Your baby is a beautiful new addition to your life. At night, your baby needs lots of sleep though, and so do you. There is often a great deal of disagreement between parents when it comes to the best ways for babies to sleep. Inexperienced parents are often desperate for guidance in this area, and experienced parents have a variety of different tips to offer. Here are just a few baby and newborn sleeping tips that may help you to develop a better sleep routine if you are currently struggling as a sleep-deprived new parent.
Develop a Regular Nighttime Sleep Routine
A regular sleep routine is important for people of all ages looking to improve their sleep habits. Try to put your baby to bed at the same time each evening or at least around the same time each evening. You can also regularly give your baby a bath before bedtime, or develop other regular routines that will help your child to realize that it is bedtime and wind down for the night. One of the best baby and newborn sleeping tips is to start getting them into a good routine from the moment you bring baby home.
Use Relaxing Music to Help Your Baby Sleep
Relaxing sounds and relaxing music are easy to find on music and video streaming apps. White noise machines and radios also offer options for a gentle sound that may help a baby to fall asleep and stay asleep. Research has been done about classical music and baby development and experts on the topic generally suggest that it is a good idea to expose a newborn to classical music, especially at bedtime.
Co-sleep Safely with Your Baby
There are many different options for new parents to select from when it comes to choosing a newborn baby bed. A crib is a classic option, but some parents find that co-sleeping helps their baby to sleep through the night better. There are beds for newborn babies that can allow both of you to sleep safely and securely without any worries if this is an option that interests you.
Breastfeed at Nighttime
A hungry baby will not be able to sleep through the night well in most cases. If you breastfeed your child, it is a good idea to do so soon before putting your newborn to bed. A full tummy will prevent him or her from waking up as quickly as to scream for another nighttime breastfeeding. The physical closeness while breastfeeding will also relax your baby. Even if you do not regularly or exclusively breastfeed throughout the day, you may want to try it at night to help with your baby’s sleep.
Read to Your Baby or Tell Stories
It is never too early to read to your baby. Babies and young children learn by example and early reading habits are best encouraged by reading to your baby at a young age. The sound of your voice is comfortable, familiar, and relaxing for your baby as well. Even if they do not yet understand the content of books and stories, these things can help them to fall asleep at night feeling positive and relaxed. Be sure to read in a gentle, calm, and even tone of voice so that you do not startle or wake a baby that is starting to doze off.
Avoid Exposing Your Baby to Digital Screen Time and other Stimuli Before Bed
It is generally considered a bad idea to put your newborn baby in front of the TV in order to get them to fall asleep. Too much screen time does not benefit the neurological or other development of a newborn baby. It is a better idea to use other tactics like calming music, gentle massage, and story time.
Joyce Kimber is an entrepreneurial writer. She always finds new ways to improve her work performance and productivity. Connect with her on Twitter via @joyce_kimber91.
Sleep training can have a bad reputation among the parenting community.
This secret shame in sleep training comes from it’s association with the cry it out method. The name alone suggests something very traumatic for both moms and babies alike. But it’s important to note that the cry it out method is not nearly the only form of sleep training. In fact, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of different ways that parents sleep train their babies.
So I’d like to make it loud and clear for all moms everywhere that there is absolutely no shame in sleep training your baby!
Defining Sleep Training
There is no shame in sleep training because all parents do it, whether they realize it or not. To “sleep train” is to help a baby establish healthy sleep habits. But there are so many different ways that can be done, it all depends on the baby and the parent. Some parents choose to do this using more rigid guidelines, while others prefer to let their babies take the lead. Either way, it’s still considered sleep training.
Baby-Led Sleep Training
Babies are born with the natural instinct to sleep, eat and eliminate. Their wakeful periods gradually increase with age and as they grow, their little personalities begin to show. These personalities will give you a hint as to what kind of sleep they prefer.
My introverted first child was a great sleeper and still is, 10 years later. He likes quiet, darkness and solitude. He never slept well in a shared bedroom and was easily distracted by lights, sounds and toys in his room.
My easy-going third child can sleep anywhere without problem, as long as she has her special bunny.
Baby led sleep training methods mean following your baby’s sleep cues and letting them show you how and when they prefer to sleep. This can require a lot of patience and may mean more night-time waking, but many parents are up for that challenge. You can also expect a baby-led routine to change several times as they grow and develop different needs.
Parent-Led Sleep Training
Sleep training methods that have more structure and routine are considered parent-led methods. Many are based on adjusting baby’s instinctual sleep habits in order to make it work for a parent’s lifestyle. And these are the ones that moms often feel shamed for, or feel the need to shame others.
(At least, it shouldn’t be if done correctly.) While I am not a sleep training expert, I do firmly believe that leaving a baby to cry alone by themselves does not teach them how to sleep or self-soothe. Crying is a baby’s way of communicating and we should never take that for granted. But sometimes, a baby cries because they feel overstimulated or overtired and need some space, so holding or rocking them is not always the solution.
Parent-led sleep training methods can require a lot of consistency and a certain level of self-discipline. Creating a strict bedtime routine for a baby means committing to doing it for years to come, but some parents are willing to make that sacrifice in exchange for a better night’s sleep.
Stick with One or The Other
A mistake most parents make is beginning with a baby led sleep approach and then trying to switch to parent led sleep training when the child is older. Of course there will be tears and baby will put up a fight, because change can be difficult for everyone. So if you plan on letting baby take the lead right from the start, then expect to follow through on that. Or you can start incorporating a more structured bedtime routine as a gradual process.
If you do plan on sleep training your baby, then try to start from the moment you bring your baby home. Obviously, your newborn isn’t going to start sleeping straight through the night, but remember, that’s not what sleep training is about. There are several things you can do to ensure they develop a good routine and sleeping habits. This way, you don’t need to worry about making drastic changes to their routine as they grow.
There is No Shame in Needing Help
If your baby isn’t sleeping no matter what you’ve tried, that doesn’t make you a failure. When it comes to sleep training, there is a lot of advice out there but there is no manual or one tried and true method.
Thankfully, there are professional baby sleep training consultants available. I have personally used and would recommend the Baby Sleep Site(read about my personal experience with them here). Trained professionals take into account your family life, other children’s schedules and your own health and well being to create a routine that works for you. They’ve dealt with the various sleep habits of thousands of different babies and have the experience to help you. Sleep training can be stressful, so it’s good to have some support and guidance along the way.
Motherhood is not black and white and when it comes to sleep training, there is a lot of grey area. Ultimately, what works for one family, or one baby, will not work for everyone. So let’s quit with the mom shaming about sleep training. Moms who sleep train are not being cruel or selfish. And moms who follow their baby’s lead are not spoiling them. All moms are doing what they feel is best for their baby, themselves and their families and that’s the only thing that truly matters.
Sleep training is one of those tough parts of parenthood. You either get it right or you struggle with sleep deprivation for many, many years.
Years ago, when I started researching sleep training for my first baby, there was so much conflicting information. I had no idea which method would work and so I resorted to good, old “trial and error.” Thankfully he was a pretty easy going kid who took to it wonderfully, unlike my second child. In an effort to avoid the stress of sleep training, I’ve started looking into sleep training consultants for advice with my third baby.
Sleep consultation sites like The Baby Sleep Site usually offer wide varieties of different options based on your sleep training needs, which can get really overwhelming (especially when you’re a sleep deprived parent who has no idea where to begin). And the last thing any parent wants to do is shell out money for a service that they’re not convinced is not going to be worth it.
Yes, it costs money. But for as little as $12/month – you have a valuable source of resources and information available at your fingertips. The Members Area comes loaded with e-books, articles, quizzes, downloadable worksheets and even a chat room.
One of my favorite features is the tele-seminars. They’re about half an hour long so you can listen to one while you’re cooking dinner or folding a load of laundry – perfect for busy moms who don’t have time to read through tons of articles!
Another great feature as a member is the custom schedule maker – which you can use as often as you need to as your baby grows.
The Members Area is a great tool for a parent who is just beginning to struggle with sleep training and needs some guidance on where to start.
But what if you need even more help?
What if you’ve read all the e-books and changed around your baby’s schedule 15 times just to try to make it work but they’re still not sleeping through the night?
It goes without saying that all babies are different, and some are definitely harder to figure out than others. That’s where the sleep experts come in. They’ve dealt with babies of all different temperaments and preferences before. Even a mother of three has only ever had to handle sleep training three kids – but sleep experts have handled sleep training thousands of them.
They offer both phone and e-mail consultation, depending on which you prefer. E-mail is a great option for busy moms but sometimes it really helps to speak to someone one-on-one. (They also offer an express sleep plan if you’re desperate for a good night’s sleep.)
The best part is, as a Member, you get a 20% discount towards the consultation package of your choice!
You can get more info about the other package options here but the difference is basically how many follow up e-mails you get (i.e. how much “time” you want to purchase.)
Beginning the consultation process is very simple but I would recommend setting aside enough time, free of distractions to complete the sleep history. It might also help to write down any notes about your child’s specific areas that you want to work on, what their schedule is like, and how they’ve responded to sleep training in the past.
Once you have an idea of what you need work on, you submit a sleep history assessment via the Help Desk. The questions are pretty straightforward and there are several places to elaborate further on what is happening specifically with your child.
It took me approximately 15 minutes to complete the assessment.
Prior to submitting your sleep history, there is an estimated chart of how long it will take to receive a response.
I submitted my sleep history on a Friday after 5 PM EST and received my personalized sleep plan on Monday morning!
The Personalized Sleep Plan
As a “researcher” myself, I didn’t have extremely high hopes for the personalized sleep plan. I felt as though I had read enough books and blogs, all of which had the same info, that there wouldn’t be much in the personalized sleep plan that I didn’t already know. (In the sleep history assessment, you have the option to select the level of detail you would like.I, of course, selected the highest level.)
I will admit that, upon receiving my personalized sleep plan, it exceeded my expectations. The key reason being – it’s personalized! I didn’t appreciate exactly what that meant until I received the sleep plan back from Nicole Johnson and her team of experts.
Let me highlight my favorite parts so that you can see what I mean:
Specific needs for my child based on the information I included in the assessment. For example, how much she should be sleeping or eating or napping based not just on her age but also on her temperament and history.
Daytime and nighttime routines based on her sleeping arrangements since my toddler and five year old currently share a bedroom.
A personalized mantra about my specific sleep training goals that I can repeat to myself on those rough, sleepless nights.
The day to day plan with precise steps to take each day, including how and what to prepare for before beginning the plan. (See image below)
All of these different things stood out to me in the personalized sleep plan. When I was doing my own research on sleep training, then it was up to me to create a plan based on what I learned and I truly had no idea if it was going to work for my child or not. Upon reading this personalized sleep plan, I found myself pretty confident that I could easily incorporate these changes, and more importantly, that my daughter would be comfortable with them.
The personalized sleep plan included actionable steps for me to take to correct my child’s sleeping problems, based on a number of different factors that I hadn’t even considered.
I still have my three follow up e-mails to use, which are good for 6 months. So as I incorporate these recommended changes to her schedule and bedtime routine, I will have help waiting if I encounter any problems.
Knowing that I have an expert in my corner has absolutely saved my sanity! I regret that I didn’t choose a sleep training expert when my second child was younger and I was battling such extreme postpartum depression. Perhaps it could have reduced the amount of stress and sleep deprivation I was experiencing then. But now, as a busy mother of three, sleep training is no longer an issue I need to stress about, thanks to The Baby Sleep Site.
How much would you pay for a good night’s sleep?
The largest obstacle I would see to most parents hiring a sleep consultant would likely be the cost associated. For this, it all comes down to priorities and how important the sleep is to you. In my case, sleep deprivation is a big trigger of postpartum depression relapses, and so I can’t afford to lose that war.
It’s important to keep in mind that what you are paying for is the time and service of a professional. I’m pretty sure I’ve paid the guy who fertilizes my lawn in the summer more money and that hasn’t gotten me very far in life.
So when I take all these things into consideration, the cost of a professional sleep consultant is worth it, in my opinion.
With all of the horror stories floating around out there, it’s hard not to… Sleep training isn’t easy. As a parent, it’s one of the first opportunities to teach a child how to do something on their own, so it’s a task riddled with pressure, questions and self-doubt. If sleep training feels like the right decision for your family, then there’s no need to fear it. A positive sleep training experience is entirely possible.
Here are some tips for a positive sleep training experience.
1. Make the bedroom a sanctuary
“Go to your room” is something I heard a thousand times growing up as a kid, and I’m guilty of saying it to my older children now. But when it comes to sleep training, the bedroom should never be used as a place for punishment to avoid associating it with something negative. Designate a different room or area for time-outs. The bedroom should be a safe and comfortable place.
Before (and throughout) the sleep training process, spend plenty of time in the baby’s room playing or reading books and never force baby to stay in their crib or their room if they clearly don’t want to.
The more comfortable baby is in their room, the less they will dread it at bedtime.
2. Start early
Babies are actually born with naturally good sleep habits. They sleep when they feel tired and don’t know any different. Sleep training a younger baby can make for a positive sleep training experience. While young babies don’t sleep for long stretches, they do normally fall asleep on their own without much of a struggle.
Encourage that behavior – because the ability to fall asleep without help is the KEY to sleep training!
3. Conduct trial runs at nap time
While daytime sleep should be different from nighttime sleep, naps are a good way to get a feel for what sleep training will be like. The daytime is much less intimidating to begin sleep training. Both parent and baby will be somewhat more well rested than at the end of the day and there’s not as much pressure to get it right since naps are much shorter sleep periods.
While there’s no need to perform an entire bedtime routine at nap time, the key things to practice will be putting baby to sleep in the same place where they’ll be sleeping at night, and putting baby down while they are drowsy but not actually asleep.
If you can successfully get baby to go down for a nap on their own, then you’ll have a lot more confidence moving onto to bedtime.
4. Choose a realistic bedtime routine
Obviously sleep training involves some level of sacrifice, at least at first. But that doesn’t mean you should be wearing yourself out every night with baths and massages and stories and missing out on your social life. A bedtime routine doesn’t need to be elaborate.
Consistency is the key to a good bedtime routine so keep it simple and achievable. It could be the simple task of changing into pajamas and reading a special book (check out this list of the best bedtime books). Or maybe there’s a lullaby you like to sing. Even a special stuffed animal or blanket that’s reserved specifically for bedtime can do the trick. Diffusing some calming essential oils around bedtime can also help to calm the minds of both parent and child. Try to find one thing that soothes and calms each of the five senses. These simple habits, when done consistently, will give your baby the signal that it’s bedtime, no matter where you are or what time it is.
Having the option to be flexible in your baby’s bedtime routine will keep you from resenting the task altogether.
5. Eliminate the pressure
There is SO much pressure on parents to get sleep training just right. A common question new parents often hear is “is the baby sleeping through the night yet?” implying that something is wrong if they aren’t.
And if that wasn’t pressure enough, there’s also so much contradictory information about sleep training. Everyone has a method that they promise is the BEST and you always seem to be on the wrong side of the cry-it-out vs no-cry-it-out debate.
Accepting that all babies are different and sleep training is not a competition, or even a milestone, will help to take some of the pressure out of it. Sleep training will only be successful if both parent and baby are ready, and not because another baby who’s the same age or weight (even a sibling) was ready. Whatever method you choose to sleep train your baby should be the one that works for your baby and your family and no one else’s.
Remember that sleep training is not an all or nothing situation. It’s perfectly fine to take a break and try again another time.
6. Ask for help
Sleep training is not for everyone. Some babies have a much harder time sleeping than others and it can lead to a very unpleasant experience. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re struggling with it.
While it’s great to have your spouse or partner around to tag team during those late nights, a friend to talk to (especially another mom who’s been there and done that) can do wonders for building up your confidence.
If the sleep deprivation is really getting to you and you’ve tried every method of sleep training without success, it could be time to call in an expert.
Sleep training a newborn is all about establishing a good routine and developing the sleep habits that will become an important part of their lives. It’s about teaching them how the world works – when we sleep, when we eat and when we play – in order to be a functional human being. Sleep training a child is a long process, and the earlier they can learn, the easier it will be in the long run. By following a strict routine with a newborn, you may even be able to avoid sleep training in the future.
The goal of this sleep training guide is to:
Help your newborn baby identify the difference between day time and night time.
Establish a daily routine that focuses on healthy sleep habits.
Lay the foundation for stricter sleep training at a later age.
Help you predict what your baby needs and recognize the reason they are crying.
The reason why sleep training a newborn is so essential is because sleep at this age is instinctual and not something they have learned to fight (yet). This promotes a much more positive experience for both parent and baby. Remaining positive throughout the sleep training process is important to successful sleep training as the child gets older.
Here is a guide to sleep training a newborn (0-6 months), which includes routines to follow during the day, at nap time, bedtime and in the middle of the night.
Sleep Training in the Morning
Open the curtains
Let as much sunlight into your home as possible or sit by a sunny window. The point is to associate “daytime ” with brightness and noise.
Change baby out of their pajamas
It may seem like a tedious and unimportant task because many newborns stay in sleepers all day long. But the simple, routine, act of changing clothes in the morning will signal to your baby that it is time to start the day, and not just another one of their many wakeful periods.
Skin to skin contact
Several times a day, strip baby down to a diaper and lay them on your bare chest or cuddle next to them in bed. This is a great thing to do while nursing or bottle feeding baby as it can also keep them awake and stimulated so they will feed better.
If you’re a busy mother, or have other children to take care of and don’t have the time to lie in bed all day, then consider carrying baby around in a wrap-style baby carrier while shirtless.
A lot of effort should be put into those daytime feeding sessions. Feed baby as often as they want to during the day, whether it’s breast or bottle.
If you’re breastfeeding, now is the time to master the latch and try out different breastfeeding positions. Make sure to empty each breast even if it means feeding on the same side twice in a row. That will increase your supply and provide baby with more hind milk. Try using the breast compression technique to ensure baby is getting enough of the fattier hind milk and to help speed up the session.
Try your best NOT to let baby fall asleep during the feeding! Sucking is extremely soothing for a baby and it’s natural for them to drift off or get tired halfway through. If baby continues to fall asleep while nursing, they won’t get full enough and will wake up wanting more just a short while later.
Get a good burp
Different methods work for different kids but this is so, SO important. Try gentle bouncing or laying them on their tummy across your arm or leg instead of patting their back. Adding a little bit of pressure against their tummy with the palm of your hand, or holding their stomach against your rib cage as you bounce up and down can help to eliminate gas.
The number one reason why newborn babies cry after a feeding is because of gas. Often, babies will put their hands to their mouths or root around when they need to burp which can be confusing if they just finished nursing. For babies who are struggling with gas, try using colic tablets or essential oils to ease their tummies.
Get a good poop
This will usually happen on it’s own, so it’s really just a waiting game. You can try “pumping” their legs or holding them in a “sitting position” to get things moving along. The reason why you want to watch for this before putting baby down for a nap is so that they will be comfortable as they sleep and will have no reason to wake up before they’re ready to.
Newborn babies can poop frequently throughout the day (especially breastfed ones). Make sure to use a good bum balm to help avoid rashes with frequent changes. Hypoallergenic, eco-friendly diapers are also a good alternative for avoiding diaper rashes. With time, you will learn how often and when they need to go. Their specific habits and routine usually remain constant as they grow older so this is just another way of getting to know your baby.
Talk or sing to baby, have tummy time and lots of skin to skin contact. A colorful play mat is a great tool to have for keeping young babies entertained. The environment should be stimulating and playful but not over-stimulating, so watch for cues that baby is done with a certain activity.
If you’re not sure exactly how to play with a newborn, then just take them around with you as you go about your day and talk to them while you do it. Babies don’t need a lot of entertainment at this age but they love to hear voices and watch faces.
Watch for signs of sleepiness
Throughout the day, keep an eye out for signs that they are ready to sleep. Some babies get very fussy, others may simply stare off in one direction and start the “slow blink.” As soon as you catch the hint that they are sleepy, prepare yourself to initiate the nap time routine.
Sleep Troubles? Watch Out for Signs of Sleep Apnea
Around 2 to 3 percent of children suffer from sleep apnea; infants can be affected too. Apnea means cessation of breathing, so a child who has sleep apnea can experience episodes in which they stop breathing for a few seconds during sleep. Read this guide to know more about sleep apnea in children.
Sleep apnea is a medical condition. If you notice your baby displaying any symptoms of sleep apnea, consult your doctor immediately. Sleep is essential to the growth and development of babies and older children, so anything that can disrupt your child’s sleep, especially a medical condition, should be taken seriously.
Sleep Training At Nap Time
Put baby to sleep in their bed
Wherever you want baby to sleep at night time is where you should put them for naps as well. It may be tempting to hold and rock that baby for the next 2 hours but the sooner you can get them accustomed to sleeping in their own bed, the better (don’t worry, you can get in lots of cuddles during “playtime”).
Try to avoid letting baby nap in a car seat, bouncer or swing, as this can develop bad habits as they get older. Remaining consistent about where they sleep will help them get used to their bedroom and learn not to fear it.
Make sure that baby’s room is as comfortable as possible. Try using a warm or cool mist humidifier to make sure that their room is set up with the right conditions for them to sleep.
Keep the curtains open
Daytime sleep needs to be different from night time sleep, so keep the room bright. If it’s a dark or cloudy day, then leave a light on while baby naps. Make sure that there is a significant difference in baby’s room during nap time versus at night.
It’s common to try to avoid any and all noise while baby is napping, but that will become something you need to keep up for years. Most newborns are deep sleepers (hence the term “sleeping like a baby”).
Play music in the background, use a sound machine or open a window to let in street noise. If you have older children, don’t shush them while baby naps. Basically, go about your regular every day activities. This will teach baby to nap despite life happening around them.
Some babies tend to startle in their sleep when they hear loud noises, such as a dog barking or a car horn. Swaddling can help keep the startle reflex from waking them up.
Wake baby up after 2 hours
… and start all over again. It might sound cruel to wake up a sleeping baby but wouldn’t you rather save that sleepiness for 3 am? Several smaller naps throughout the day work better than a few longer ones at the newborn age so that baby can eat more often.
Sleep Training at Bedtime
Make sure that baby has been up for at least 1 – 2 hours before bedtime
Even a 10 minute nap in the car can sustain a baby with enough energy to last all night. It will take some work to plan out baby’s nap times but it is much easier to put a sleepy baby to bed than it is to wrestle with an energetic one.
Dim the lights
The wakeful period before bedtime should be focused on darkness and quiet – different than the wakeful periods during the day. Dim the lights, close the curtains or install blackout blinds.
You still want to make sure baby gets a really good feed, burp and poop
*Ahem* this is your life now…
Tone down the playtime
In the hours before bedtime, choose less vigorous playtime for baby. Avoid swings and bouncy seats or over-stimulating toys. Talk in quieter voices and play soft background music. Try to avoid having the television on.
Bathing and massaging baby are a great way to wind down before bedtime. Opt for sleep-inducing essential oils and use calming bath products designed to help baby relax. Let baby have some time without a diaper on before that longer nighttime stretch. Make sure that playtime before bed is calming and soothing instead of stimulating.
Change baby’s clothes
This is the other part of the day when it’s important to change baby’s clothes to signal that it’s bedtime. It doesn’t really matter what you put baby to sleep in because it’s just the act of changing into pajamas that will create that routine habit.
Try NOT to feed baby right before bed
A feeding before bed is important to keep baby full but if you don’t want to nurse them to sleep every time they wake up, then you need to disassociate it with bedtime. Aim for a half hour before bedtime so that they don’t fall asleep while nursing. You can feed baby first, then gently bounce or dance around with them to get out all those gas bubbles. Or change them into their pajamas after the feeding.
Initiate the “BEDTIME ROUTINE“
This is the last thing you will do with baby before you put them to bed for the night. It can include a bedtime story or lullaby, turning on a projection nightlight, some gentle rocking or cuddling in a chair, or goodnight kisses and hugs from everyone in the family.
Over the years the bedtime routine will evolve as your child grows. But it should always include a calming activity that is reserved specifically for bedtime so as to give your baby the bedtime signal.
Put baby to bed when you see the early signs of sleepiness
It’s worth repeating here – put baby down when they are sleepy but not actually asleep. The younger the baby, the more they are acting on instincts and as long as all of their needs are met, they shouldn’t protest when you put them down.
If baby cries when you put them down…
Try feeding or burping again until they get drowsy. If baby falls asleep while nursing, just try to get them into bed as soon as possible afterwards. Try your best to remain positive about the process, or baby will sense your anxiety.
Once down for the night – DO NOT WAKE BABY UP TO EAT.
Newborns need to eat on a regular schedule, but because you have been pumping them full of food during the day, you can worry a little bit less about how much they are eating at night. They WILL wake up when they are hungry but it should be longer than 2 hour intervals. The older and bigger they get, the longer they will be able to go without a midnight snack.
Use a baby monitor to listen for when baby wakes up, and try to get to them as soon as possible. Try not to let baby cry for too long, as this will stimulate them more than necessary. Newborns will normally only wake up to feed so there is no point in letting them “cry it out.”
Sleep Training in the Middle of the Night
If and when baby wakes up in the middle of the night…
Do not turn on any lights
Keep the room as dark and quiet as possible. A soft nightlight or mood light offers just enough lighting for you to see what you’re doing but the idea is to help baby associate night time with darkness and quiet.
Keep baby dressed
Save the skin to skin contact for the daytime. If you swaddle baby then it’s up to you whether or not to unswaddle them, but the idea is not to disturb or stimulate baby any more than necessary.
Because you’re pumping them full of milk during the day, you don’t need to worry about how much they’re getting in the middle of the night. This is a great time to use the breast compression technique while breastfeeding. Most likely, baby will fall asleep during nursing. If they do, try to get them back into bed as quickly as possible.
Do not talk to or stimulate baby in any way
If you’re smooth enough – you might be able to convince baby that this is just a dream and that they aren’t really awake at all…
Only change a diaper if it’s poopy
If baby had enough poopy diapers during the day then the chances of a poopy diaper at night are slim (though they do happen). Good quality diapers can normally retain urine for an entire night’s sleep. If you find that baby is soaking right through them, try a different brand or move up a size. Some babies are prone to diaper rash, but skin can also become too sensitive with frequent changes. If you absolutely must change a diaper, use a warm wipe or washcloth and try to make it as quick as possible so you’re not overstimulating baby.
Get a good burp
But don’t try any fancy positions that might overstimulate baby unless they seem to be having a lot of trouble with gas.
Immediately return baby to crib
Don’t make a big deal out of night time wake ups. Try to make them as quick and quiet as possible and don’t take baby out of their room.
Continue this routine for all night time feedings until morning and then begin the daytime routine all over again.
By following a routine with your newborn throughout the day, you will be able to get them on a consistent schedule. This will help you to predict what they need and when, so that when they cry, you can rule out the common reasons. Having designated awake and nap times will also allow mom to get more rest and/or work done without having to constantly wonder when baby will be ready to eat or sleep. You could even try using an app to track baby’s sleep patterns. The routine will eventually become second nature to mom and baby, and will continue to change and evolve as baby grows. It will also help to reduce the stress and anxiety caused by sleep training at a later age.
Have you tried all these tips and your baby is STILL not sleeping through the night?
There could be something you’re missing. All babies are different, and there isn’t ONE plan that works for everyone. Don’t be afraid to seek help from an expert. Read my review of The Baby Sleep Site for more information.