How can I get my baby to sleep through the night

How can I get my baby to sleep through the night

Sep 15, 2014

Why won't my baby sleep properly?

You're not alone. About a quarter of children under five have sleep problems. Refusing to go to bed or waking in the night are both common, and the two often go together. 

If your baby is constantly waking in the night, your own sleep patterns will be disturbed. Feeling sapped of energy and constantly tired as a result may make it hard to function, as well as make you more prone to depression.


What sleep strategies can I try?

These tactics may help your baby to sleep better when he or she is as young as six weeks old. Try to be consistent, even at weekends.

  • Make daytime feeds social and lively, and night-time feeds quiet and calm. This will help your baby to set their body clock and learn the difference between day and night.
  • Give your baby the chance to fall asleep on their own from between six weeks and eight weeks. Put baby down on back when they are sleepy, but still awake. If you rock or feed your baby to sleep they may start to depend on it, rather than be used to settling by themself.
  • Set a bedtime routine. Keep it short and simple, such as a bath, a nappy change then into her pyjamas, and a story or song. You could also try massaging your baby. Finish the bedtime ritual in your baby's bedroom and make sure that the room is a pleasant place to be. This routine should last no longer than 45 minutes.
  • Give the baby a security object, such as a baby blanket or stuffed animal. Keep it near you for a while so it becomes mum-scented. If you are breastfeeding, you could try expressing some breastmilk on a small piece of muslin. Babies have a strong sense of smell, and when she startles awake, the smell of you will calm her down.
  • Wait to see if your baby settles by himself or by herself if the baby is four months or five months old. If he or she is crying after you put down, go to him or her. Pat the baby gently and tell them everything's fine, but it's time for sleep. Then leave the room and wait for a couple of minutes, then check again. If after the third or fourth try. 
  • If your baby is older than six months, you may want to try the controlled crying method, which means you leave her a few minutes before returning, but extending the time between each visit. However, you shouldn't leave your baby to cry for long periods at night.
  • Cuddle up if you'd like the baby to sleep in your bed. Comfort so they knows it's time for sleep. Lie down together and cuddle, pretending to sleep, firmly letting them know it's bedtime. But make sure you are aware of how to make co-sleeping safe. If your baby is six months or younger, it's safest for the baby to sleep in a cot next to your bed.
  • Share the role of comforter with your partner, so both of you can help your baby fall back to sleep. Once your baby is old enough not to need a night-time feed, They can learn to be comforted by your partner. 
  • Tune in to your baby’s needs. During the day, you could make her feel secure by carrying her in a sling. If the baby wakes in the night, try to work out why. Is their nappy full?  Has the baby got a cold?