One of the things that I am asked about all of the time is:
“Will my baby EVER sleep through the night?”
Of course he will…but it may take a while.
Babies have much shorter sleep cycles than adults and the naturally do not go into as deep of a sleep in the early days. There is hope though! We teach all of our clients to use the five sleep steps once baby has re-gained birth weight (usually between 5-14 days). These steps will help you to support baby learning good sleep habits as he is able. As soon as your pediatrician ok’s it, let baby sleep as long of stretches as they will at night. We recommend feeding at least every 4 hrs during the day.
But first, let’s talk about how we want the night to go, setting the stage if you will.
- Bedtime should be between 6-8 pm each night because babies’ circadian rhythms start earlier than ours
- You should have a simple bedtime routine in place by 8 wks of age
- Bath or massage
- White noise
- Dim lights
- Diaper change and swaddle
Each families’ routine will vary a bit. The important thing is that it can be done consistently, anywhere, and by anyone (except, of course, the breastfeeding).
Each time you go to the baby, follow the 5 steps. Be boring. Keep the lights dim and the white noise on. THIS IS NOT PLAYTIME. Sleep time should be about 12 hrs (no, they will not actually sleep through this for a while).
When they wake closest to the 12 hr mark, go in and be cheerful and interactive. Turn on the light, off the white noise, get them dressed and tell them what a wonderful baby they are! This is about helping them know day from night. ☺
The five sleep steps
- Give it a bit of time (Count to at least 30 for a little one and up to 5 or 10 min for an older baby) before responding.
- Try to settle in bed (pat butt, rub back,jiggle on tummy) move to next step if crying gets much more intense.
- Pick up and settle in arms if needed
- Nurse only if he keeps getting more upset or acts hungry
- try to get baby back into bed back in bed sleepy but partly awake if possible (this is hard-give it time)
Repeat as needed.
Gradually lengthen each step.
They will have regressions. Just keep being consistent and they will get through them.