No one expects a newborn to sleep through all night. But if your baby is almost 6 months old, it might be normal to begin expecting that or even start looking for ways to help your baby sleep through the night.
According to experts, sleeping through the night usually means sleeping for 6 hours or more overnight. And a healthy baby in the sixth month is biologically capable of sleeping for longer stretches at night.
Some experts consider continued night waking at 6 months of age to be a behavioral issue. And if healthy sleep habits are established early on, a full night of sleep naturally unfolds.
In this article, we share 7 tips to help your baby sleep through the night.
Help your baby learn the difference between day and night
During the mornings, exposing your baby to as much light as possible is important. Keeping their environment bright and active during the day, playing games, making noise, opening the curtains in the morning, and limiting the length of naps during the day are all great techniques to employ.
Similarly, at night dimming the lights, keeping things quiet, talking to your baby in a calm, lowering your voice, and instead of playing, giving your baby soothing cuddles, will help your baby differentiate between night and day.
These behaviors will help highlight to your baby the difference between night and day and eventually help them fall asleep at night for longer and more restful periods. It helps establish that days are for play and nights are for sleep.
Make sure your baby is well-fed
Hunger stands in the way of keeping your baby agreeable and in a good mood – which directly impacts the quality as well as the duration of their sleep.
If your baby is fed enough during the day, they may require less feeding at night. Young babies need to consume a specific number of calories each day.
Making sure your baby has fed enough during the day really helps their chances of sleeping through the night. Experts say that babies who started solids should be given protein at their lunch meal so they can stay more full through the night.
Reduce nighttime feedings
Consult your doctor about when to start weaning your child off nighttime feedings. Once you get the go-ahead from your pediatrician, start slowly reducing them. Do bear in mind that feeding easily becomes a sleep association for many babies.
Gradually reducing nighttime feedings will help your baby adjust to sleeping longer stretches without feeding every time they wake.
Set a regular bedtime routine
Studies show that babies who follow a regular bedtime routine go to sleep easier, sleep better, and wake up less frequently in the middle of the night. Establishing a consistent bedtime routine can help your baby relax and prepare for sleep.
Your baby’s routine should consist of soothing activities performed in the same order every night.
- Taking a bath
- Reading a book
These are all great activities and examples of bedtime activities you can try. Over time, following them regularly and consistently will allow your child to associate them with sleep.
The key to success in setting a bedtime routine is:
- Playing active games during the day and doing soothing activities in the evening.
- Keeping activities in the same order every night.
- Making sure that nighttime conditions in your baby’s bedroom remain consistent.
- Eliminating stimulative factors at nighttime. e.g., dimming the lights low and reducing speech volume.
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Maintain a consistent sleep schedule
At the start, a baby’s sleep schedule is connected to feeding times. However, around the fourth month, this starts to change. Setting a sleep schedule is important.
Since every baby is unique, it’s important to pay attention to your baby’s cues and respond accordingly. Different babies might sleep at different times of the day or for different lengths of time, depending on their parents’ schedules and activities. The same infant might also sleep at different times on different days.
Maintaining a sleep schedule can help you determine if your baby is getting enough sleep. You should also ensure your baby is getting the right amount of daytime sleep to prepare them for the right amount of nighttime sleep.
Encourage sufficient daytime activities
Daytime activity helps babies learn the difference between day and night. Babies recognize daytime through high levels of light, activity, and noise.
Tummy time is an important daytime activity that helps your baby strengthen the muscles in their neck and shoulders. Tummy time must occur while the baby is awake, and an adult must supervise it. Some researchers point out a correlation between night sleep and sufficient tummy time.
ALSO READ: Tummy Time 101 – Why Your Baby Needs It
Learn about sleep training
There are many different ways to go about sleep training, each involving various forms of parental involvement. Before starting a sleep training method, make sure you and your partner are on the same page.
The key is finding a sleep training method that works for your family and practicing it consistently. Keep in mind that the goal of all sleep training methods is getting your baby to fall asleep and stay asleep on their own.
References: clevelandclinic.org, mayoclinic.org, todaysparent.com, healthychildren.com, healthline.com, whattoexpect.com