I wish this post was named “How to help your baby sleep through the night”, but it isn’t, because frankly – I don’t know how to do that. I’ve never written about anything I haven’t done myself, so I’ll spare you from reading some made up story that will boost my traffic (or whatever the reason may be for people to make things up).
My 1 year old still wakes up several times a night. Sometimes he’s hungry, sometimes he wants water, often he wants attention. However, my husband and I have gotten really successful at putting him back to bed – that way, once he falls asleep around 8-9pm, he wakes up for the day around 9am in the morning, having slept all night. We have a bit of a later bedtime routine, but with the lives we live, it’s the only thing that works for us.
Before you judge some of the methods – which I’m sure some might – I want to bring up the “drowsy but awake” method that we honestly really tried – we called BS on it a long time ago, having realized it only aggravates our baby. Some kids can’t do that. It’s okay!
Also, I’d like to break the popularized myth that babies should be sleeping uninterruptedly in 100% of cases. A lot of children, up until the age of three, wake up one to three times per night to either drink milk, water or they need to pee (if they’re out of diapers). If your child is waking up, too, it’s okay. There’s no need to try to change that or force them into behaving unlike they do. Over time, they will develop the skill to sleep without being woken up by their needs. I assure you! Until then, both you and I have to push through it!
Here are some things that help us put our son back to sleep in a matter of minutes, that you can start applying – today!
Feed your baby
If our son wakes up crying in the middle of the night, to us, this is usually the sign to give him his bottle. Don’t shy away from feeding your baby at night just because you’ve been told not to. Some babies need that extra bottle or breastfeeding session and that’s okay. You probably haven’t heard about a 10 year old waking up to get a bottle of milk or breastfeed. Sounds creepy, right? The point is – this, too, shall pass – no matter what.
Give your baby water
If your baby likes water and eats a lot of solids throughout the day, she may be thirsty. Water is usually the first thing I offer to my son – he eats a lot of solid food on a daily basis. If he keeps grunting or crying after water, I give him milk.
Stroke your baby’s head/back
Sometimes, babies just want to cuddle. Even if you’re busy or tired, give that extra few minutes of attention to your little one. They just want a few extra minutes (and cuddles) from you! For us, this method works probably 6 out of 10 times!
Rock your baby
If nothing else helps and your baby is still crying, pick her up and rock her. I’m not very good at this, but my husband is the king of picking our son up and somehow putting him back to sleep while still holding him upright. There’s just something about sons and their daddies that makes this possible!
Sometimes you gotta!
Push the baby in a stroller
I’m not proud at this, but we do it often. Sometimes, we even put him to sleep in a stroller and then move him to the crib after 10 minutes, if he spends an hour refusing to sleep in his crib even though he’s super tired. Of course, the wheels are always clean! I promise you, this method works!
Bring the baby to your bed
My son will sometimes wake up and will only want to lay next to me, cuddling. I’m okay with it – I treasure these moments! I lay behind him, since he sleeps on his side, and I hold him until he’s asleep. Once he’s sleeping tightly, I put him in the crib.
If the baby’s got cramps – give her a bath
If your baby is cramping, there’s no other option than turning the lights on. Whatever method for cramps you use it, now is the time. For us, a warm bath (yes, even at 3am) works – it relaxes the stomach muscles enough for him to pass the gas (and boy, does he enjoy making fart bubbles in the water!).
If the baby’s teething – apply the cooling gel on the gums
We only do this if we’re 100% sure he’s teething. Usually, the baby will cry if you touch the gums, that’s how you know. For us, it does the job!
Let the baby cry it out
I don’t like this method. Some people swear by it, though. We tried for a whole month. Our son just didn’t grow fond of sleeping alone. What can you do.
#11 bonus tip: Use the pacifier if you need to!
We used to do this, but we got rid of paci about a month ago. Best decision we’ve ever made!
Before the night sleep, though… Make sure to do all these things to ensure they’re not the problem:
- Cluster-feed before bedtime
- Use white noise
- Keep the room dark
- Limit daytime naps
- Have a good bedtime routine
Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments! Good luck!