Huge disclaimer!! Each and every baby is different. This article is for the ‘average’ baby…. which also can’t be define. Okay, okay, look, this is just a really good guestimate from an old Grandma who has been through several different types of babies with several different types of sleeping patterns. Just like early parenthood, I’m just pushing forward, head down and hoping that these ideas will hit a mark somewhere!
Teaching Your Newborn to Sleep Through the Night
One of your first parenting goals will likely be trying to figure out how the heck you can get your baby to sleep through the night. Here’s a few helpful tips aimed at assisting you in reaching that goal.
Separate Sleep and Play
Keep the baby’s nursery free of clutter, toys, televisions and any other chaos and racket that attracts them and urges them into being, if possible, even more energetic. Keep the noisy toys and singing soft cuddle bears out of the baby’s sleep area, along with any other items that can be construed as toys. This means anything and everything. If possible, try to keep the play area and the sleep area totally separate. This way the baby learns to distinguish play room/play time! – from sleep room/sleep time.. ZzZzZzzz
Keep Your (House) Cool
Stay calm and crank up that cool air. Your baby will sleep best when the temperature in the room they rest in is consistent and cool. That means keeping it between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure the crib is kept in an ideal spot in the sleeping room as well. The best places are those out of the direct path of heating and cooling vents. Also, keep cribs away from windows to reduce drafts that may breeze across baby as well as noise from outside. Many new mothers make the mistake of keeping baby’s room a bit too warm. It’s better to go with slightly cool and a footie onesie that keeps you from having to toss a blanket over baby. Many babies do not like covers and will wake up to kick them off as soon as you place them.
Light signals day time/ play time to baby and that’s great. That’s what you want, don’t ever change it. Except if the baby needs to go down for an afternoon nap. Then change it, shut those blinds, pull the shades, close the curtains; do whatever it takes to block out that blaring light and you’ll get a baby who sleeps longer, takes more refreshing naps and is ready to go and go and go… A great idea for baby’s room if you have the opportunity and ability to update it is a dimmer switch. This allows you to adjust the available lighting down to nearly pitch. Perfect!
While some baby’s learn quickly to sleep through the night on their own, if your little one is fighting the establishment and demanding to stay up at all hours of the night, you should be able to coach them into a more reasonable schedule using these techniques. Another great hack I’ve learned with my granddaughter (but not through my two sons, yeesh!) is to buy a diaper one size larger for night time wear. This way you won’t have to wake up baby in the wee hours to avoid having them wake up soaked. It works! And they stay relatively dry because they are bigger diapers equipped to handle a baby bigger (and with more pee!) through the night.