3 Tips for Restful Nights
One of the hardest parts of being a parent is all the sleep loss, especially in those early days. Newborns are notorious for waking many, many times in the night. If that’s the case for you right now then I suggest you feed your baby or attend to their needs when they wake in the night. There isn’t much you can do to curtail a newborn’s frequent night wakings. However, there is a lot more that can be done to improve nighttime sleep for a baby roughly 6 months old and older. Hopefully, my three tips for restful nights can help you and your baby’s nights be just that: restful.
Teach your baby to fall asleep independently
The issue of your baby waking frequently in the night can be pointed back to what’s happening at bedtime. Is baby’s bedtime routine calming? Is it too long? Too short? How does your baby actually get to sleep at bedtime? The answers to these questions can all spell frequent wakings in the night. Especially if your baby is using a prop to fall asleep. For example, a baby that is rocked to sleep will wake in the night and expect to be rocked back to sleep. After all, that baby doesn’t know any other way to get to sleep! A baby that can get to sleep without your help will have a much more restful night only waking when he/she is hungry. If he/she wakes prematurely or at the end of a sleep cycle he/she will have enough independent sleep skills to return to sleep without any help from you.
There is something about waiting 10 minutes that is for lack of a better word, magical! I have advised many clients to do this and have done it with my own child. I’ve seen the magical 10 unfold before my very eyes! One night when my daughter was about 2 years old, she had awakened in the night. It was bizarre because we normally didn’t hear a peep from her until morning! I was tempted to rush into her room but remembered that it’s best to give her some time to resettle herself. After 9 minutes and 30 seconds of crying/fussing, I got up to check on her. When my hand touched her doorknob at the 10-minute mark, the crying ceased! There is something to be said to give them the time and opportunity to sort things out on their own. Maybe 10 minutes is too long for you, that’s ok! As long as you can wait even 5 minutes, it can do wonders for your child in that they could return to sleep without your assistance making them that much better of a sleeper and your night’s that much more restful.
If you make a change, stick to it!
Generally speaking, most 6-month-old (or older) babies don’t need any feedings in the night. So let’s say you check with your baby’s pediatrician (always check with your child’s pediatrician) and you are given the ok to drop all night feeds. Perhaps the process of dropping night feeds has gone well and it’s been weeks of no wakings in the night. But suddenly, your child wakes in the night for 5 consecutive nights. Your first thought might be that your little one is hungry and you will probably be tempted to reintroduce a night feed or two. I strongly advise against this because one night feed can easily turn into two which can turn into three and before you know it you are up every 2 hours again! Instead, think about it logically. “My baby has gone (x) amount of days sleeping 11-12 consecutive hours in the night so I KNOW he/she can do it.” You can always feed your baby more the following day if you really think he/she was hungry. Sticking to the changes you make will make your baby feel secure and will help everyone in the family get a full night’s sleep. I hope these tips help make night wakings a thing of the best for you and yours. Sleep well!
Book a Free Discovery Call