This is one of the two most common questions I get asked on a daily basis! (The other one is listed at the end of this post.)
The answer to, “How do you get a baby to sleep through the night?” depends on several factors:
- Your child’s age. The ultimate goal of ” helping your baby to sleep through the night” is different at each age:
- NEWBORN – Because of their authentic need for food in the night, a good stretch of sleep might be anywhere from 1-3 hours between feedings.
- INFANT (4-9 months) – By the time your baby reaches 4-6 months old the time between feedings can lengthen. At this age I work with moms towards establishing a “focal feed”. This feeding happens as close to midnight as possible. This is when you can expect your baby to sleep in 5-7 hour stretches of uninterrupted sleep. At 4-6 months of age there can also be an early morning feeding at 5:00 a.m. However I do recommend at around 6 months of age dropping this early morning feeding, as it starts to interrupt night sleep. Between 6 and 9 months of age you will notice that it is harder for your baby to return to sleep after this early morning feeding.
- TODDLER – (10 months – 2 years) – At this age your child is having solid food during the day along with breast feeding and/or bottles. Therefore unless there are other issues, it can can be a great time to night wean. Once solid food is introduced on a regular basis the overriding need to rest the digestive system is greater than the food need at night. This in itself will help you to get your baby to sleep through the night.
2. Your child’s weight – If your baby is a low birth weight infant, has reflux, or any developmental delays in sucking, then getting your baby to sleep through the night will take longer and we do not start working on a focal feed until later. However, once your child is gaining weight and taking in enough calories during the day we work toward a routine of the day around food and sleep. This routine supports both the calories needed and expectations around food to best ensure longer stretches of night sleep.
3. Your child’s developmental stage – Development affects sleep the most. How to work with each stage of development and maximizing sleep for that age is one of my specialties and a major consideration of Compassionate Sleep Solutions.
4. Your need for regulated sleep – of course the newborn stage of infancy is is truly ALL about baby. However as your baby grows and develops you may find that for several good reasons, you need more regulated sleep.
Rest assured your baby will sleep through the night. In fact if you can relax this will help your baby the most in his self regulation.
So…what is the second most common question I get asked on a daily basis?
How do I get my CRYING baby to sleep?
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