How can I get my newborn to sleep through the night?

Sleep   |   Age: 9 days

How can I get my newborn to sleep through the night?

As a new parent, chances are, when you do have the chance to catch a quick nap, you are dreaming of uninterrupted sleep. Unfortunately, while every day puts your baby one day closer to sleeping through the night, it's not even a goal you and she should be working towards yet. For the next few days or so, until approximately the end of your baby's second week, she is still working to gain back the weight she lost after birth, and that means that not only should you be feeding her when she wakes up hungry, but there may even be times when you'll have to be the one to wake her to feed. This can be a challenging time for parents and caretakers, so it is important to remember that each night, your baby is one step closer to sleeping the whole way through. Still, there is no straightforward rule for when your baby will sleep through the night, and it's likely that it will take longer than you'd like for her to get there, no matter what tips and tricks you have on your side. Try to be patient, and remember that your baby will sleep through the night when she is ready.

First nights at home

After you bring your baby home, don’t waste precious energy trying to get her adjusted to nights and days. During this early phase, she has no concept of the clock. Focus on taking the best care of your baby and yourself as you can, which means napping when she sleeps during the day.

your baby needs to eat every 90 minutes to three hours, and will be no less inclined to eat during the night. Hunger overrules your baby’s need for sleep; therefore, new parents can expect to be up multiple times each night. At this point, though, your baby may not actually wake to eat, and may depend on you to keep her on a consistent food schedule, at least through the end of the first few weeks, when she should be well on her way to gaining back the birth weight she may have lost. It can feel like going against all of your instincts to wake your baby when she is sleeping, but unless the doctor advises against it, it may be the best thing you can do for her - and if you're breastfeeding, it can also help to establish your milk supply.

On the other hand, your baby may be most wakeful in the middle of the night and tend to sleep most of the day. This pattern is also perfectly normal, and while it is very challenging for parents, just remember that it will pass. You can help encourage it to pass faster by teaching your baby the difference between night and day, and helping her learn about circadian rhythms. The best way to do this is to make sure that she gets some sun during the day, and by keeping her in fairly dim light for night time feedings, though not so dark that it's a danger to either of you.

Reasons your baby might wake up during the night

First of all, no matter what, it will take your baby some time to get to the point where she can reasonably be expected to sleep through the night. One guideline says that after your baby first few weeks, she should be able to sleep as many hours in a row as she is weeks old, and by the time babies are eight months old, according to the National Sleep Institute, 70 to 80 percent of babies are sleeping through the night. If your baby’s sleep pattern does not seem to be improving as she grows, though, don’t despair! Here are a few reasons why she might be a restless sleeper, and some ideas for how to develop a healthy sleep routine.

Importance of routine

Most experts agree that establishing a bedtime routine is one of the best things that you can do for your newborn. For example, you may opt to bathe, dress, and feed your baby at the same time every evening. Right before she begins feeding, dim the lights and play the same lullabies or white noise. Your personal routine may vary, but keep in mind that newborns thrive on consistency. Even if you don't set out to schedule a routine, there's a good chance your baby will fall into a pattern of sleeping and waking all on her own, and if you're planning for it, you can help steer her towards healthy habits for your entire family.

Getting your newborn to sleep through the night is one of the most difficult challenges of early parenting for many. Just remember that your efforts to teach your baby good sleep habits will pay off soon!


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