My cute, baby girl is now 7 months old! I know, crazy!
How did the time go by so fast?!
She has been the best baby and has always been a pretty good sleeper, until months 4-5… Let me tell you.
They were rough!
I felt like I was up every hour of the night! I read books, articles and any sleep training material I could get my hands on. I picked a few tips to focus on and after just a week or two, she is a champion sleeper!
Here are our tips and tricks to get your baby to sleep through the night:
1. Start a bedtime routine.
Even when your baby is very young, they make associations with bedtime. If you rock your baby every night to get them to fall asleep, they will start to rely on that action to soothe themselves and fall asleep.
Babies will also rely on those actions to help them fall back to sleep when they wake up in the middle of the night. We have had the same bedtime routine with all of our children, and it has worked like a charm. An hour before bedtime
(which is 8 p.m. at our house)
We start winding down for the night. No more playing or running around. We do bath time around 7:30 p.m. We have bath time every night. I don’t think our kids have ever gone to bed without a bath haha! After our baths, we read a book, sing a song, say a prayer and go to bed. That’s it! Really simple, but our kids rely on that routine and it is so much easier than having to rock them to sleep for an hour to get them to sleep.
2. Use blackout curtains.
Blackout curtains have been one of the best investments I have made to help my kids become good sleepers. They just seem to sleep better when their rooms are completely dark!
Babies will also learn that when they are somewhere dark that that means it is time to sleep, so even when it is nap time in the middle of the day, you can darken the room with blackout curtains. If you already have curtains in your baby’s room, you can add blackout liners to the back for the same effect.
3. Use a white noise machine.
You may have seen our white noise machine in our nursery makeover post. When babies are in the womb, they become accustomed to hearing the sound of their mother’s heartbeat and other sounds. There are a few studies that show babies sleep better with white noise in their rooms, and for us, it works!
It just might be the best $20 we have ever spent! It has a few different sound options to pick from. We just leave ours on the “brook” setting and turn it on whenever she goes down for a nap or for bed! It also helps to block out the sound from loud, noisy siblings. 😉
4. Swaddle your baby.
I know some babies don’t love this, but we have been swaddling our babies since they came out of the womb! They seem to love it! Studies show that swaddling babies helps them feel safe and secure.
Our favorite swaddling blankets of all time are the Aden + Anais Swaddling Blankets. They are a MUST HAVE! They are stretchy so you can continue swaddling your baby as they grow. They are so soft and they are light enough that you can still swaddle your baby when the weather is warmer
5. Nap, Nap Nap!
A lot of people think that keeping your baby awake longer will wear them out and help them sleep better, but that is definitely not the case! When our baby was first born, we didn’t come up with a napping schedule, rather we just watched for signs that she was getting tired.
Yawning, rubbing eyes, red eyes, or just being plain cranky! As soon as we saw these signs, we would go lay her down in her bed. It taught her to fall asleep on her own and self soothe. Now if we lay her in her bed, she will talk for a few minutes and then fall right to sleep! Also, if babies miss their naps they can often become overly tired and have trouble falling asleep.
“For many parents, asking the question, ‘Does your baby sleep through the night?’, may suggest that a baby can, and should, sleep through the night without waking. It may be reassuring to know that not sleeping through the night is normal for babies.”#nighttimeparenting pic.twitter.com/EP18Z8CLFQ
— La Leche League USA (@LaLecheLeagueUS) October 27, 2019
It is best to lay your baby down as soon as you notice them getting tired. Another good rule of thumb is to put your baby to sleep an hour and a half to two hours each time after they wake up. We do this for about the first year of life. After that, we will do scheduled naps in the morning and afternoon.
6. Fill em’ up.
We always feed our baby one bigger bottle or meal about an hour or so before bedtime so her tummy is full and she won’t wake up frequently to eat. If she eats shortly before bed, she can easily sleep 10-12 hours straight!
7. Let them cry.
I know, a lot of people don’t agree with this, but when you are a frazzled mom who hasn’t slept well in days, it is oftentimes your best option! I am a very light sleeper so anytime our baby would make a peep I would go running into her room to check on her, feed her, etc.
I had read so many books that said that I needed to let my baby cry it out, but I just couldn’t stand to hear her cry! I finally decided to do it. The first night was unbearable. I pretty much got less sleep than I would have if I went in and fed her, but I knew it would pay off in the long run.
On night two of crying it out, I decided to sleep with some earplugs so I wouldn’t be able to hear her cries. It worked! I could still hear her a little bit, but the crying only lasted a few minutes and I didn’t hear every little peep and grunt she made.
By night three she didn’t even wake up at all! Hallelujah! Many of the books I read said that it can sometimes take up to a week or two until the baby is used to soothing themselves and sleeping through the night. I know that a lot of people have their own opinions on what works for them, but this is what worked for us! While you’re here read this awesome article on “how to bathe a baby“.