The short answer: you don’t.
BUT – there are things you can try.
Steps you can take to get your child on the path to sleeping through the night. But that doesn’t change the fact that your baby has to be ready.
I bought the books, read the blogs, talked to my pediatrician and they all offered good advice. I tried it all, and I’ll guide you through some of it, but in the end, it just took my babies being ready for that step.
1. Cry it Out
This one is more like cry your heart out because it is literally what ends up happening.
You put your sweet baby down to the bed and let them cry, and cry, and cry for your love and comfort. While they’re crying in their crib, you’re crying on the other side of the door. Or next, to their crib so that the baby doesn’t see you.
Don’t try this with young babies, if you have to try it, do it, toddlers. I tried doing it with my baby; it didn’t work, and it killed me.
I did end up doing it later with my toddler when it was time to wean the pacifier. It took a few days, not sure who cried more, but it worked then.
Advice: Wait until they are in the right age, not suitable for newborns
This one I never really understood or got the hang of.
Essentially you feed the baby while they are sleeping at night. So before they wake up crying because they are hungry, you slip the bottle or your breast into their mouth and let them eat in their sleep. For some it works great, for others like me, not so much.
Another variation is to wake up baby after an hour or two nap and feed again to make them sleep longer.
Advice: Works well for bottle fed babies, not so great for breastfeeding. Try to breastfeed the sleeping baby, not easy is it?
Co-sleeping is the beacon of last resort in this house.
Typically it occurs around 3 or 4 am with our young kids and is a result wasted hours trying to get them to sleep. With my kids, it worked every time. They slept like angels in my bed with me, and I slept whenever there wasn’t a foot in my mouth and a hand pushing me off the bed.
The problem is that it is habit forming, like everything else with kids. It took years to get my son to sleep in his bed after we let him sleep with us when he was ill.
Now, my daughter is a toddler, and if she wakes in the middle of the night, she expects to come to bed with me. It’s not horrible but it’s probably not a solution for everyone.
Advice: There are different types of co-sleeping, and not all of them are safe. Not recommended for newborn and babies. Great to use during the day to make the baby fall asleep, but not at night when you can roll over him.
When Should Your Baby Sleep Through the Night?
Anywhere from three to six months is the time when babies will start sleeping through the night.
You can try to force it sooner, or it might happen sooner.
My daughter started sleeping through the night at about four weeks old; then she stopped at eight weeks old and at 20 months only sleeps through the night about half the time.
Don’t force it, while those months/years of waiting for both my little ones to sleep through the night was rough; it was temporary. For me, it was much more important to have them know I’d always be there, than for them to be able to self-soothe at two months old.
If you work and can’t function without sleep, then one of the above methods might work for you. Do what feels right for you and your family.
What about you? Have you tried any of these methods with success? Or did you find something else that works? Leave a comment and help out other moms in need of their beauty sleep!