How to Get Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night Alone
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Are you tired of co-sleeping or bed-sharing with your child? (Co-sleeping means in your room. Bed-sharing means in your bed.)
I must admit, I loved the extra loving and snuggling with my little one in bed, but after a few weeks of co-sleeping, I got a good glimpse of my future.
It was going to be the three of us sharing a bed. That didn’t sound so good.
I liked my sleep. And so did my husband.
From my days as a teacher, I knew one thing for sure-repetition created habits. You start the way you want to end up. That is when I decided to move our little baby boy into his crib.
Over the next couple of years, I listened to many of my friends’ nighttime soap operas that included the “family bed” while I got a good night of sleep most nights. He slept through at six weeks thanks to Babywise.
For those of you who are happy with your co-sleeping situation, by all means, keep doing it! But if you are looking for a change, check out this post.
How to Get Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night
I heard Keriann MacElroy, a certified pediatric sleep consultant, speak at our MOPS group. Here are some of her tips to get your baby to sleep through the night…alone.
By the way, she says to avoid co-sleeping or bed-sharing.
1. Create a routine
Start day one on a routine. Yep, a habit. This will help your baby regulate his circadian rhythm. Did you know we all make melatonin? It goes from about 7 pm – 7 am. Work with it!
Eat, play, nap, and have a bedtime routine about the same time every day. Make the days you are off your routine an exception. Not the rule.
Us News says, “Researchers also found that one of the three family routines for preschoolers – a regular bedtime schedule – might be the most important of all.”
2. Early bedtime
Your child naturally starts making melatonin at about 6-8 pm depending on age. If you don’t put your child to bed during this time, he/she will get a second wind a little later.
Staying up late actually prohibits a body from making melatonin.
I’m sure you have witnessed your child late at night bouncing off the walls when he/she is overtired. Cortisol kicked in. EEK.
And you triggered it by keeping him/her up. Wow.
3. Dark room
We all sleep better in the dark. Make your child’s space as dark as possible during nap time and bedtime. Get blackout curtains or heavy shades to help block out the light.
Don’t use a night light. If you have to get one, use only one. And make sure it is yellow or amber light. Blue and green lights inhibit melatonin more than any other shade of light.
Watch out for alarm clocks, phones, and iPads. They are all stimulants and can inhibit sleep.
4. Boring bed
Your child is there to sleep. Nothing else. Don’t put toys, animals or books in bed if it is sleep time. It is a distraction.
5. White noise
Keriann said a noise machine is okay. Her test is that if your child can take it to college, then he can have it now. Great way to decide if it is okay. Start where you want to end up.
6. Cool temperature
Keriann said to have the house between 68 degrees to 72 degrees. It needs to be comfortable.
7. Set clear boundaries
Your child needs to understand that she is not allowed to get out of bed. Make sure there is a meaningful consequence in place if the child decides to test you. ENFORCE it. You will not get a decent night sleep if you don’t do this. Sickness and loud storms are an exception.
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Does It Really Work?
I did all of the things Keriann suggested when I had babies, and it worked. I used Babywise. It was the BEST thing I ever did.
I am so glad I did it earlier rather than later. It would have been much harder to transition a toddler or elementary-age child than a baby. He was so young, he didn’t know the difference.
What Will You Do?
What will you do? I know many other cultures and even people in America co-sleep/bed share. They say things are fine. And it may be for you.
But if you are looking for a change, then try these steps to get your child to sleep in his own bed. It may be hard at first, but once the transition is made, you will have a much better night’s sleep. And you may find it also improves your marriage.
Do you co-sleep or bed-share? And by the way, you are not a bad mom if you do!
Book on Family Estrangement from a Biblical Point of View
Are you experiencing family problems? Perhaps you and a loved one are no longer speaking to each other. Don’t go another day without reading this book. It addresses family problems and estrangement from a biblical point of view. Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart is on Amazon or at your favorite digital store.
Get Creating Family Memories for FREE in exchange for your email. If you get this book, it will help you build a good relationship with your kids so that when the hard times come (teen years), you will be able to weather the storm.
Scroll down or look to the side to sign up. You can also get it at your favorite bookstore.
Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the group Christian Family Living. This is a place for Christian women to share their experiences and get helpful tools to navigate the Christian life. We love to laugh, cry, and encourage each other to live out our faith one day at a time.
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