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  • BABY SOS: When Will My Baby Sleep Through the Night?!

    The real question parents should ask is: “When is my baby going to be able to put himself back to sleep?”
    by Rachel Perez .
BABY SOS: When Will My Baby Sleep Through the Night?!
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Not sleeping during the first few weeks after welcoming a baby is just inevitable. Newborns don’t have a sleep-wake cycle yet and feed every one to three hours, even nonstop sometimes. It’s exhausting. So it’s every parents’ delight (that’s an understatement!) when a baby starts to “sleeps through the night.” Hooray!

    While waiting for that milestone, many parents wonder when that glorious day will arrive. In an attempt to hurry things up, many moms have devised baby sleep hacks just so they can get some much-needed shuteye. Some work for some babies, but not all.

    What does it mean when babies’ sleep through the night’

    Babies don’t “sleep the entire night without waking up,” U.K.-trained and Manila-based sleep coach Gabrielle Weil of Babes of Bliss, who is also a mom, tells Smartparenting.com.ph. “Babies wake during the night. The only difference is when your baby is able to put themselves to sleep and stay asleep, and you don’t hear them and don’t know about it,” Weil explained.

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    The real question parents of newborns should be asking is, “When is my baby going to be able to put himself back to sleep?”

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    Biologically, babies begin to produce the sleep hormone, melatonin, at 6 to 8 weeks after birth. By then, babies can sleep longer, about four to six hours straight, at night, “but not all babies can achieve this at the same exact moment,” Weil stressed.

    A more reasonable expectation for when babies can sleep longer is at three to 4 months. On average, babies develop the skill of sleeping longer around that age—some already sleep longer at 3 months while others can take longer than 6 months.

    How can you help your baby fall asleep independently?

    Three-month-old babies can sleep longer because they don’t require frequent feedings as with a newborn, and they’re already recognizing day and night patterns. It’s the perfect time to start sleep-training your little one.

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    There are many ways to sleep train a baby without letting the little one cry it out. Weil advises recognizing your baby’s sleep cues and working with it to teach your baby how to fall asleep and stay asleep, which can allow a 4-month-old to sleep longer, up to 6 to 8 hours, uninterrupted.

    Mothers’ brains are wired to answer their baby’s cry urgently, but you can start with waiting a minute or two before attending to your baby that’s starting to fuss, which can go a long way in teaching him to self-soothe and sleep independently. Eventually, you can wait longer before stepping in to intervene.

    If you’re breastfeeding, make sure that your baby is awake and actively swallowing every time you latch during nighttime feedings. Try to wean your little one from sleeping while feeding at night; a pacifier can do that job well enough.

    If possible, move your baby into a separate bed (or room) by the time he’s a 4-month-old. While co-sleeping is excellent for newborns, continuing to do so lets your baby follow your sleep-wake pattern instead of developing his own.

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    Before you try these baby steps into sleep training, make sure he’s in the pink of health. Don’t also underestimate the power or a pleasant, consistent, and relaxing bedtime routine. Even parents can’t stay awake after a little relaxation.

    Read about four moms' sleep training journey here.

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