Babies have a way of setting their own little schedules, and unfortunately, some of them do not easily take the hint that we’re supposed to be sleeping during the night time. We’re not talking about the fact that newborns wake up every few hours for the first three months-that’s to be expected, because they need to eat every couple of hours. We’re talking about older babies who stay up most of the night, as if they think they’re going to miss something by falling asleep.
Oddly enough, they have no such compunction during the day time. Perhaps in their little heads, day time is a perfect time to catch forty winks. After all, you have to rest sometime, and there’s so much to do and see at night.
If you’re in that situation, and your baby wants to stay up all night while you would rather be sleeping, here are some things you can do to start molding baby’s routine into something a little more parent-friendly:
- Turn the lights on while baby is napping during the daytime. In most cases, babies will nap for shorter stretches that way and will be likely to sleep better at night.
- Start waking your baby up earlier in the morning. Wake her up at the same time every day, and make a routine out of it.
- Stop using a pacifier during the day. If baby needs to suck on something, offer breastfeeding or a bottle. If baby eats more during the day, he won’t need to eat as often during the nighttime (at least after he’s about 4 months old).
- If you are breastfeeding your baby, keep her on the same breast until it is empty. The latter part of your milk production (called hindmilk) is richer in fats and will help baby be satisfied longer, which will in turn help her sleep longer.
- Keep things dark if your baby wakes up at night. Tend to his needs in the most boring way possible. If you interact too much with him at night, he’s not going to want to go back to sleep, but if you keep things dimly lit and fairly dull and boring, he will get the hint soon enough that night time isn’t much fun to be awake.