Teaching A Baby to Sleep Through the Night

Is your infant keeping you up all hours of the day and night? The time may have come to teach your child to sleep through the night.

In the first year and a half of a baby’s life most parents are afflicted with sleep deprivation. That’s because their babies haven’t yet mastered the fine art of sleeping through the night and often cry out for a little comfort and companionship to help them fall back into dreamland. And because most parents can’t bear to hear their little one cry, the tendency is to pick them up for some night time cuddles.

While it is important to be available to our infants, there does come a time when babies need to learn how to put themselves back to sleep on their own, explains author of Sleep Thieves, Dr. Stanley Coren. “Some place between 9 and 18 months you’re going to let your child sleep through the night. That is to say if the child starts to cry, you’re not going to go running into them”, stresses Coren. “If they cry, walk in and check to make sure there’s nothing wrong. But don’t lift them up.”

Pediatrician Dr. Marvin Gans recommends that parents keep things quiet when checking on their babies at night. “Try not to change them or feed them or do anything that reinforces the awakening period.”

If the crying continues, Dr. Gans suggests waiting about five minutes before going back in the room again. “After five minutes you can go back in for another 60 seconds and reassure yourself and the baby that everything is well, and then leave for at least another 10 minutes before going back for another 60 second visit. After a few nights this regime usually works.”

Teaching an infant to sleep through the night takes patience and perseverance on the part of a parent. But in the end, many experts believe that you and your baby will have better sleeps, leading to a more refreshed parent and child.


Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.

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