Teaching Baby To Sleep Through The Night

by beagooddad on December 22, 2007

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Let me start with my credentials. Geetle and Pookie were sleeping 12 hours solid each and EVERY night starting at 10 weeks. Giggles recently moved from waking up at 2am every night to waking up at 4:30am the last few nights.

Here are my tips for getting your baby to sleep through the night.

  1. Pick A Bedtime – Giggles likes to go to bed for the night around 7pm. That just happens to be the time Pookie and Geetle go to bed. That isn’t an accident. She has blended into and accepted their bedtime routine. If you keep her up past then, she will already yell at you.
  2. Cap Off Bottle – Before BAGM and I go to bed, we feed her again. It is the only time we ever wake her up to feed her. This bottle normally happens between 10 and 11pm. We make a full bottle and feed her as much as she wants which guarantees that she starts the night with a full tank.
  3. Get The Diaper Change Right – One of the keys to nighttime feeding is getting it done and getting out of the room with the baby waking up as little as possible. I always change Giggles diaper before I feed her so that when the bottle is done, I can put her back in the crib and walk away. If you do it in the other order, your nice sleepy baby is going to be very awake when you start shaking her full belly to change the diaper. Plus, there is a good chance she will spit up.
  4. Play Some Music – Pookie and Geetle listened to the same CD every time they went to sleep (day or night) for over two years. Giggles is using that CD now. She is already starting to understand that when that CD starts up she should start falling asleep.
  5. Feed As Little As It Takes – I do not sit around fighting to get Giggles to drink the last ounce or two. When she puts up the gate, we are done. In addition to helping me get back to sleep as quickly as possible, it also starts to teach her that she can survive for a while without her belly being completely full which is key to learning to sleep through the night.
  6. Don’t Push To Fast – Babies physically don’t have big enough stomachs to sleep through the night until they weigh a certain weight. If memory serves me correctly, they need to be somewhere around 13 pounds. Until they get to that size, don’t even begin to expect them to make it through the whole night.
  7. It Is Not Playtime – While feeding Giggles, I actually close my eyes and pretend I’m sleeping. She doesn’t bother to try playing with me. She just eats and then goes back to sleep.
  8. Learn The Difference Between Fussing and Crying – Babies make a lot of strange noises. Sometimes they even fuss a little bit without actually being awake. Once you can tell the difference between crying and fussing, you can start waiting a few minutes to burst into the room if they are just fussing. The other night I heard Giggles and began my routine. By the time I had made the bottle, peed, washed my hands and walked into the room she was already back to sleep. I learned my lesson and she is magically making it a couple hours later in the night. When she cries for real, I can tell that and know to hurry.

Those are my top secret tips and pretty much all you need to know about teaching a baby to sleep through the night, right? Did a miss a good tip? Let me know in the comments.

Update: I wrote this post a couple nights ago and scheduled it to post this morning.  Last night Giggles just happened to sleep through the entire night (11pm until 7am).  She must be sneaking in and reading the posts before they are actually published.

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