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Moms Expertise

Helping baby sleep through the night tips

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03/28/15

1. Early bedtime. This seems pretty self explanatory, but you wouldn't believe how many parents push their baby's bedtime, hoping they would sleep in the longer the next morning. An early bedtime is anywhere from 7 to 8:30 p.m., and no later than 9 p.m. The idea is that, you don't want your baby overtired when you put them down, otherwise they will fight going to sleep. You also don't want to give a late nap so that your baby could stay up longer. This almost always backfires. You're better off giving less naps, so that there could be more nighttime sleep, and so your baby could be in in bed between 7-8:30 p.m.

2. Consistent bedtime routine. This is crucial. Your baby likes predictability. The more she knows what's coming, the more likely she will accept it. Make sure it's the same routine every night, at the same time. The routine doesn't have to be anything complex. Bath, bottle, book, and some cuddles, is perfect.

3. Make sure your baby is content. By this I mean, make sure she's well fed, dressed nice and cozy, and the room is proper temperature. Sometimes this takes a little while to figure out what your baby likes. Try different jammies, see if she likes socks on, or no socks. Babies are very finicky when it comes to that stuff. Even a wrinkle in the sheet is enough to upset some babies. So make sure everything is just right.

4. Put your baby down drowsy but awake. I know you've heard this one before. This part is probably the hardest, but also the most important. You want your baby to learn the skills to fall asleep on her own, and the only way she will do that is if you allow her, by putting her down awake. Parents that sneak their babies quietly in their cribs after they have rocked or nursed them to sleep, usually have babies that wake frequently at night. This is because that baby has no idea how to fall back asleep on her own. She needs Mommy or Daddy to do it for her. So whatever it takes, and however long it takes, do your baby a favor and put her down awake.

5. Wait before going in. If your baby wakes at night, wait a few minutes before going in. Many parents run in at the first sound of their baby's whimper. Sometimes baby's need to fuss and whine a little bit, in order to learn how to fall back asleep on their own. If you run in too quickly, you're robbing them of the chance to figure out how to self-settle. So let them just fuss a little. You might be pleasantly surprised when your baby just goes back to sleep on her own one night.

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