Tuesday 10 August 2010 by Erika

Being pregnant with my first baby was daunting. I was excited, but I think everyone around me was determined to scare me half to death. All I heard were horror stories about sleepless nights, but I consoled myself with reassurance that my baby would be different.

Photo: sleeping baby wrapped up with cuddly toy

My baby was not different. If anything, my little bundle of joy was fully determined to prove me wrong. Those first few months passed by in a blur as I tried to adjust to my new, regularly interrupted and reduced sleeping pattern.

Of course I expected this. It comes with having babies, right? But I didn’t expect it to go on quite as long as it did. A friend of mine had his daughter around 6 months before I had my son, and he revelled in telling me how she slept through the night within her first few weeks. I turned to friends, family and the internet to find out if there was anything I could do to help baby sleep easier.

The first thing I learned was that breastfed babies tend to sleep more lightly and will probably wake up more often. It was comforting to know that this might at least partially explain why my son was waking so regularly. I also found out that newborns generally sleep for around 8 hours a night, but this can be broken up into periods of just one hour all the way up to 4 or 5 hours at a time.

I had been trying to get my baby into some kind of routine, but apparently in the first months, it’s more beneficial to ‘go with the flow’. Initially, let them sleep when they need to, and they’ll learn the difference between night and day as they get older.

I looked forward to the end of this initial stage, when I hoped I might start to get some sleep again. But as usual, I was wrong! In my case, as my son got older, he began to have less restful nights and I found it difficult to settle him. I was told this was normal, so I tried to pick up some tips on how to get him down for his rest. I was worried that by staying with him for too long as he dropped off, he might become increasingly reliant on me being there as he got older.

So I set up this routine:

  • Bedtime at the same time each night. Before bed, feed and bath him. Make sure that he doesn’t go from lively activity straight to bed, giving him time to wind down.
  • Put him down to bed, staying with him as he settles down. Always get him settled in the bedroom and not in other, noisier areas in the house.
  • Quietly sit in a chair a few feet away from the cot, and leave after a few minutes. If he cries I return, reassure him that I’m there and follow the same procedure.

Eventually, I hope to be able to put him down and be able to leave immediately. When he’s really tired I can do this already, but not all of the time.

Now he’s nearly 2 years old, he regularly sleeps through the night uninterrupted. I can usually get 6 or 7 hours sleep a night, and I’m finally feeling human again!

Photo credit: Abardwell on Flickr


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Tags: development |  advice |  sleep | 
# re: When will my baby sleep through the night?
Wednesday, September 15, 2010 4:44 by Blog
Babies who sleep less are more likely to become obese Babies who sleep less are more likely to become obese
# re: When will my baby sleep through the night?
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 11:29 by Eugene Roberson
This reminds myself of how my own newborn leaked through her diaper last night, it absolutely was a headache!

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