How to make your baby sleep through the night

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Once I found out I was pregnant I immediately started to document myself about a lot of things regarding newborns, but especially about how to make your baby sleep through the night.

Sleeping is for me as important as food in order to have a normal energy level and I found out that it’s even more important than food for newborns.

That was great news!

Unfortunately I also discovered that babies have to be taught how to sleep so I wrote here the best advices, from different sources, on how to make your baby sleep through the night. Use it as a reminder handbook on those difficult times.

Sources of inspiration for this blog post:

  • The good sleeper book by Dr. Janet Kennedy
  • Bringing up bebe book by Pamela Druckerman
  • Prenatal courses with midwives
Top 5 General rules

 1. Keep the baby well rested by doing two things: watch the clock and watch the baby for drowsiness signs

 2. The more baby sleeps during the day – the better will sleep at night

 3. It’s important how you get your baby to sleep and where

 4. Avoid as much as possible, napping on the breast

 5. Babies don’t learn to self soothe because we respond to them too quickly

Now let’s dig deeper into these rules and try to create good sleeping habits since the first weeks.

 1. Keep the baby well rested by doing two things: watch the clock and watch the baby for drowsiness signs

These 2 help you respond to the baby’s need for sleep before becoming overtired and you never want your baby to become overtired but you want to keep him rested around the clock.

For the first 3 months, the baby shouldn’t stay awake for more than 90 minutes at a time, this of course changes with age.

Check here some baby sleep schedules. 

2. The more baby sleeps during the day – the better will sleep at night

Baby should sleep in dark room, expose to light for the day but when it’s time for naps, make it dark again.

First 2-3 months baby needs a lot of physical contact – during the day it’s normal and convenient to sleep in our arms, or to be carried non stop (consider investing in a good baby carrier/wrap, I suggest Boba brand, here a link).

Colic may also appear during the first months and that expresses in a period of crying: more than 3 hours, more than 3 days per week, more than 3 weeks; the fussy hours should be treated separate from the rest of the day – special better treatment.

At the same time, pay close attention to when the colic phase has passed, and the baby is simply overtired, and return to your good sleeping practice tips.

You have to make sure that the baby is getting good rest during the day so you want to try sleep routines and putting the baby down slightly awake when is at his best, but when is at his worst: do whatever it takes.

3. It’s important how you get your baby to sleep and where

At night the baby should sleep in his bed or moses basket, not in bed with us. The cot mattress should be firm, the baby should sleep on her back, swaddled or in his sleeping sack depending on the age.

Each time the baby naps in the cot, she is learning to sleep more independently but falling asleep in the cot might not happen at all during the first 6 weeks. Try putting her in the cot awake anyway and pat or shush her until falling asleep.

When he wakes up during the night, take care of the business and get him back to sleep; keep the lights off or very low, do not engage with him by talking, playing or making much eye contact and keep the stimulation to a minimum.

After 3 months of age you can try to move the baby out of your bedroom because he doesn’t need anymore such frequent feeding, just a couple of times during the night.

Transition to sleep in the cot, farther from you, will improve the baby’s sleep quality and foster more self soothing. Start with the naps and don’t use freshly laundered swaddle.

Make the transition to sleep independently in the cot step by step with soothing, pick her if crying but then put her back, try again and again to teach her to sleep independently because in this way will develop the ability to return to sleep independently.

4. Avoid as much as possible, napping on the breast

Do not feed right before the nap but soon after the baby wakes up to avoid the feed-sleep association, follow a sleep-eat-play schedule.

5. Teach the baby how to self soothe by not responding to them too quickly

In the first weeks you’ll sooth your baby to sleep by: swaddling her, feeding her, anything goes, walking, bouncing, swinging, rocking. 

You can’t create bad habits, but you can work on good habits. Your baby will not become addicted to the strategies or tools because you’ll phase them out later.

Also in this period, we may keep the baby in our bedroom, convenient because of the frequently feedings but pay attention to the noise he makes when asleep; the noise doesn’t necessarily mean that he is awake, wait a minute or 2 to see if he is really waking up.

Observe and not intervene fastly, the babies are doing a lot of rumors during sleep.

Start establishing bed time routines to help baby learn how to self soothe, sleep cues: bring the baby in the bedroom, make it dark, swaddle her, soothe her and put her down.

Keep swaddling the baby even if he fights it, they are still making a lot of jerking movements and they still need the tight confined feeling of the womb to sleep well, if he sleeps well w/o the swaddle, don’t force it.

By the time the baby is 12-16 weeks, the swaddle should be exchanged to a sleeping sack and if we followed the above rules, the baby should have learned already how to sleep through the night.

Hope this blog post will help you prepare and act properly in the first months of your newborn regarding sleeping. Teach them young and they’ll thank you later! 

Remember that you’re responsible of teaching your baby how to eat, poop, act, play, everything 🙂 so don’t feel bad for wanting to sleep more and teach him how to sleep through the night, it’s the best thing you can do for his growth & development.

How to make your baby sleep through the night

  1. Watch the clock and watch the baby for drowsiness signs

 2. The more baby sleeps during the day, the better will sleep at night

 3. Pay attention to how you get your baby to sleep and where

 4. Avoid as much as possible, napping on the breast

 5.  Teach him how to self soothe by not responding too quickly

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