Baby Whisperer Tips to Get Baby Sleeping Through the Night. What to do to help baby sleep through the night.
As much as we love our cute babies, we want and really need sleep at night. For this reason, most parents seek out help and tips to be able to get as much sleep at night as possible. One of the best ways is to get baby to sleep longer stretches at night.
Tips to Get Baby Sleeping Through the Night
The Baby Whisperer shares some ideas to get baby sleeping through the night. Starting on page 184, Hogg addresses points to help baby sleep through the night. They are:
Monitor Daytime Sleep
Don’t let baby sleep too much in the day. This means you don’t let baby sleep something like 6 hours straight in the day. You can let baby take an extra 30 minutes in a nap if needed, but you don’t let baby sleep all day.
Be careful you don’t swing too far in the other direction and not let baby sleep enough. Read Sleep Begets Sleep for more on this.
Cluster feeding. Hogg suggests starting at 6 weeks you feed every two hours before bedtime and also do a dreamfeed. The cluster feeding thing is necessary for some babies, but not all. I would think if baby got a full feeding, he shouldn’t need another one 2 hours later. But I know as a nurser, my milk supply is lower at that time of day, so both of mine needed one two hour interval for a while.
Hogg defines a dreamfeed as a feed you try to not wake baby for (the late-evening feeding for the BW baby). Kaitlyn would rarely wake up for a dreamfeed, but I was not cautions to not wake her. If she woke, she woke.
Use the Pacifier
Pacifier. Hogg says so long as you don’t turn it into a prop, you can use the pacifier to wean baby off the nighttime feed. You basically use the pacifier in place of breast or bottle when they wake, cutting down sucking time each night. See Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for more.
Wait Before Going In
Don’t rush in. Babies sleep fitfully. Do not respond to every noise you hear. It took me a long time to learn this with Brayden, and I was really good about it with Kaitlyn and my other girls. Give baby a chance to work things out on her own.
Related Night Sleep Posts
- 5-6 AM “Night” Wakings
- Day/Night Confusion
- How to Get Your Child to Sleep In Later in the Morning
- How I Got My Baby To Sleep 9 Hours by 8 Weeks Old
- Nightime Sleep Issues–Revised and Updated
- Sleeping Through the Night: A Tale of Four Children
- What to Do When Your Baby Is Not Sleeping Through the Night
- Ultimate Guide to Stopping Baby Poop at Night
—–>>>Get your copy of The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer here
Reader Night Sleep Comments/Advice
- The Grovers said…
Hogg’s pacifier suggestion really worked for us. At the time 5-8 weeks, our daughter was sleeping in the bassinet right next to our bed at night. When she would wake up in the night, I would reach over and give the pacifier. If she soothed herself back to sleep, then I knew she was not waking out of hunger. If she couldn’t, I would get up and feed her. With this method, she very quickly extended her nighttime sleep and was sleeping through the night by 7.5 weeks and we moved her into her room a few weeks later.
September 23, 2008 6:31 PM
Thanks Grovers–that is good to hear a success story of the method.
September 24, 2008 1:53 PM
- Megan 🙂 said…
Hi! We had a very similar success story as the Grovers with the pacifier. 🙂 Now we’re working on weaning her off the getting up in the middle of the night for the paci! Not so much fun… anyone have any tips? CIO did NOT work. BUT this method allowed us to go from 11p.m. – 6 a.m. from Week 5! She was never really hungry in the middle of the night and because we used the pacifier, the breast was never a sleep aid… i.e. my sweet hubby can help with the middle of the night wake-ups. Now my three month old sleeps consistently from 8 p.m – 6 a.m. with one 5 second wake up at 4 a.m. for pacifier insertion. Not ideal, but works for us! Thanks for posting this – such an important topic for new moms!
September 24, 2008 3:40 PM
Megan, the only thing I could think of for you would be to give her some time when she wakes to see if she would go back to sleep on her own. I understand the trickiness of the situation. If you don’t catch her quickly, she will be fully awake. However, at this point it might be time to do CIO and drop the paci in the night.
September 29, 2008 1:04 PM
Reader Night Sleep Questions:
- Volkov Family said…
Advice Please…First off, what is considered sleeping through the night? How many hours and from what hour to what hour? Here is my situation-My son is almost 4 months and we do the eat, wake, sleep, but he rarely sleeps more than 45m-1.5 hrs. which makes it hard to do a straight 3 hr schedule. He wakes in the 5 a.m. hour and I feed him and put him back to sleep. Then he wakes or I wake him at 7:30. He then feeds 10:30, 12:30, 3:30, 6:30 and before bed at about 7:30/8 p.m.(It keeps getting earlier.) I would like to cut out one of his feedings, but I don’t know how. I would like him to go past 5 a.m., but he seems pretty insistent on it. If I got him on a true 3 hr. plan, then we would have our last feeding at 7:30 p.m. naturally. But at this point his p.m. feedings are pretty much set in stone. What would you suggest? I would intro a dream feed if I knew it would take him til 6:30/7 a.m.(though so far the times I have tried it, it has made no difference), but I don’t want to start another bad habit since he is already waking at 5 a.m. and I want to break him of that. But asking him to go 6:30-6:30 is a bit much and I doubt he would sleep 11 of those 12 hours. Suggestions?
September 23, 2008 9:11 PM
Volkov Family,The definition of true STTN for you will vary. What BW considers to be STTN initially is sleeping 7-8 hours straight. As they get older (about 4ish months), the requirement goes up to about 10 hours straight, eventually baby will sleep anywhere from 10-12 hours straight. I personally in my head don’t consider my kids to sleep through the night until they are sleeping about 9-10 hours–if they wake up at all before I want to get up for good, that is night to me.It sounds like he is technically sleeping through the night, and sleeping the right number or hours for the age. I would just hang in there, and in the meantime, see this post:Early Morning Feedings Before Waketime
September 29, 2008 1:02 PM
- Mark and Janna said…
My daughter (now 8 weeks) slept through the night a few times starting around 6 weeks. I finally figured out that she was going through a growth spurt during that time, and the extra feeding during the day allowed her to sleep all night, so I decided to add a feeding to her day, which means we are on a 2.5 hour schedule instead of 3. But it worked! She sleeps straight to 7:30 in the morning after her dream feed at 10:30. But now my question is when do I put her back on the 3 hour schedule? She has always eaten every 3 hours since birth, but only now has been sleeping through the night with the 2.5 hour schedule. Should I change it slowly? I don’t want to push it because I love that she is sleeping all night, yet I think for her age she should be able to go 3 hours.
September 25, 2008 11:38 AM
Janna, you might have to keep it for a while. Babies her age usually can only do 7-8 hours straight, and she is doing about 9. For that reason, she might need a 2.5 hour schedule where other babies her age would be fine on 3. I would leave her there until she reached the age for 9 hours of sleep at night (see this post: Babywise Milestones) or you are sure she needs to go 3 hours rather than 2.
September 29, 2008 1:07 PM
- ange77 said…
Please help!! My baby is now 7 months old and I have been following a Babywise routine since she was a few days old. She was sleeping through the night at 5 weeks (with her last feed sometime around 11pm) but has just started waking in the night again now. I breastfeed her 4 times a day.. at 6am when she wakes naturally, 10am, 2pm and 6pm, with solids offered after each feed. She goes to bed between 7pm to 8pm and up until about a week ago, was sleeping through the night no problem until 6am. She is now waking almost every night, usually only once, but last night, she woke twice. It does not seem to be the same time each night that she wakes. When she wakes, I feed her one side, and she happily goes straight back to sleep again, no problem. I have tried just picking her up to soothe her in the night as I am afraid that if I get in the habit of giving a breastfeed at night, then it will become a habit, but this doesn’t work! She just cries louder when I try putting her back down again. I am anxious to get my baby back in to her routine, as we are going on holiday in 2 weeks, and I am leaving her with my mum for 12 days!! Will feel much happier going if she is sleeping through the night again… please help!!! She is teething at the moment, but I don’t know if this is causing her to wake, because she goes back to sleep happily after a feed, without requiring any pain medication. Do I need to change my daytime routine.. perhaps go back to 5 feeds? Lately, she tends to wake about half an hour to an hour prior to her next scheduled feed during the day. She is quite happy to wait for her feed, but this means that we are not following the sleep, feed, wake cycle during the day anymore. I have tried extending her waketime but she gets too tired. I have read the Babywise book a couple of times, but can’t find an answer to my problem!! Would be grateful for any advice please!!
October 3, 2008 1:39 PM
It definitely could be the teething. I might go back to 5 feeds just to be sure. Also, see this post:5-8 Month Sleep Disruptions
October 6, 2008 3:10 PM
- Kate and Robbie said…
I am really at a loss. We have been putting our almost 6 month old down every night with the same routine…and we dropped a feeding cause we think that he is large enough to last through the night (18lbs). It has been almost 2 months now and he still wakes up 2 a night screaming. Once at 1 am and once about 4 am. We just let him CIO, cause that is what we were told to do, but he still hasn’t learned. What are we doing wrong??
October 10, 2008 10:21 AM
Kate, my guess would be that he is waking for reasons that can’t be fixed with CIO. See these posts:Nighttime Sleep Issues and 5-8 Month Sleep Disruptions
October 21, 2008 1:15 PM
- Amber said…
Hi! I’ve been reading the blog for a while and love it. Thanks! I have a question for you. Daytimes are going ok for us; we have a good 3-hour schedule in place for our 10-week-old (though it gets messed up occasionally for church or when we have a sitter). Nights, however, are difficult. He’s still waking every 3 hours, sometimes every 2 hours, or even less. It’s not consistent, but it is frustrating. The closer to morning it is, the closer the waking intervals. Is it reasonable at this age to expect him to drop a feeding? Also, if we try to use a pacifier when he wakes at night, at what point do we give up and assume it’s hunger? It seems like once he wakes up, he gets really worked up no matter what we do and won’t go back to sleep. Thanks so much!!
October 10, 2008 3:36 PM
Amber, I would say most 10 week olds who aren’t STTN have only one feeding. After a couple of nights of pacifier not working (maybe 3), I would assume it is hunger. But if it is hunger, he will most likely wake up soon after falling back asleep.
October 21, 2008 1:17 PM
Hi, it’s me again. Our little guy is almost 4 months old now, and still waking several times at night. Waketime is 7am, and his last feeding before bed is 7pm….bedtime 7:30-ish. Sometimes he’ll sleep for 4 hours after bedtime, sometimes less; but then for the rest of the night he wakes up every 3 hours or even less. When I tried using the pacifier, he would either not calm back down or wake up in 20 minutes, and then eat as if he’s really hungry. I’m pretty sure he could drop that last night feeding because he’s not too hungry at 7am, but I don’t know how. Trying to feed for less time at night resulted in him waking up again after an hour or so. Any other ideas? Anything that we could be doing differently? Or is he just not ready to sleep through the night? i really don’t want bad habits to develop. Thanks!!
November 24, 2008 11:17 AM
Amber, it sounds like he isn’t ready. Since he is waking shortly after a small meal, it sounds like he needs it. 4 months is also a huge growth time, so keep that in mind.
December 1, 2008 11:17 AM
Hi! I’ve been reading comments and your responses, and have found lots of helpful information. Shortly after my last post, our 4-month-old started sleeping all the way from the 11pm dreamfeed to 7 a.m. We had a glorious few weeks of that, but then the holidays, an ear infection, a cold, and learning to roll over made him start waking up frequently. It’s been a couple of weeks now, and whenever he rolls over he gets stuck and wakes up. We are working so hard during the day to get him to roll back (from tummy to back). He usually wakes every 20-45 minutes starting at 4 a.m. (we roll him back over each time)…by 6am he’s fully awake and probably too hungry to go back to sleep! Do we just have to wait this out? Any suggestions from anyone? Thanks! Have a great day!
January 10, 2009 11:15 PM
Amber, see this post: Nap Disruptions: Rolling, Standing, Crawling, etc
4 month Sleep Problems
January 16, 2009 11:22 AM
- Amy said…
Hello,I have a question on what we should do with our 9 week old son. I was so hoping he’d be sleeping through the night (7-8 hours) by now, but he’s still not. He usually wakes up around 4ish for a feeding. I’ve tried giving him the paci sometimes but it usually doesn’t work. I noticed that sometimes he’s only getting 7 feedings a day, instead of 8, like you say they should have until they are STTN. By the way, he’s being formula fed (breastfeeding didn’t work out like I hoped it would!). How important do you think it is for him to get 8 feedings a day? Do you think that might be why he’s still waking up for one feeding in the middle of the night? I just hate waking him up from naps during the day. Ha! Also, do you think it’s ok to go in and give him his paci at that 45 min mark of a nap? Our son seems to wake up A LOT when that 45 min mark hits and sometimes he can go back to sleep but sometimes not. Like when he wakes up, there’s no turning back for him. That’s why I try to give him teh paci so he’ll keep sleeping. Is that ok? Thanks for your advice. And I think you’re doing a great job with the blog, by the way!
October 28, 2008 7:17 AM
It’s me again. I read the blog entry on early morning feeding and suggestions. I’m going to pay attention to his first feeding of the day for the next couple of days, and see if he really needs it. If not, then I’m going to try your suggestion on feeding him less. Great idea!!! I’d still love your advice about the naps…
October 28, 2008 2:54 PM
Amy, the more calories he gets in the day, the less he will need at night. I would try for 8 a day until he STTN. You can try the paci at 45 minutes. I would be careful and be watchful. You don’t want it to become something he needs long-term, but it could be something short-term that would help him.
October 29, 2008 9:23 PM
- Lucie said…
Hi! Again, thank you so much for your time and effort! You are playing a VITAL role helping me work out the kinks of teaching good sleep habits to my Little Man. My Little Man is 10 weeks old. He is wonderful Little Guy with a great disposition. He is exclusively being bottle fed. He is taking 5-6 ounces every three hours during the day. His bedtime is 7/7:30. He goes down very well for bedtimes and naps and we have been CIO since I spoke with you ast (about 5 weeks). He does great and is rarely having episodes when he cries extensively. (He does have episodes at the one hour mark after he is put down at night or nap time where he will cry for a short period but then settles himself back down.) My questions lie in getting him to sleep through the night. Collin goes down at 7/7:30. We then get him out of bed for a “dreamfeed” at 10/10:30. He does not wake up for this and only will take 2 or 3ounces when he normally takes 5 or 6 when he is awake. I have tried to wake him up and he will not wake up for this feed. He was consistently waking at 2:30 for a couple weeks and is now waking at 3 or 3:30. He then wakes at 5:30 or 6. I want his “waketime” to be 6:30 am. I am lost as to what to do to get him to STTN.1) Should I continue to get him up for a dreamfeed even though he only takes 2 or 3 ounces or should I just let him sleep from 7/7:30 and see how long he goes? My fear there is that if he goes 8 hours from 7:30 that would still have me getting up at 3:30 which (obviously) is not ideal! 8 hours from 10 or 10:30 is much better for Mommy! LOL 2) Should I continue to feed him at the 2:30/3:00 feed as well as the 5:30/6 feed? If not which should I drop and how should I drop it? Should I drop it cold turkey or make him strech it more since this is what he seems to be doing naturally?I am just not sure where to go form here! I look forward to hearing from you!
November 3, 2008 5:30 PM
Hi Val, I posted a question a few days ago on this thread. I also have a couple of updates to my question that may lead to different suggestions from you.Since the last post I have been able to get Collin (my very tired, not awake DFeeder) to take a full 6 ounce feed most night at 9:30 or 10 o’clock. It takes me a long while (like a solid hour) to get him to take it but he has most nights. He then has been sleeping till 4 or 5 am. This causes an issue with not taking a full feeding at his 6:30 wake time.The nights when he hasn’t taken a full feed (only 2 or 3 ounces) he wakes at 1:30-2:30. This stinks because it is a VERY middle of the night feed.My new questions are:1) Do I continue to wake him for the DF and just cross my fingers that he takes more than 2-3 ounces (even though it is taking him an hour to get a full feed down when he takes it) since it results in a longer night sleep? Then I will just have to work on the Early Waking.2) Do I try skipping the DF and see what happens? Since he wakes at 2 or so when he only takes 2-3 ounces at the DF I am guessing skipping the DF will result in a middle of the night feed at 2:30 or so. This would save me from getting him out of bed for just a possible 2-3 ounces feeding. I could be wrong and he may surprise me and sleep longer– should I try it? 3) Each of the above situations results in its own issues which then need to be fixed so I would love to know what option to go with… Thanks again Val!!!
November 10, 2008 1:16 PM
Lucie, I am sorry I am so late. I didn’t see your question until now. I would probably try skipping the DF and see what happens, but know that at his age at best you can expect 11 hours of sleep (since he is bottlefed), but 9-10 would also be acceptable for him. If he went to 9, that will put him waking at 4. This isn’t a problem as far as he goes, but might be for you.My guess is the same as yours that since when he eats well at the DF he sleeps longer that he actually needs that food to get him through. Some do sleep longer though, and I have a friend who says it doesn’t hurt to try it. Really any of your “fixes” are acceptable. You are just going to have to decide which one you prefer. He isn’t old enough to make it 12 hours yet. It is possible for 11, but it doesn’t sound like he is quite ready. Pick which solution is best for you.
December 1, 2008 10:42 AM