If your baby controls the sleep schedule in your house something needs to change. While a newborn baby requires a lot of care and attention at some point you have to get a little bit of control back in your life. If not you may never sleep for a full night again. The truth is that if you wait for your baby to sleep through the whole night before you do, it will never happen. You need to act differently in order to take the control back in your home.
When a newborn baby arrives it only sleeps for short periods of time before waking. The average baby in the first three months sleeps at most for 45 minutes before waking back up. In these early stages, it can be best to attend to your baby, make sure it is ok and help it get back to sleep. After three months though the sleep cycle of a baby starts to lengthen, this gives you the opportunity to mix things up.
It is at this critical post-three-month stage that a baby learns a crucial skill. It is called self-soothing. Essentially after about three months, your baby will start to sleep for long spells at a time and learn how to transition back to sleep on its own. This is incredible, it will give you the ability to sleep for longer periods of time back. I know some parents are reading this and thinking, my baby is five months old now and I am still going into my little baby’s room every hour. Well, of course you are. You never taught your baby an alternative.
The fastest way for a baby to go back to sleep is for a loving parent to soothe it. It doesn’t take long for a baby to realize this. It wakes up, a little confused, a little cranky, a little restless. The parent appears, rocks it gently, and before you can count a sheep or two that baby is relaxing, getting comfortably and heading back to the land of nod. The baby then realizes that the easy solution is to call mum or dad. If they always cry and you always come, why would they change that behavior?
This is the hard part of being parents (or one of many). The next time your baby wakes in the night and you hear it acting a little restless, let it. Give it the opportunity to teach itself a new skill. The first time it will be tough because your baby will expect you to be there, you always have been before. They will likely tire themselves out a little in their panic and this is what will cause them to sleep. The next time it will get easier as they will start to give up earlier and earlier every time. Soon they will simply wake up, roll over and go back to sleep, all on their own.
Depending on the stage of parenting you are at right now, that may sound impossible, but trust me with a little discipline it does work. To give yourself the best odds of success though you need to establish a clear routine for the baby from the moment you bring it home. You need to support the important guidelines of night and day so that it starts to realize that night time is when we sleep day time is when we do all that other stuff.
When you talk to different parents you hear some say how their baby is a terror and stays up all night while others say that they have the sweetest bundle of joy who sleeps and sleeps. There are some babies who are tough to handle but in general, they are just responding to the ground rules you have laid down. Be strict in your routine and your baby will follow suit.