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The New Rules on Helping Your Baby Sleep Through the Night

posted: 08/29/17
by: Katie Morton
Close Up Of Mother Cuddling Sleeping Baby Daughter At Home
iStock

Serious sleep deprivation is a real issue for most new parents. If you find yourself slamming mid-day lattes because of those 3AM baby jam sessions, take heart--this too shall pass. The light at the end of your (exhausted!) tunnel may be right around the corner.

Experts say that most babies over four months old can learn to sleep through the night--but, as with any new skill, it takes some practice. Since the "rules" on sleep training for babies seem to change frequently, we share a collection of updated pro tips to help your whole family get a full night of shut-eye.

New Sleep Rule #1: Nix the Middle of the Night Feeding Sessions

It may seem like the only thing that'll calm your howling baby in the middle of the night is a bottle or nursing. As it turns out, that additional middle of the night feeding may no longer be necessary.

If your pediatrician has given you the "all clear" to eliminate nighttime feedings (this recommendation will vary based on your baby's age and weight), then it's time to cut down on the middle of the night feedings. Ask your pediatrician for guidance on how to slowly reduce those extra nursing or bottle sessions so you can all get more peaceful rest.

New Sleep Rule #2: White Noise Is Your Slumber-inducing Friend

The rules once said that dead silence was best for baby. Now, the professionals recommend a white noise machine to help create a slumber-inducing background hum. Using a white noise machine each evening can send the cue to your baby that it's time to fall asleep. If you don't want to spring for the cost of a white noise machine, you can download free white noise soundtracks online.

New Sleep Rule #3: Don't Rush to Introduce Solid Foods

The thinking just a few years ago was that a full belly equaled a happily snoozing baby. So, introducing solids could help your baby sleep through the night. The current studies, however, say otherwise. In fact, some pediatricians now suggest that introducing solids too soon can actually diminish your baby's sleep time and cause GI issues. Some pros say that babies aren't ready for solids until the six-month mark. Each baby is, of course, different so it's best to check with your own pediatrician about the proper age to start introducing solids.

New Sleep Rule #4: Clear Out the Crib

As a new parent, your inclination is to make the crib a happy place to be. Pros say that the baby's bedroom or nursery area should be designated as a "sleep only" area. Toys, mobiles, and stuffed animals all act as distractions for your baby and may delay them actually falling asleep. Clear out all the crib clutter so your baby isn't tempted to play instead of snooze.

New Sleep Rule #5: Read Up

Each baby is an individual, and you know your baby better than anyone. Experiment with what works for them, and what doesn't. For more pro tips, check out the following books on sleep training. Before you know it, your family will be sleeping soundly all night long.

The Newborn Sleep Book: A Simple, Proven Method for Training Your New Baby to Sleep Through the Night, by Lewis Jassey and Jonathan Jassey

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, 4th Edition: A Step-by-Step Program for Good Night's Sleep, by Dr. Marc Weissbluth