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Sleep Training Your Baby

Get your little one to snooze like a champion with this advice.
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Babies are supposed to sleep for 12 to 14 hours a day—question is, why must they be so wide-awake at night? Here’s some sanity-saving advice from moms who got their little ones to snooze like champions.

Give your child a little time. Another mom in the playgroup may brag about her baby sleeping through the night at five weeks, but for most kids, it doesn’t happen until the four-month mark, says parenting educator Elizabeth Pantley, co-author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night. "Attempting to regulate a newborn’s sleep cycle before it’s biologically possible makes for an unhappy baby and a frustrated parent," she adds.

Teach your child that bed is a comforting place. "Let the baby spend some time during the day in the crib, while you read, talk, sing, play," Pantley suggests. "If he responds positively and becomes interested in watching a mobile or playing with a toy, stand or sit quietly nearby and watch. Do this a few times a day for a week or so and a baby will come to know his crib as a welcoming, safe, and comfortable haven. When he wakes there during the night, he’ll find it easier to go back to sleep."

Crying it out is not a must. Some sleep methods call for letting kids cry it out after you’ve put them to sleep, but Pantley’s not for that. "The baby will eventually stop crying and sleep," says Pantley, "but that doesn’t mean he has learned skills for how to fall asleep." She suggests a little patience—and step-by-step adjustments. "If a baby has been falling asleep in your arms and you suddenly decide to put him in the crib awake, of course he will cry—it’s confusing!" she says. "You might at first keep your hands on him, patting and rubbing and gently shushing him to help him get settled. Work your way toward sitting there without physical contact, then move your chair away from the crib, and finally, sit outside the doorway." It may take weeks, but keep up the baby steps and you’ll get there.

Cut back on help. If you’ve been rocking baby back to sleep when she wakes in the middle of the night, says Pantley, "the next step is to begin reducing that. As a parent becomes less involved in the falling-asleep process, over time the baby will begin to doze off without assistance."

Do what works for your family. You’ll get plenty of advice (sought and unsought) about how to solve sleep dilemmas. Try the techniques that make sense to you," encourages Pantley: "It reduces stress if parents follow their hearts and do what they think is best for them and their baby."

An article from the HUGGIES® Brand

  • Rated 0 out of 5 by 570reviewers.
    Rated 0 out of 5 drinking formula maybe an hour before bed helps... October 29, 2014
    Rated 0 out of 5 used to always rock to sleep. lately ive been letting her just tough it out, way less stressfull October 26, 2014
    Rated 0 out of 5 by My 13.month old still wakes up to eat at night!.I try to give her time to find herbinkie and fall back asleep, but it never seems to fail. Between 1-2am and again between 5-6am. She has a strict bedtime routine we fallow along with awake up and morning routine. Any advice on how we can eliminate one of or both feedings? Thanks Ashley October 13, 2014
    Rated 0 out of 5 by I am currently in the stage where we can play sleep in the toddler bed, sing bedtime song, and fall asleep but he wakes up less then 5 mins later, I repeat it again, again and again after the 5th time he is in my bed. I know it takes time but I would love to sleep in my own bed without hands, feet or knees in my face. September 25, 2014
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