Tried and tested sleep strategies

Get your baby sleeping through the night with these successful strategies.

Every sleep deprived parent’s holy grail is getting their baby to sleep through the night. Besides establishing a consistent bedtime routine, here are some other steps you can take to encourage your baby to let you get a full night’s sleep.

Keep feed, play and sleep separate

Keep these three steps separate by making sure feeding happens in your arms, play happens on the play mat and sleeping happens in the cot. This helps you recognise when your baby is tired and teaches your baby to settle themselves and sleep on their own. That way when they wake up in the middle of the night, they don’t need you to rock them back to sleep again.

Wake your baby for one last feed before you go to bed

Before you turn in for the night, try waking your baby for a late-night feed. Even if your baby is too sleepy to feed much, whatever he does drink may be enough to give you an extra hour or two of sleep. This might backfire though and make your baby wake up more often. If this happens, try to give them more milk at their last feed before bedtime.

Stretch out the feeds

By the time your baby is 3 or 4 months old, you can start stretching out the time between feeds. Add half an hour or so between night needs every other night. You should be able to slowly stretch out the feeds until your baby is ready to give up their night feed and sleep through the night.

Shorten night time feeds

Gradually reduce the amount of milk your baby drinks at night feeds until they’re ready to give up this meal. Just put a little less in the bottle or spend less time on each breast and keep decreasing the amount every night.

Don’t rush to feed your baby

If your baby wakes up crying, wait a while before offering a feed. Your baby might entertain themselves or fall asleep again. If the crying gets louder and more insistent, try to soothe them with a quiet lullaby or by patting them gently. When your baby realises that waking up at night won’t lead to a feed, they’ll be more likely to sleep through the night.

Skip diaper changes

Do away with diaper changes in the middle of the night unless your baby is in a complete mess. If you have to change a dirty diaper, keep the lights dim with as little talking or interaction as possible, so your baby doesn’t think it’s time to wake up and party.