Parenting Babies Sleep how to get Baby to Sleep Sleep through the Night Infants Ferber Method

Teaching your baby to sleep is trial and error; there are many different opinions and methods out there.  What works for one baby will not necessarily work for another and what works one night may not work the next.  Getting your baby to sleep through the night is the ultimate goal for parents, as they desperately need the rest also.

Up until three months of age, babies are still adjusting to life outside the womb and should not be expected to follow a schedule of any sort.  Newborns will generally need to feed every two hours for the first few months of life.  Trying to follow a strict routine at this stage is an exercise in futility and is not recommended.  During this time feed, cuddle and play with your baby as much as they need.  Let them sleep when they want, infants this young are incapable of being “spoiled” and should be given as much love and attention as they can stand. 

After reaching three months of age, you can start putting a sleep routine in place.  Try to remember that it is okay if you cannot follow the routine to the letter every day.  Things crop up that are unavoidable and setting expectations to high can lead to frustration.  Think about what you have been doing at bedtime up until this point.  Have you been co-sleeping with your baby or putting them in their own room?  As a side note, there are many different opinions on the pro’s and con’s of co-sleeping.  It cannot hurt to look at the different views but you should do what you feel is best for you and your infant.  Decide whether you want your baby to sleep with you or in its own room.  Try to stick to this decision.  Changing where baby goes to sleep every night can be confusing to them and lead to increased fussiness.  

There are established methods for putting babies to sleep.  You have probably heard of them here.  Remember that just because a doctor came up with it does not mean that it is the best for your baby.  While you can find valuable information, tips and tricks from all these methods often times the saying, “mother knows best” rings true.

You may notice that even during the hectic first few months you have the skeleton of a routine in place already.  No one knows better than you do what soothes your baby and what agitates him or her.  Take that knowledge and form a method all your own!  When trying to teach your baby to sleep the importance of routine cannot be stressed enough.  If bathes and reading books soothe your child, incorporate that into your routine.  Decide on a bedtime for your baby and begin the routine at least a half-hour before that time.  Make sure to monitor how long and frequently your infant is napping during the daytime.  The bedtime routine should be incorporated into your daytime routine as well.  If your baby goes to sleep earlier than you would like try gradually keeping him or her up longer during the day so they nap in the early afternoon.  This will give them the energy to stay awake later and get tired around the time you would like them to go to bed.  Do not try to prevent your baby from napping at all, as they are important and erasing naptime will not mean that they sleep all night.  Often it simply means you now have a very cranky sleep deprived infant who will be even harder to put down. 

Set the stage for bedtime by dimming the lights, turning the television down or off and maybe reading a few stories in a calming voice.  Giving baby a bath at night instead of the morning could help, as the warm water is soothing and combined with the above gets your baby into a sleepy state.  Again, stick to your routine and be patient, nothing good comes easy.  It may take time but by figuring out what works best for your baby and creating a loving environment in which he or she feels safe will lead to peaceful nights for you and your little sweet dreamer!