Sleep training is not for every family but, it can be a very helpful for you and your babies well being. Eventually, every baby has to learn how to sleep on their own. Newborns and very young babies will cry in the middle of the night because they need a primal need to be met, they need to be fed, have their diaper changed, they are too hot or cold, etc.
But what if your baby is still waking up in the middle of the night, long after 3am feedings are no longer a necessity? What if your baby is still waking up in the middle of the night and she is six months or older? This can really be hard on the long-term sleep health of you and your family.
So how do you begin to unravel this nighttime drama?
Read on about sleep training for babies to help your baby (and you) sleep through the night.
Sleep Training for Babies: The First Steps
Some sleep training can begin right after your baby is born. Let’s start with some tips that you can use to help your little one develop healthy sleeping habits, at any stage.
1. Start sleep training for babies with a consistent sleep schedule. People love routines and babies are no different. Infants crave routine and stability. Your baby should have the same place to sleep every night, the same routine, and the same comforting technique. So if your child sleeps in the playpen one day and the crib the next, they can get confused. They can also get anxious. So if every night you put her down in the same place, surrounded by the same smells, with the same blanket, after a nightly bath, then this is a good start. Naptime should also have the same consistency.
2. Make sure your youngster is getting enough sleep. Children who do not get enough sleep during their regular bedtimes will not sleep well. Kids who are four to six months old need around 14 to 15 hours a day. This includes two naps and overnight, combined. Children who do not get enough sleep become irritable, may refuse to nap, learn to stay up later, and wake up more often in the middle of the night.
3. Reward good sleep habits and discourage the bad ones. Your little one learns that when he cries, he gets what he wants. He will continue to do that all through the night. So what does a parent do? Babies around six months old don’t need to be fed in the middle of the night. So make sure that your little darling eats enough during the day. Make sure your baby has a lot of activity between naptime and bedtime, but don’t overtire him. Your little tyke should be off to sleep on his own in no time.
4. Time to toss the pacifier. Another tool in our arsenal is getting rid of sleep aids. If you are rocking your baby to bed every time they need to sleep, then that is what she will expect when she is tired and ready for bedtime. Should she wake in the middle of the night, she won’t have the tools she will need to develop on her own for self-soothing. When you notice that your child is getting tired, but her to bed before she falls asleep. She will learn to fall asleep on her own. Even if she wakes up in the middle of the night, she will still know what to do.
When your child cries, it can be tough on you. Keep an eye on your baby, let him know you are there, but don’t give in to picking him up or feeding him. After three or four nights, he will learn to sleep on his own. Sleep training for babies is something that every parent will experience. Once everyone gets some uninterrupted nightly sleep, things will get easier. Just stick with it!