6 Tips for Getting Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night

sleeping baby

It’s the milestone every new parent talks and dreams about as if it were the Holy Grail. Getting your baby to sleep through the night is so sought after, yet seems so unattainable, it’s reached almost mythical proportions. And in many ways, the whole concept is a myth, since everyone – adults, children and infants alike – wakes up multiple times overnight. The difference is that when we’re older, we go right back to sleep. Babies need to learn how.

Here are a few tips that can help your baby sleep through the night. And remember, newborns and very young infants are not ready to sleep all night long yet.

1. Wind your baby down. After dinner, switch from upbeat, active games to more low-key ones and quiet time. Make the period leading up to bedtime relaxing and calm by dimming the lights and playing soothing classical music or lullabies. Now isn’t the time to tickle your baby frenetically, dance with her around the living room, or wrestle with her on the floor.

2. Feed your baby a bedtime snack. Babies often wake up in the middle of the night because they’re hungry. In addition to his nighttime bottle or breastfeeding, try feeding older babies who are eating solids a small bedtime snack, like yogurt and a cracker or two. If his tummy is full, he may be more likely to sleep until morning.

3. Have a calming, soothing, predictable bedtime routine. Establish a bedtime routine and keep it consistent night after night. Give her a bath and a bottle, massage her with some baby or lavender lotion and get her into comfortable, cozy pajamas. Read stories to her, particularly those with bedtime themes. Sing lullabies. Make sure she’s dry, warm and well-fed.

4. Put your baby down down when he’s drowsy but still awake. It’s best to get your child nice and drowsy but put him down when he’s not fully asleep yet. That way, he’ll learn to soothe himself to sleep and won’t wake up startled as to how he got there.

5. Don’t leave the light on. It’s fine to dim the light to low when you first put your baby down, but once she’s sound asleep, turn it off completely. Darkness helps the body release melatonin, the hormone needed for a good, deep sleep.

6. If he cries, wait a little while before going to him. Parents often race into their infant’s room at the slightest little noise, but that’s a mistake. Babies often need to fuss and cry a bit to get themselves back to sleep. Leaving him alone for at least a minute or two can help him do it on his own.