Top 5 Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Through The Night

When I found out that I was pregnant with my son, I vowed that I would not make the same mistakes that I made with my daughter, when it came to his bedtime routine.   Putting together his cot, swinging crib & moses basket, cooing over the beautifully perfect bedding that would keep him warm and safe through the night, I was quietly confident that I could stick to my plan.

With my daughter, I was resound in the fact that I would keep bedtime structured, not feed in the night & not pick her up all the time, at the slightest of whimpers.  Perhaps it was my steely determination which made it almost inevitable that I would cave in, at some point.  Try as I might to ignore her faint cries, I was weak to my maternal instincts and just had to go in for ‘the cuddle’.  And, as they say, ‘when you start, you can’t stop’.  This was unfortunately true.  I did indeed create a rod for my own back, as it took nearly two years to get my daughter to 1, stay in her bed, and 2, sleep through the night.

I can still remember the night when it finally happened.  I had settled Letoya into her bed, read her a book and gave her a bedtime cuddle.  Upon parting, Letoya ran out of her bed screaming, begging her dad & I not to go.  Now, don’t get me wrong, this did tug on my heartstrings, but after two years with next to no sleep, this was a sure thing.  It was going to happen one way or another.  We continued to tell her to go to bed, or we would have to close her door.  As you can probably predict, this didn’t happen.

Fast-forward approximately two hours of crying, negotiating, and toy-launching, Letoya finally gave in, and we had 7 glorious hours of sleep.  I awoke that morning feeling like a functioning human being again!

When Ethan arrived, we promised ourselves that this would not happen in the same way, for his and our sake.  As much as we tried, things did not happen as we had wanted.  But, whilst we got off to a rocky start, we overcame a lot of challenges to get to where we are now, by figuring out what worked for us.

  1. Setting Up A Good Routine

When babies are young, they sleep through much of the day.  Coming up to the three month mark, this decreases significantly, allowing a better routine to be established.  We made sure that Ethan had a bath, a good feed and cuddle, and was laid down to rest with a warm goodnight kiss and left the room.  Of course, there were whimpers and cries, but unless we thought that there was something genuinely wrong or that he was in serious distress, we let him settle.

2.  Encouraging A Comfort Blanket/Object.

Ethan has a blanket that he absolutely loves.  God forbid bedtime comes around and it is not within arms reach.    I can still remember picking it out at six month’s pregnant.  Every night at bedtime we lay his blanket over his pillow and he nuzzles and cuddles it to sleep.  As soon as he associated his blanket with sleep time, things were so much easier.


3.  Allowing Him To Self-Soothe

I have to admit, I am a complete softie when it comes to babies and crying.  Well, anything or anyone crying.  To say that it was a struggle to do the self-soothe method, is a huge understatement, but after months of tip-toeing out of Ethan’s room, whilst balancing on one toe to avoid the creaky floorboard, we were exhausted.  I would never let him become overly distressed, but babies need to learn to self- soothe.  Even as adults, we awake in the night and go back to sleep without even realising.  This is a learned skill.  I realise that self-soothing is a much debated topic, but for us, after months of having little to no sleep, we decided to try it, believing that five minutes of crying would be far less stressful for Ethan than a whole night, waking constantly.


4.  Limit Activities Close To Bedtime

When I get home from work I cannot wait to cuddle and play with my little ones.  From the minute I drive up the driveway I can see them rushing to the window to greet me.  We get a little playtime before dinner, followed by a bath and a book.  I make sure, as much as is possible, that I keep the last hour before bed as calm and relaxing.  Bath time is a time for gentle play.  After this Ethan chooses a couple of books he would like reading and we have a cuddle and a read.  By the time we have finished I can see him rubbing his eyes, ready to snooze.

 5.  Keep Daytime Naps Consistent

There is no doubt, that every day is different when you have a young family.  From after school clubs, to play dates and homework to housework, keeping a two hour window at the same time every day isn’t easy.  However, I cannot stress how important this has been in our attempts to have a happy baby and a good night’s sleep.  We make sure that Ethan sleeps for a good amount of time around midday (not too late in the day).  This ensures that he has a good 6 hours before he goes to bed.  Setting up routine encourages good and repeated behaviours, which are crucial when you are balancing sleep, work and family.

I would like to say to all mothers and fathers, there is no one size fits all with bedtime, or any aspect of parenting.  I have lost count of the number of times that we felt absolutely desperate for something to work for us.  We had so many sleepless nights, but it is important to know that you are not alone.  It is not just you, or your baby.  We are all in this together.  It does take time, and it will get better.  Stick with it and do what feels right to you.  When you find out what that is, you will sleep like a baby!

Please share your tips and any words of encouragement for any parents going through bedtime struggles,

Thank you for visiting Wonderling!

Much Love,

Lisa xx

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19 Comments

  1. March 14, 2017 / 8:59 am

    How lovely when you capture the essence of what works and just stick to it! Kids do well on a good routine. As a teacher and mother I know this only too well. Well done to you.

    • wonderlingblog
      March 14, 2017 / 10:21 am

      My kids really thrive on routine.. we would be lost without it. I find it gives them a sense of security and familiarity. Thank you!

  2. onelazychic
    March 14, 2017 / 9:29 am

    I wish I read this when my daughter was young. She was a worst sleeper..i tried anything from let her cried to setting all bed time routine and i didn’t work. I totally understand how it felt to awoke one morning feeling like a functioning human being again when she finally slept through at 2 yrs old.

    • wonderlingblog
      March 14, 2017 / 10:20 am

      It is such a relief when they finally get it isn’t it! I don’t know how I could work and make it through the day if things had stayed as they were back then!

  3. March 14, 2017 / 9:29 am

    What a little cutiepie ! Definitely a routine is so important, I’m struggling with my 5 year old waking up ready to go at 5am

    • wonderlingblog
      March 14, 2017 / 11:54 am

      Oh no! On the flip side my daughter no longer wants to wake up for school!

  4. March 14, 2017 / 11:19 am

    very nice post.I enjoyed reading every bit of it.

  5. March 14, 2017 / 11:31 am

    Thanks for this post.its so nice.I really like reading from your blog too.

  6. March 14, 2017 / 5:55 pm

    Not having babies yet, but most definitely a good text to remember! Nicely done! 🙂

  7. March 14, 2017 / 9:22 pm

    I dont have any kids as yet but I always hear parents talking about routine and how important it is. They say if the a baby has not routine its an abslute nightmare and they suggest you implement it from a very early age in a childs life

    • wonderlingblog
      March 15, 2017 / 8:01 am

      That is definitely true. We are all creatures of habit really!

  8. In Veronica's Corner
    March 15, 2017 / 1:18 am

    I totally agree with your tips as these all helped me with my LO!

    • wonderlingblog
      March 15, 2017 / 8:00 am

      Thanks Veronica.

  9. je55iemullin5
    March 15, 2017 / 3:51 pm

    Your maternal instinct to go to your crying baby was not weak. A baby’s need for their mother/cuddles is just as real and important as any other physical need.

    • wonderlingblog
      March 15, 2017 / 5:38 pm

      That’s so nicely put thank you x

  10. March 17, 2017 / 7:56 am

    I still struggle with a sleep routine now, and my little one is nearly 2 years old. I really pray she gets into a routine but i can’t help but cuddle her when she cries. lol. Thanks for this, I’m going to implement them x

  11. March 17, 2017 / 6:07 pm

    Great tips! My little one is 3 1/2 and has always been a terrible sleeper!

  12. March 18, 2017 / 10:59 am

    It’s so important to establish a sleeptime routine, that is the best thing that I’ve done for my kids. They love going to bed at the same time every night and have always slept through.

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