Ask any new parent what they desire most and you’re likely to discover their answers all revolve around one thing: for their baby to sleep through the night.
If you’re wondering how to get baby to sleep through the night, you’re not alone. In fact, a simple Google search on the topic quickly yields over 23 million results.
In fact, you may have even searched something similar online, which led you to this article. So if you are one of those 23 million parents wondering how to get your baby to sleep, not only have you come to the right place, but the answer might be simpler than you think.
Then why, you ask, are so many people frantically searching for how to make baby sleep if there is a simple solution? The answer is this: parents are putting too much focus on how to help baby sleep at night instead of focusing on the consistency and quality of their sleep throughout their entire 24-hour day.
The key lies in the three tips below, taken from the Babywise method, developed in part by Dr. Robert Bucknam, M.D.
Like many parents, Dr. Bucknam had the following thought early on in his career, “How is it that scientists can put a man on the moon, but they cannot answer the most basic problems of early parenting: how to have a happy and contented baby who sleeps continually through the night like the rest of the family and a mother who is not in a perpetual state of exhaustion?”
By putting into practice the medically sound principles of Babywise, not only did he notice a difference in his own children and the children of his patients, he watched parents everywhere successfully train their babies to sleep through the night.
Here are three foundational factors to help baby start sleeping through the night:
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Sleep Fact One: Order
Babies do not have the ability to organize their own days and nights into predictable rhythms, but they have the biological need to do so. That is why parents must take the lead and create structure and routine for their babies and for themselves.
To increase the likelihood of continuous nighttime sleep, a parent-guided “feed-wake-sleep” routine is essential. The key to nighttime sleep lies in the order of those three daytime activities. First comes feeding time, followed by waketime, and then naptime. The sequence of these three activities repeats itself throughout the day. The more consistent the routine, the more quickly a baby learns to adapt and organize his feed-wake-sleep rhythms. Established rhythms lead to continuous nighttime sleep.
Sleep Fact Two: Quality
The quality of each activity is as important as the order of each activity. In addition to the importance of the “feed-wake-sleep” routine, equally important is the quality of each feeding, especially the first feeding of the day. If that feeding is not a full feeding, it creates a dangerous ripple effect for the rest of baby’s daily schedule.
When Mom consistently works with her baby to take a full feeding, it eventually leads to productive waketimes. A good waketime impacts nap time and a good napper is a better feeder. As the quality of each activity deepens, it facilitates healthy nighttime sleep. In turn, optimal sleep in a 24-four hour cycle impacts optimal alertness, which improves cognitive function that increases brain growth, and encourages a host of other neurologic benefits.
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Sleep Fact Three: Consistency
When it comes to feeding baby, consistency leads to predictability. Erratic feeding periods work against a child’s ability to organize good feeding rhythms, which creates confusion within the child’s metabolic memory. When there is no consistency in the amount of time between feedings, and this pattern continues for weeks, it is very difficult for the feed-wake-sleep cycles to stabilize. This can result in sleep issues for your baby and mother.
As a result, these babies have difficulty establishing stable and uninterrupted nighttime sleep, waking as often as every 2 hours on a recurring basis. This fact bears repeating: consistency leads to predictability.
So there you have it: if you want to get baby to sleep through the night, you need to start focusing on three things when it comes to your baby’s schedule: order, quality and consistency. The earlier you begin with your newborn, the sooner all of you will be enjoying a good (and full) night’s sleep.
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