Get Baby to Sleep!
That newborn of yours took a while to figure out the difference between night and day -- and you expected this. But you didn't anticipate that his whole first year could leave you feeling like you got a job working the graveyard shift. If sleep deprivation has you weeping into your coffee mug, take heart: It's possible to put an end to those 2 a.m. wake-up calls. Here’s how;
Wean Baby Off the Pacifier
Slumber-buster: Your baby loses his paci, again and again, waking him often.
Sleep-through solution: By 8 months, most Binky babies have the fine motor skills to put their pacifier back in their mouth -- a good thing since experts say using a night-time pacifier can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) during the first year. Until then, your choice is either to get rid of the pacifier altogether or to let your baby cry it out in the middle of the night. It might be really brutal, but eventually, your baby would be able to go to sleep with a pacifier and then not need it again.
Play White Noise Sounds
Slumber-buster: Slight noises -- even you clicking off a lamp -- wake your baby.
Sleep-through solution: Use a white-noise machine or a fan to create a gentle hum that masks other sounds.
Avoid Soothing Baby Too Long
Slumber-buster: It's 4 a.m., but your baby's ready to play.
Sleep-through solution: If she's going through a developmental growth spurt, like learning to crawl, she may be too excited about practicing her new skill to quickly fall back asleep. Be firm about the fact that night-time is not the time to play. But if she's crying, your baby may be experiencing separation anxiety, which usually comes with new motor development. When this happens more than 30 minutes before her typical wake-up time, soothe her for a few minutes, tell her you'll see her soon, then leave the room.
Stop the Night-time Feedings
Slumber-buster: Nursing is the only way your baby will go back to sleep.
Sleep-through solution: Putting the baby down sleepy but awake, then checking in every three minutes until she nodded off. Once you get the green light from your paediatrician to cease night feedings, you can slowly reduce them. If she's getting multiple bottles, eliminate one at a time over a four-day period. You can also try decreasing the amount of formula in each bottle. When she realizes that milk is no longer on the menu, your baby will stop angling for it.
Prepare Baby's Sibling First
Slumber-buster: You rush to your baby's side before he wakes his sibling.
Sleep-through solution: Running to your baby the second he sniffles can make him depend on your presence to fall back asleep. But it's hard to let him fuss if you're worried he'll wake the rest of the household. When the baby wakes up and so does your older child, soothe your big kid first. He's more likely to fall back asleep without a ton of added help, and you'll give the baby a chance to settle himself before soothing him. If you're in the thick of sleep training and anticipate a few gruelling nights, consider sending an older sibling to Grandma's during this time.
Follow this first-year guide to your baby's night-time zzz's to find out how many hours of p.m. sleep she needs at every age.
1 week old: 8 hours. Babies can sleep 16 to 18 hours a day. Half is at night.
6 weeks: 8.5 hours. Night-time sleep finally begins to solidify.
3 months: 9 hours. You'll see a hint of a schedule. Move bedtime up.
6 months: 10 hours. Now is the best time to sleep-train your little one.
9 months: 11 hours. If she needs it, reteach your baby how to go to sleep.
12 months: 12 hours. Still not sleeping? Ask your paediatrician for advice.