Approved by the What’s Up Moms Medical Advisory Board
Well-meaning friends might be asking you if your baby is sleeping through the night yet. Hunh.
While some babies do actually sleep through the night from a very young age, most do not. It’s a skill that has to be learned, so over the course of the coming months, you’ll be schooling baby.
We’ve already talked about teaching your baby healthy sleep habits: acclimating her to the crib or bassinet (instead of sleeping ON you), helping her to internalize day/night cues in the environment, and establishing an evening routine. Now it’s all about teaching her the skill of falling asleep independently at bedtime.
You see your little one milk-drunk out of her mind on a daily basis, so you know how ridiculously easy it is to feed a baby to sleep. But if you want baby to start learning to sleep independently, now’s a good time to start putting her down drowsy but awake so she can break the feeding/sleep association and learn to take that final step into sleep by herself. It takes some vigilance to prevent baby from nodding off at her last feeding of the day, but here’s some incentive for you: gaining this skill will help baby lay the groundwork for sleeping through the night once she’s a little older.
So, the nuts and bolts: do your usual evening wind-down routine that might include bath, massage, a song, book, and feeding. Keep the lighting dim. Before she heads off into dreamland, transfer baby to the bassinet or crib – some parents like the ritual of a countdown. Aim for a bedtime around 7 or 8 so she’s not overtired. She may cry and take a little while to settle. But if you stick with it for a few nights, baby will catch on – smart little whippersnapper that she is.
Now go fire up your dusty DVR, because soon you’re going to get your evenings back – in 5, 4, 3, 2 and….