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Baby Sleeping Through the Night: Top Tips to Make it Happen. These tips are from real moms who have been there. Get baby to sleep through the nighttime.
While a baby will not sleep through the night util he or she is read to do so, there are several steps you can take to help enable baby to be ready as fast as possible. Sleeping through the night is not just a wait it out game; there are simple things you can do to help baby sleep through the night.
Defining Sleeping Through the Night
Before you aim for a goal of “get baby to sleep through the night,” you need to first define that for yourself. For most people, they do not call it sleeping through the night unless baby is sleeping at least eight hours without waking. Some may even take it so far as 10-12 hours straight.
How to Get Baby Sleeping Through the Night
Even a newborn can sleep through the night if you take the eight hour definition. A baby as young as 7-8 weeks old can sleep 7-8 hours at night without a feeding. While some newborns will sleep through the night (or STTN), there are definitely babies who are not ready to sleep through the night at that age. Even if you do everything “right” and apply all of the best tips, you might not have baby sleep through the night until 3-4 months old.
There are also babies with various medical difficulties that make it so your infant will not sleep through the night until six months old or older.
The first year is the time to set up healthy sleep habits for your little one. The sooner you start to implement healthy sleep habits, the better for baby all around. Also, the sooner you start, the sooner baby will sleep through the night.
I asked moms of babies who slept through the night early what they thought their success was. Here are the top tips from real moms to get your baby sleeping through the night.
Have Consistent Days
By far, the most common comment from moms was to have consistency. Consistent days, consistent feedings, consistent waktime lengths, consistent daily schedules…keep everything consistent. For help getting a consistent schedule, see my post Getting a Consistent Schedule.
Margaret said: “I followed Babywise with all 5 of my kids (and this is part of the reason I was able to have 5 kids in 8 years!). Eat/wake/sleep from the get go, dream feed around 11, CIO when necessary, consistency is key! All my kids slept 12 hours by 8-10 weeks and were nap champions. Even my now 9 year old loves her sleep and still sleeps 10-11 hours. Babywise just seems like second nature – happy babies and happy parents!”
Lindsay said: “A consistent schedule, waking them up during the day, making sure they are getting FULL feedings and not snacking, getting them down for their naps within the appropriate window of time so they are not overstimulated, and following the eat-wake-sleep cycle!”
Lissa said: “Lol I’m on #4. First 3 followed babywise timeline and slept through the night at 8,12,and 14 weeks. 4 is 19 weeks and is still not sleeping through the night! Due to a couple colds he is thinking he needs to get up every 2 hours😳. Getting all prepped for some CIO nights soon!”
Maggie said: “consistency, consistency, consistency. Even when it made no sense: consistency.”
Alyssa said: “Consistency. Always. Bedtime routines, feeding times, food, time of day, deciding when to go back to her if needed… my eldest was a nightmare sleeper but routines got us through!”
Rebecca said: “By being persistent with that cycle: sleep, eat, wake…. I woke her to eat during the day when it was time to eat, despite the crazy looks I got from people who should have minded …….😉. She slept 8 hours a night by a month, and it wasn’t her personality. It was babywise! Oh yeah, and sleep training didn’t hurt breastfeeding for us. I made her stop bfing at two years old.”
Jen said: “Getting the daytime routine down to a science, CIO, and making sure she was fed well!”
Hanne said: “Consistency!!!”
Tara said: “Consistency, black out everything, right amount of sleep/awake time, and not giving into every little cry.”
Keep Nighttime Feedings Inconsistent
Your baby will need to eat in the night, at least for the first couple of months. Carrie had a unique idea for feeding baby at night.
Carrie said: “Never feeding at the same time or earlier as I did the night before.”
Get Full Feedings
Baby can’t not eat at night if baby isn’t getting full feedings during the day. Be sure baby is getting a full feeding and feed baby on a consistent schedule. Typically, you will feed a baby every two and a half to three hours. Feeding a sleepy newborn isn’t always easy. See my post How to Feed a Sleepy Newborn for help.
Elizabeth said: “Full feedings & E/W/S” (Eat/Wake/Sleep Cycle)
Bethany said: “Consistency and Full feedings! And Jesus! Haha”
Chandra said: “Full feeds and a consistent schedule- I so wish I knew about this before my first, I was late (4mths) when we started babywise with him and it took a month to get on track but it literally saved us, lol my second and third we started from the beginning and both were sleeping through (most days) before the three month mark :). They should teach this in school! Xo”
Sarah said: “Full feedings and putting to sleep awake”
Wake Baby to Eat During the Day
Alyson said: “I started my daughter at 4 weeks, by waking her during the day for feedings and then letting her wake in her own at night. I had so many friends tell me that their child’s days and nights were confused. By waking during the day, I was able to get in enough calories so night sleep eventually stretched longer and longer. The dream feed also worked well. We were skeptical of it at first, but my daughter was naturally waking at midnight anyway. So I’d do a dream feed around 10pm, which allowed her to skip the midnight feeding and wake around 3am for the next feeding. My daughter was a preemie and we took special care the first month. She was sleeping through the night (8:30p-7a with 10pm dream feed) at 12 weeks!!!”
Have a Consistent Morning Wakeup Time
This is one of the key tips for people to pay attention to. The importance of it often gets overlooked. Babies sleep a lot. It can be hard to wake your sleeping baby in the morning, especially if you want to sleep in. Get baby up at the same time each day if you want to have baby sleeping through the night.
Erica said: “I did everything you suggested except the dreamfeed. When my kids naturally wanted to start pushing that feeding back, I just let them. But all 3 were sleeping 11.5-12 hours between 14-16 weeks. But having a consistent wake up time and bedtime, waking to feed during the day, and appropriate wake times are what I attribute to my kids sleeping so well so early on. I hate the phrase ‘never wake a sleeping baby’ 🙄 I’m like yeah, I like my sleep at night, thanks 😆”
Teach Baby to Self-Soothe
Every 45 minutes, baby transitions through sleep cycles. If baby can put him/herself to sleep alone, he is more likely to go right back to sleep at that transition rather than wake up with need to help fall back asleep.
Beth said: “Putting him down BEFORE he was asleep. I rocked him like a crazy woman for the 1st 2 weeks and he cried and cried. Got Babywise from the library and read it in one day. Put him down on his own that very night and he was so relieved to not be rocking he went right to sleep. By 12 weeks I would put him down at 7pm, do a dream feed at 11pm and he’d sleep until 7am. CONSISTENCY!”
Sarah said: “Mine slept through the night at 7 weeks. I would say putting him down before he was asleep and consistency were the keys. Even when he’s teething and struggles with having good naps, he still sleeps through the night. We also made sure the house was bright and did not keep the house quiet during the day (except for the room he’s napping in), and at night we keep the lights low and noise levels very soft. It helped him distinguish between night and day early on.”
Renae said: “Always (or at least almost always) lay them down to sleep rather than holding, swing, etc. Don’t run in at any little noise they make while sleeping. They might just be making a little noise and resettling, not always hungry.”
For help with sleep training, see these posts:
- Sleep Training: The Four S’s
- How to Use the Extinction Method for Sleep Training
- Everything You Need to Know About Cry It Out
- CIO Bootcamp: Revised and Updated
- 5 Sleep Training Tips
- 6 Rules for Using Cry It Out as a Baby Sleep Training Method
- The Big List of Sleep Training Resources
Find the Best Bedtime
A consistent bedtime is as important as a consistent morning wakeup time.
Kristen said:” For us, it was the later bed time. He’d eat at 8pm. then have another wake sleep cycle and we got him up at 11pm to eat. He started sleeping 7 hours and then we started gradually pulling back bed time. Now he’s 8 months and sleeps 11 hours, 8:30-7:30!”
Create a Good Sleep Environment
Brittany said: “Mine both slept through the night by 3 weeks after their due dates. I always swaddled and put them down awake in their own rooms. Actually the first month they stayed in our room but once we put them in their own rooms they started sleeping all night. I honestly think My husband’s snoring would wake them up.”
Katie said: “One nap a day in crib from very beginning”
Jessica said: “Move baby out of your room.”
See these posts for help on setting up a sleep environment:
- Can it be too hot to sleep?
- Dressing Baby for Sleeping
- Optimal Internal Temp=Optimal Sleep
- Some Like it Hot (Sleep, that is)
Get Rid of Gas Pain
Jolene said: “Work out the gas! All three of my babies have had some sort of issue with swallowing lots of air while nursing. So right from the start, as soon as they were up from a nap, I’d work out the gas. Pump the legs, knees to the chest, rub tummy, burp… then feed. Keep awake for a full feeding. Down early enough for a good nap.”
Read How to Help a Baby With Gas Pain for help.
These tips will help your baby sleep through the night. As your little one reaches developmental milestones, they can sometimes set baby’s sleep back a bit, but baby will quickly get back on track.