How I Get My Babies to Sleep Through the Night
How to get your baby to sleep through the night — that is definitely one of the first things a sleep-deprived new mom wants to know!
First of all, can I just say that I have never understood that thing called “Mommy Wars”?
Why in the world do women get upset because they parent their kids one way and another mom parents hers differently?
I mean, that just really confuses me as to why that's a big deal. Whatever works for one mom is not what works for another mom. So what?
That being said, I'm sharing today how I get my babies to sleep through the night. If it's not what works for you, that's okay. But for some of you who are desperate for a good night's sleep and you think this is something you'd like to try, here's the info.
The main thing that I have done is to put my babies on a feeding and sleeping schedule from the day they are born.
I'm not talking about taking this to the extreme and making your baby scream because it's 2:30 and he's not scheduled to eat until 3:00.
Here's a basic rundown of a typical schedule for a newborn in my house:
7 am- first feeding of the day; play until sleepy; nap until next feeding time
10 am – feed; wake time; sleep
1 pm – feed; wake time; sleep
4 pm – feed; wake time; sleep
7 pm – feed; wake time; sleep
10 pm – last feeding for the evening, go straight to bed for the night
During the day, I wake the baby when it's time to eat if he's still napping.
I can't believe you would wake up a sleeping baby! Why don't you just enjoy the quiet?
In my experience it has always been worth it to do it this way. It helps the baby develop a routine, and pretty soon they begin to feel hungry or sleepy at the times you have scheduled. It works extremely well for me, especially since I have a lot of responsibilities at church. I can have the peace of mind that my baby is not going to be hungry while I'm in the middle of trying to play the piano for the service.
When I put the baby down for the night, I don't wake him up until he wakes up on his own. I feed him however many times he wakes up during the night, and in the morning, I try to get him right back on schedule for the day by feeding him around 7 am. If he wakes up at 6:30 hungry, I'll go ahead and feed him and then try to gradually get him back on schedule the rest of the day. For instance, the next feeding time is at 10 am, but he'll probably start getting hungry around 9:30. I can probably hold him off with a pacifier or some other distraction until 9:45, and do the same thing at the next couple feedings until he's back on schedule. If the whole day stays off by 15 – 30 minutes, though, it's not really that big of a deal. I want to be clear and state again that I'm not an advocate of taking the schedule to an extreme and letting baby scream just because it's not time to eat yet. Gently holding him off for a few minutes is an entirely different thing.
When baby is on a routine like this, I always know exactly what he needs. All I have to do is look at the clock to know if he's crying because he's hungry or because he's tired. I have known several families who have followed similar schedules with their babies, and their babies are some of the most easy-going and easy-to-care-for babies I have seen.
After the first 8 – 10 weeks, all 3 of the babies I've had so far have slept through the night. When they are on a consistent routine, their bodies easily adjust to knowing that nighttime is for sleeping and daytime is for eating, playing, and napping.
I keep them in a bassinet in my room until they start sleeping through the night, then I move them to their own room. I have a high need for sleep, and I'm just an all-around better mommy when I get plenty of rest without baby noises keeping me awake. Again, if that's not what you like to do, that's okay too. Do what works for you.
I used the book On Becoming Babywise to help me figure out what type of schedule to make for my babies at different ages. It was helpful to know how often they needed to be eating and sleeping in order to be healthy. I know the book in its entirety is somewhat controversial, but I found the practical info invaluable.
As I've said several times, I know there is not one right way to parent, and all parents will find that different things work better for them.
I've shared what works for me because I was so grateful that someone did the same for me before my first child was born. I had no clue you could help a baby get on a routine. I thought you had to wait until they got themselves on a schedule and play every day by ear. I thought that all babies wanted to nurse all day long and never be put down. That is so not me. I love my babies, and I spend plenty of cuddle time with them, but I would just be one worn out mama if I carried them around and nursed them all day. (Some mama's love it – go superwoman!)
Our days generally run fairly smoothly even when I have a newborn in the house. I know for the most part when they'll be eating and when they'll be sleeping and I can plan my day accordingly. (I hope I'm not shooting myself in the foot by saying these things because I still have 2 more weeks before the newest one will be born! Hopefully he/she won't be the exception!) *Update: Our new baby slept through the night by 6 weeks!
Mama, if you're tired, I sincerely hope you'll find a way to get some rest – whether it's the way I do it or another way that works for you.
Leave a comment and let us know your struggles and/or what works for you!
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