I frequently hear from other moms that their children aren’t good sleepers. That still, at 5-years-old, their child is not sleeping through the night. Now, I do believe that some children are better sleepers than others; however, there are things we can do to help teach our children to sleep, and it can be started as soon as they come home from the hospital. You don’t have to be one of those parents who is exhausted because their child doesn’t sleep. There are things you can do to set your baby up with good sleep habits from birth, and I’m going to walk you through it below.
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Find the Right Resources
There are many books, blogs, and methods concerning babies and sleep. Read all of the books and articles you can while pregnant. I could overload you with information but I want to keep it simple in this post. My top book recomendations are On Becoming Babywise, and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Babywise will help you get a schedule and routine down, and Healthy Sleep Habits will help you understand everything you need to know about sleep and babies.
If you’re looking for even more books to read, Babywise Mom has an extensive list of the best sleep training books.
Establish a Good Sleep Environment
Think about when you get the best nights sleep. It’s probably not when you have noisy neighbors or are too hot. The same goes for your baby. Set them up for success sleeping by having a great sleep environment. For newborns, this means making sure the room isn’t too hot or cold, a good swaddle, and sound machine. We have had great sucess with all 3 of our babies sleeping in the rock n play but any bassinet or crib is fine.
Get Them On a Schedule
Newborns need to eat every 2.5-3 hours. Aim for feeding them every 3 hours. If your baby starts to eat at 7, start to feed them again at 10. If they seem fussy before 2.5 hours, try another way to comfort them. If that doesn’t work, by all means, 100% feed them early. Babies go through growth spurts and sometimes definitely do need to eat more frequently. The point of feeding them ever 3-hours is so that they don’t get in the habit of ‘snacking.’ You want them to have a full feed so that their bellies are full enough to take a good nap.
This is a great post about starting a baby on a schedule from day 1.
Eat, Play, Sleep
After they eat, it’s play time! Play time for newborns is really just a diaper change and some snuggles or singing before it’s nap time. It’s extremely important to not overstimulate your baby. A newborn will only be able to handle being awake for 30-50 minutes at a time. More about the eat, play, sleep routine here.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that if you keep your baby awake all day, they will sleep at night. The opposite is true. An overstimulated, overtired baby will not sleep. Good daytime sleep will lend itself to good night time sleep.
Put Them To Bed Drowsy, But Still Awake
Once your baby is ready for a nap, swaddle them and put them down for a nap. It is very common for newborns to fall asleep everywhere and it is totally fine to hold and cuddle them when they are sleeping. However, I do suggest that you place them in their crib or bassinet a few times a day so that they get used to sleeping on their own.
Help Them Establish Day From Night
During the day, talk to your baby during and after they eat. Try to keep them awake for some playtime after. During the night, keep the lights off or dimmed, and put them right back to bed after they eat.
Consistency is so important. It may seem like what you’re doing isn’t working, but it takes time. Babies aren’t born ready to sleep through the night. It’s something that must be worked towards, and I promise you… your baby WILL sleep through the night.
I hope that this post is helpful. Sleep is sooo important and the sooner you start helping your baby sleep, the easier it will be for them to get a good nights sleep. Good daytime sleep will lend itself to good nighttime sleep. You got this, mama!
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other helpful posts on sleep:
This entire week, the ladies of the BFBN are all blogging about sleep… our favorite topic! Here is the schedule below.
- Chronicles of a Babywise Mom: How to Solve Sleep Problems in Toddlers and Preschoolers – Monday
- Twin Mom and More: How to Establish Good Sleep Habits from Birth – Tuesday
- Let’s Be Brave: How To Transition To One Nap – Tuesday
- Mama’s Organized Chaos: How to Know if Your Child is Ready to Drop to No Naps – Wednesday
- Team Cartwright: 7 Reasons I Want My Kids Awake After Bedtime – Wednesday
- Christine Keys: 5 Powerful Reasons Babywise is for All Kinds of Babies – Thursday
- Wiley Adventures: Thursday
- The Journey of Parenthood: How to Tell if You Have a High Sleep Needs or Low Sleep Needs Baby – Friday