Behavior & Development • Jun 14, 2010

When did your baby sleep through the night?

“How do I get my baby to sleep through the night?”  We ask and hear this question all the time about our children of all ages, but specifically for our <1year olds.  There are many MANY approaches to helping kids learn to sleep though the night.  How did you do it? We’d love to hear your stories (some of them sob stories for poor mommas!). 

In general, infants are able to ‘self-soothe’ at around 4 months of age….meaning they can calm themselves down, entertain themselves for brief periods and go to sleep on their own.  The problem is usually in getting the parents to LET them learn to do these things.  It is tempting as mothers to run to their side as soon as you hear that snort or sniffle or wail upon waking up.  However, around this age is when your baby starts to make associations between their actions and your response, and if you sprint to their side the moment they awaken and cry then your baby learns, “hmmm, if I scream, Mommy comes and picks me up!”  So they scream.  And you don’t sleep.  (Or get anything else done for that matter.)  Teaching them to calm themselves can take days or weeks, methods vary depending on which sleep expert you talk to but almost all of them agree that it’s not the kids who are the problem…it’s the parental response. 

So tell us your stories! We really want to hear them… when did you start? What did you do? How long did it take? How long did he/she cry and how long did you cry?!  And if you are just starting (like me with my 4 1/2 month old boy) then GOOD LUCK and grab some Kleenex!

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