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How Can I Get My Child to Sleep Through the Night?

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Close up of baby sleeping
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Question: How Can I Get My Child to Sleep Through the Night?
Here are some tips to help you get your child to sleep through the night:
Answer:

Create a Consistent Routine

Try to find a stable routine and stick with it. Putting baby down at the same time each night and waking him at the same time each morning can go a long way towards promoting night time sleep. A good routine can consist of a bath, feeding, a book and then some time in the rocking chair or a quick pat to help him relax.

Have Realistic Expectations of Your Child

Try to be practical, and know the difference between how much sleep you'd like to have and how much your child is likely to sleep each night. Newborns can sleep around 15-19 hours per day, but they won't do this all in one stretch. Their stomachs are small, so they still become hungry in the night until they are somewhere around six months. At this time, you will find that your baby is able to sleep longer without waking to eat. As your child gets older, stretches of sleep will become longer.

Institute More Daytime Feedings

Try to feed your child more during the day. Even though your child will likely still wake during the night at least once, you can try to get him to eat more during the day so that most of his nutritional needs are met then, instead of during the night. This is especially true if your child's daytime feedings are short or if he is easily distracted during this time.

Help Your Child Relax Before Bedtime

Allow your child to unwind. As adults, we often cannot just hop into bed and fall fast asleep. We generally take some time to relax, read, watch television or whatever else helps us wind down before we begin to fall asleep. Before your child's bedtime, keep noise and activity to a minimum and create some comfort rituals for him like reading a book or singing a quiet song.

Don't Be in a Rush

If you're not allowing your child to cry it out or learn to self-soothe, make sure you take the extra time needed to get your child into deep sleep rather than rushing. The first fifteen to twenty minutes of his sleep is actually rather light. You may find that after feeding and rocking him to sleep, he wakes just as you lay him down in his crib or bed. This is because he wasn't fully asleep. If you take the extra five or ten minutes to assure he is in a deep sleep mode, the difference in how much longer you both will be able to sleep could well be worth it.

Be Aware of Special Situations

Remember, too, that there will be times when your child will wake up during the night, no matter what. Be aware during these times, especially if the change in his sleeping pattern is sudden. This may indicate he is going through a growth spurt and needs extra feedings, or it could be the first signs of an oncoming illness.

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