How To Get Your Baby To Sleep Through The Night

How To Get Your Baby To Sleep Through The Night

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  1. Sleep training is usually a challenge for new parents. Depending upon your parenting style and tolerance for crying, several different approaches exist to have you and your baby sleeping through the night. No matter which philosophy you believe in, sleep training can be successful with patience and the proper amount of time.

    Should I let my baby cry himself to sleep?

    Crying it out has been the common method suggested by pediatricians and has been traced back to 1895.  Many parents struggle to listen to their infant scream for (what seems like) hours. Some parents prefer rocking, holding, or cuddling their babies to sleep. Each method has pros and cons – crying it out, while difficult at first, tends to take only a few (long) nights. If you can tough it out, the cry it out method generally produces quick and reliable results to have you and your baby sleeping through the night in less than a week. 

    Rocking, cuddling, singing and holding your baby until he is sleeping are part of the philosophy of attachment parenting. Attachment parent is a child-centered approach to parenting. The belief behind attachment parenting is that a child knows and understands his needs, and parents need to tune into those needs and respond accordingly.

    The Ferberizing method of sleep training combines both philosophies. Created by Dr. Richard Ferber, ferberizing involves allowing your baby time to learn self-soothing skills while providing parental soothing. Soothing is done in 5- to 10-minute intervals, until your baby can soothe himself or herself to sleep. This method gives you the benefit of being there for your baby while promoting independent sleeping skills.

    Should I share a bed with my baby?

    Should your baby sleep in your bed or his crib?  Co-sleeping is a personal decision and has become more popular in recent years. Parents are utilizing bassinets, co-sleepers, and the family bed to eliminate sleep troubles. You may find reassurance in having your baby sleep next to you.  This method is not without cons; once your child is older (and mobile), special precautions need to be taken in order to keep your baby safe. Also, babies move, roll and kick in their sleep, which generally means less sleep for mom and dad.

    Safety is key when co-sleeping; keep the sleep space free of pillows, toys, or other objects that might obstruct an infant’s breathing. Bed rails will insure a child does not fall from a bed, and be sure to check spaces between mattresses and wall for any gaps.

    Setting up a sleep routine

    Naptime plays a major role in developing a positive sleep schedule. Allowing a child to nap too late or early interferes with his nighttime routine.  Look for signs your infant is tired – rubbing eyes, pulling ears, crying, or nodding off (always a sure sign he/she is tried). If you child naps too late in the evening or early in the morning, try pushing his nap back or ahead half an hour every day. Do this until he is sleeping at a time that does not interfere with his bedtime.

    Children may struggle to adhere to a consistent nap schedule.  If your child falls into this category, try to keep the sleep space and routine consistent.  A nighttime routine, regardless of time or place, helps infants make connections between activities related to sleep. A warm bath, good book, and nightcap bottle can bring on sweet dreams for Mommy, Daddy, and baby.

    Sleep training should not begin prior to four months of age, no matter what methods you make use of. Parents need to choose the methods most comfortable to them; do not use a sleep training method if you don’t believe in it. A method you don’t fully support will fail you and your infant. Patience is key, and by choosing the best method and sticking to it, you will be sleeping through the night before you know it.

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