How To Get Your Baby To Sleep Through The Night
So you landed on this page because your baby won’t sleep through the night which in result, your not sleeping either! You’re exhausted and don’t know what to do right? Well keep reading because I am finally letting out the secrets of what I like to call “Baby Boot Camp.” I will show you exactly how to get your baby to sleep through the night!
Before you read any further, the tips I am going to give you on How to get your baby to sleep through the night includes the “Crying it out” Method! If you are one of the critics of this method than I highly advise you to stop reading this now and find another blog that fits you!
Before I begin, “Baby Boot Camp” uses the crying it out method as a last resort and there will be nights when this method will need to be utilized especially in the beginning. You’ll learn more about this later on. But I want to say I am a mother of four. And this method has worked on all of my kids and even my friends infants in a matter of 1 month but up to four months depending on how spoiled your baby is already!
Understand What Sleeping Through the Night Means For You!
Sleeping through the night may mean something totally different for everyone, however, make sure that it equals out to 8 hours or more if that’s what you’re looking for. So, for me, when my kids were infants, I needed them to be in bed by 7pm and up by 5am due to my work schedule. I wouldn’t suggest making a bedtime any later than 9pm for infants.
Keep in mind these few things to make sure you stay on top of your baby’s schedule:
- Make sure baths are done prior to this time. I find it best to do bath 30 minutes before bed.
- Make the last feeding as close as 10 minutes before bedtime. For an example if bedtime is 8pm, DO NOT feed your baby until 7:50pm. You don’t want to feed them at 6pm and their bedtime is 7pm because they will wake up sooner because they are hungry again. You want that feeding to be as close to bedtime as possible.
- Please keep in mind that for this to work, you will need to align the babies “Daily Feeding schedule” with the sleeping schedule in order for that last bottle to land on 10 minutes before your desired bedtime.
- After some time of following this schedule, you’ll notice that your baby will be wanting more milk in that last feeding at night and the first feeding of the day when they wake up that may be bigger than a normal feeding during the day. This is normal! As baby adjust and get used to sleeping through the night, they will begin to crave more milk in the last bottle to hold them over until the morning.
Do Not Turn On the Lights!
OK so your baby will not be sleeping through the night after you read this. They’ll still be getting up for a bottle or a diaper change or other reasons that I will explain in the next section.
In order for your baby to associate (“Dark/nighttime) with sleep, you have to learn how to change baby’s diaper and feed or anything else for them in the dark. I’ve gotten so used to this I can do it with my eyes closed.
If you are struggling with doing this and must use a light, turn on the HALLWAY light and crack the door. Do not turn on the light that is directly in the baby’s room. Or use the light on your phone to assist if it is too dark for you.
Understand the Most Common Reasons Baby May Be Fussy!
Below are the most common reasons babies fuss. I am all about the “crying it out” method which we will get to next But I always plead to my parents to use this as a checklist before you allow your baby to “Cry it out” make sure all of these needs below are met before going to the “Cry it Out” Method!
- They’re Hungry: This is one of the most common reasons babies cry. Eventually you’ll learn the signs your baby gives to indicate they’re hungry. I can give you a couple examples of what my infants did, but every kid is different. So, also in the beginning phases of trying this method baby will probably still want a bottle every 2-3 hours, then you’ll start to see every 4-5 hours to eventually not waking up at all. When they are not waking up at all you’ll probably notice if you put them down at 8pm and they usually fall asleep, but you notice lately baby has been fussy and sucking its lips, then this may be the time to give them more milk in that last feeding.
- They need a diaper change: No one would enjoy sitting in a soiled diaper. so, if you put baby down, and they become fussy, even if you know you just changed their diaper, go back and check it again to make sure they didn’t just go. Believe me, I’ve seen three babies wait until I changed their diaper to take a #2. So always check again before allowing them to cry it out.
- They’re Tired: When a baby is TIRED OR EXHAUSTED, they are going to be fussy! it’s like the more tired they are, the more they tried to fight it. And that fighting gets in the way of sleep. There are some things you do to get them to calm their bodies, we’ll cover that later. But if those things I give you to try does not work, then go ahead and let them “Cry It out.”
- They’re Teething: It’s no wonder they cry when they have teeth trying to tear through their gums. Try to make them comfortable by giving my favorite which is infant Tylenol. I’ve tried them all with all three kids and teething toys, orajel, teething tablets, etc. did not work for them. just ended up being a waste of money! HOWEVER, all kids are different and if you are concerned about giving infant Tylenol, then try the other products out there that helps with teething. Do this before allowing them to cry it out. if they are still fussy (which btw never happens when using Tylenol- they usually be knocked out within 10 minutes) but if they don’t find any relief just let them “cry themselves to sleep.” sounds harsh i know, but your sanity depends on not getting off schedule. you can not be the best parent to your child if you are sleep deprived. Eventually baby will fall asleep due to being so tired and then you can too.
- They’re Sick: I know even adults cry when they are sick. Whether they are gassy, constipated, have a cold, etc., you can say you may not get any sleep on these nights but still make sure you do everything for baby in the dark. My son had severe constipation. SO, he was always fussy when he had to take a #2 but guess what he still slept through the night after one month because I was able successfully stick a suppository up his butt in the dark lol. I gave all those details to say, give medicine in the dark. Check their fever in the dark. although you WON’T be getting much sleep on these nights, but you want to make sure baby still associates dark with sleep time. Believe it or not, one day of messing up these steps can make you start the whole process over especially in the first few months.
- They’re uncomfortable: Make sure baby is comfortably placed. My son did not sleep flat in his crib, he preferred to sleep with his head propped on the boppy pillow inside his crib. You’ll quickly learn how your baby prefers to sleep if you don’t know already. Make sure there are no toys, bears, and excessive pillows in the bed. Maybe baby is too hot or too cold. For my son, I couldn’t turn my heat on, or he would wake up in sweats. My daughter on the other hand needed it to be toasty in the house. If this interferes with how you like to feel when you’re sleep, then I highly recommend getting yourself a fan or space heater.
Now if you’ve gone through this checklist and baby is still fussy, (with the exception of them being sick) then by all means just let them cry it out! and I’ll tell you all about that method below.
“Crying it Out” method Explained!
There are many critics with this method, however it works, and I stand by it and I can 100% sure say my kids did not grow up to have emotional problems like the critics say. IF you are not sure about this method do your own research but I can guarantee you that those parents don’t get much sleep with their infant.
It is important to utilize this method only when you are for sure that you addressed all baby’s needs.
You will probably cry the first time you hear your baby “crying it out.” Or at least I did. And it is OK to go in there and check on them throughout the night. Just don’t turn on the light. But I promise you the amount of time they “cry it out” before falling asleep significantly reduces over time. I went from 20 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes, to eventually them falling right to sleep without crying because after a month or two of following these steps, your baby is going to recognize that it’s dark and you just laid them in their bed, they will fall right to sleep without crying within minutes!
Helpful Things To Use To Get Your Baby To Sleep Through the Night!
- Use a Swaddler: Only for bedtime. Not for naps! This will help baby feel comfortable and calm their bodies when they are fighting their sleep. Some babies are so used to being in the womb or if they are already spoiled wants to go to sleep feeling like someone is holding them or that they are in a tight space like the womb. The swaddle will do this for them. If you are trying this method out and your baby is already spoiled or is a light sleeper, I highly suggest, I am DEMANDING you to grab a couple of these.
- Use A Boppy Pillow for Night feedings: If you don’t own one get one! During baby’s nighttime feeding, if they are laying on a boppy pillow you can use it to prop up the bottle so that you are not holding baby at all at night that way the baby won’t get used to you holding them at night. Still stay in the room to make sure the bottle didn’t fall or that baby isn’t choking. If they are still not burping themselves, you’ll still need to pick them up to burp them but make it quick and put them down. Again, all of this happens in the dark. I’m going to keep saying this but the “dark” really does matter.
- Calming Music: Some babies, especially the ones I mentioned earlier that loves fighting their sleep, just may need some calming music or sounds. There are plenty free apps for that. Just make sure there’s no light coming from the device that it is playing the music. Remember we want to keep it dark in there!
- Pacifier: I am totally AGAINST this and have only used it on one of my kids during the first month of this what I like to call “Baby Boot camp.” Because I didn’t know any better. But I included this if you have already started using a pacifier and baby can’t live without. Do not start using one if you’re baby isn’t addicted. Or has never had one. But if you’re already using them going cold turkey can cause some problems, So I’ll tell you how to properly use it to ensure you can wing them off no later than 6 months! old. Only use the pacifier at night if baby is extremely fussy. Once baby has fallen asleep, take it out. Don’t leave it in their mouth to keep sucking on it throughout the night as they please otherwise they will become addicted. This is the same if you are using a pacifier for their naps as well. But do not use if it isn’t nap time or bedtime. I also recommend that if you are going to use them, stick to the ones that the hospital gives, they’re less addictive. I’ve included the ones I am referring to in the Amazon ad.
Where CAN’T the Baby Sleep?
If you want some sleep at night, the baby cannot sleep in the same room as you, let alone your bed. If you don’t have space to give baby their own room, then put them in the living room and keep the lights off. As a matter of fact, when I had my last child, I outgrew my home, Dad and I slept in the living room and gave up our room for the first two months to the baby until he was sleeping through the night. Once he was sleeping through the night consistently for 2 months straight, we put him in his shared room with his sibling and was able to get our room back.
Keep baby’s door open as well as yours so you can hear when it wakes up at night.
Just make sure baby is sleeping in a crib, play pen, bassinet, or sleep rocker in the DARK and not in the eyesight of other people including you “The parents.”
If you don’t work on getting the baby use to NOT sleeping near you, then I feel sorry for your sex life. It will be hard for them to grow out of it once it becomes a habit and before you know it, you’ll have a 5-YEAR-OLD in your bed every night!
A list of Don’ts for Getting Your Baby To Sleep Through the Night!
- DON’T rock your baby to sleep: They will get used to this and expect to be put down like this every night. And when your baby wakes up in the middle of the night for a feeding, they won’t fall back to sleep unless you are rocking them.
- DON’T nurse them to sleep: They will expect to nurse every time they fall asleep. BREASTFEEDING mothers please pump your night bottles so that the baby doesn’t expect to be nursed to sleep at night, you have all day during the day to nurse and bond with them. Nighttime is for sleeping.
- DON’T use a pacifier: If your baby is not used a pacifier yet, stop using it, if they are addicted, slow down the usage like I mentioned earlier. If you lose their binky or every time it falls out of their mouth they will cry.
- DON’T allow baby to do sleepovers away from you just yet: It’s been 1 month, and baby is sleeping through the night and you’re ready for a break. Not yet my friend! You’re break is coming I promise you! Until baby has been sleeping consistently through the night for 3 months, only then can they sleep over at granny’s house. People will not follow your schedule even if you wrote it all down for them. And although baby is sleeping through the night with you it may not be a habit yet just a routine. You will literally have to start over if the baby routine is messed up. It’s not WORTH it!
How Will You Know If It’s WORKING?
Again, baby is not going to be sleeping through the night after you follow these steps for one night. This is a month’s process and maybe even two months’ if your baby is already spoiled. But you want to know if your making progress, right? Remember earlier I mentioned how the baby will still get up for a bottle at first. Maybe 2-3 hours, eventually 4-5 hours, until they are not waking up at all. Well you can measure your success by looking out for these things during those feedings:
- Is baby falling right back to sleep after waking up for those feedings at night? If your answer is YES, then you are doing this right! And keep at it, eventually baby won’t be bothering you for a bottle at all.
- Is baby fussy or fighting his/her sleep after those night feedings? If yes, then make sure you are following all these steps accurately and addressing their needs on that check list I gave you above. And when it all fails, just let them CRY IT OUT. This is normal and eventually you’ll notice that they are not crying it out as long as before to eventually them falling right back to sleep after feedings and then finally sleeping through the entire night. Depending on how spoiled your child already is, then you may be in the “Crying it out” phase longer but again that’s fine as long as you don’t start the crying it out method before you go through the checklist!
Still Need Help?
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If you find yourself too stressed out, check out my on “Why Me Time Is So Important for Parent’s Sanity!”