Are you wondering when your baby will finally start to sleep through the night? Are you exhausted from getting up multiple times in the night, feeding your baby and settling your baby back to sleep? Then this is for you, I decided to put together all my tips on how to get your baby to sleep through the night sooner.
There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to your baby's sleep, but these tips will help you to either achieve longer stretches of sleep overnight (younger babies that still need a feed) or get your older baby sleeping through the night (from 9 months the latest).
Look at your baby’s plate
What your baby eats plays a big factor for sleep and it is possible to improve your baby’s sleep with nutrition. The most important nutrients for healthy sleep are iron (red meat, beans, chicken, spinach), magnesium (avocado, bananas, lentils), omega 3 (fatty fish, nuts, and seeds), and calcium (milk, yogurt, cheese).
It’s also important to ensure that your baby gets most of their daily calorie needs met during the day, so ensure your baby has regular meals and milk feeds during the day and don’t let your baby sleep through a scheduled feed during the day.
It is also important not to offer solids too close to bedtime as your baby will be busy digesting food which can disrupt their sleep. Also be wary of offering too much fruit or meat protein at night as this can also disrupt night sleep.
Look at your baby’s naps
How long your baby naps during the day has a major impact on night sleep. If your baby naps too much during the day, sleep pressure won’t be high enough at night. If your baby naps too little during the day, they will get overtired and wake up frequently overnight and be ready to start the day early in the morning.
So keep your baby’s age appropriate awake windows in mind and put your baby down for a nap when they show tired signs.
Here’s roughly how much day time sleep your little one needs to sleep well at night.
Newborn: 6 hours
3 Months: 4.5 hours
4 -5 Months: 3.5 hours
6-7 Months: 3 hours
8-12 Months: 2.5 hours
This is a guide only as every baby is different but if your baby sleeps a lot more or less than this during the day and wakes up frequently overnight, I suggest making some tweaks to their naps.
Look at your baby’s sleep environment
Your baby’s sleep environment has a big impact on how well your bub will sleep. I recommend keeping the room pitch black dark (use blackout blinds/curtains, or tape black garbage bags to the windows), using white noise for all sleep (low rumbly at 60 decibels), and using a swaddle (up until 16 weeks or signs of rolling) or sleeping bag instead of blankets. Also keep the temperature in bub’s room between 18-20 degrees.
Look at your baby’s “jobs” overnight
Ensure that your baby doesn’t have a job to do when they wake up overnight. So if your baby has a dummy and is too young to learn how to find and replace it (usually younger than 6-8 months) I suggest getting rid of it cold turkey before it becomes a deeply ingrained sleep association.
Older babies, you can teach them how to find and replace the dummy so they don’t rely on you to put it back in every time it falls out.
Follow the below steps to teach your little one to find and replace, simply move on to the next step once your baby has mastered the previous one.
Start off by handing the dummy to your baby and guiding their hand to their mouth
Hand the dummy to your baby
Hand the comforter to your baby
Put the comforter on your baby’s chest
Pat the mattress where the dummy is
Also ensure to swaddle younger babies or use a sleeping bag for older babies so that your baby doesn’t wake up from being cold as blankets are easily kicked off and are also not safe to use in a cot.
To ensure that your baby doesn’t wake up because of a wet, leaky nappy, ensure that the last milk feed of the day is not too close to bedtime and ensure your baby is wearing the right sized nappy. You can also try putting on 2 nappies to ensure there is no leaking.
Look at how your baby falls asleep at bedtime
If your baby relies on you to fall asleep at the start of the night, they will also need you to go back to sleep when finishing a sleep cycle during the night. So ensure that your baby falls asleep where they wake up in the middle of the night and gradually wean bub off any dependent-based sleep associations (rocking, feeding, patting etc.) and replace them with more independent-based ones (white noise, swaddle, sleep sack etc.).
To make this easier you can start to follow the EASY routine during the day (eat, play, sleep, you time). So feed bub when they wake up from a nap, play, and then settle them to sleep when they show tired signs.
Need more guidance on how to establish healthy sleep habits with your baby? Do you feel lost and overwhelmed when it comes to settling your baby? Book in for a free 15 minute consultation now and find out how I can help you sleep again.