maybe give her a bath. After the bath read her a book, or sing to her, or both. Don’t do anything that will over excite your baby. Your baby will start to relax and will start preparing herself for bed. Something that has worked extremely well for many families is providing some “white noise” for the baby to sleep by. This could be just about anything. A music box with calming music or a table fan pointed away from the baby work just fine.
There are things that should not be done. Introducing cereal before your pediatrician recommends it is one. While it may fill the baby’s stomach it will not provide enough nutrition. Giving the baby a light feeding in order that she eat more before bed is another bad idea. Remember: a baby’s tummy is tiny. Withholding food will not cause her to “double up” at a later feeding. It will not help her sleep.