Helping Baby Sleep Through the Night

When your baby is somewhere between six months and a year old, she should start sleeping through the night. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean an eight to ten hour sleep in one piece, as we would like it to, but you can usually count on babies of this age sleeping for a five to seven hour stretch through then night. And even if it isn’t a full night in our book, it’s a lot better than baby’s sleep patterns for the first six months.

Of course, babies may have several points where they stop sleeping through the night and start waking up again. Often this is caused by normal developmental milestones that every baby reaches, while other times it is just a matter of your baby’s temperament.

Baby’s often begin waking up at night again when they are sick, when they are teething, and when they begin crawling or walking. Babies may also wake up and be scared or upset if they fell asleep in your arms, but wake up to find that you’re nowhere in sight. A baby has very limited concept to deal with, and if she can’t see you, to her it’s as if you aren’t there. As she gets older, she’ll understand better, but for a while, unless your baby is a self soother, you’re going to have that occasional need to come running when baby cries.

One way you can help yourself if baby is waking up often is to leave her crib in your room. Not only will you not have as far to go, but you may not have to go as often. Many times, if baby wakes briefly and sees that you are just across the room, she will have an easier time soothing herself back to sleep than if you are in another room.

When babies do start waking up at night after having been able to sleep through the night, your best bet is to go about meeting their needs in a quiet, rather boring way. Hold baby if she needs to be held, but don’t play with her. Leave the lights off, or at least dim them and rock her gently until she falls back to sleep. Even if she doesn’t fall back to sleep for quite some time (or at all), try not to do anything to further stimulate her. The idea is to make night time as boring as possible. This begins to instill in your little one that daytime is the fun time to be awake and can lead to better sleep patterns.