Parent Time

How Do I Get My Baby to Sleep Through the Night Without Needing a Feeding?

Anyone who's sat with a teething baby can tell you there's no surefire way of helping a baby go to sleep. For exhausted parents during the day, getting a child to sleep through the night is vital. After months of nursing, you can begin weaning your child at night, but if you start before your baby is ready, you'll be waking to the hungry screams of an infant. Experiment with sleeping habits and routines to find what works. You can't make schedules for sleeping babies, but you can note patterns in the times your baby is most likely to be sleepy.

After the first six months, night weaning is an option. Check with your pediatrician or the La Leche League for details.

Create the Right Environment

You can't train a child to sleep through the night, but you can make sure conditions are right for sleeping. The room should be quiet, dimly lit, warm enough but not stuffy. You may unwind by rocking, singing, a warm bath or by lying together on your bed or couch. Modern toys and bed options promise to put the baby to sleep for you, but you also need a loving routine. You can incorporate the breathing or singing teddy bear into your child's nighttime, but first create the security and calm that helps your infant sleep.

Change Your Own Plans before Trying to Change Your Child

Sometimes a baby won't go to sleep because he just isn't tired! Parents may try to get a baby to sleep because they're wiped out, or have a meeting or need to take an important call, but these attempts will fail if the baby isn't sleepy. To maximize your child's chances of sleeping through the night, arrange your own schedule around the times your baby sleeps naturally. If you're breast feeding, you may find you child dozes off after the second feeding of the day, but is wide awake for the third. Plan your free time after the second feeding. Change your own plans before trying to change your baby's instincts: you can reason and plan, but your baby can't.

When Do Babies Sleep through the Night?

Some babies start sleeping all night at around five or six months: others will wake frequently even once they're toddlers. The child's temperament has something to do with it: some kids are more restless and more easily awakened than others. Some children always struggle with sleeping, and unfortunately, the more stressed parents become by not getting any sleep of their own, the more turmoil is created in the child. Get as comfortable as possible, and wait it out.

Routines and Crying It Out

Creating habits around bedtime helps your child learn to wind down: a routine of a snack, a story, a cuddle and a song sets the expectation that now is the time for resting. Taking turns with your partner to put the baby to bed means you can spell each other from night to night, and your child won't associate only one of you with going to sleep. The more people who can successfully put the baby to bed, the better!

Some experts have advocated letting the baby "cry it out", and for some babies, this works. You put the child down and leave the room; the baby cries for a few minutes and then drifts off to sleep. But some children become more and more upset: when this happens, he can work himself into a rage. If your baby cries for more than ten minutes after being put down to sleep, you will have to try another tack.

Other Possible Causes of Sleeplessness

Teething
Hunger
Distraction
Upset parent
Too many naps
Too warm or cold
Colic or stomach ache
Ear infection

Continue reading more baby tips about Baby Feeding Scedule

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