The key to getting a child over one year to sleep well and through the night is to teach her how to self-soothe back to sleep when she wakes up.
- Also read: Willing to try just about anything to get your baby to sleep through the night? Check out this mom's clever sleep hack
Doing so takes lots of patience, as you have to basically change her associations with sleep. For example, she may be used to feeding just before bedtime, or she may be used to getting rocked to sleep. Here’s how you can get your baby to fall asleep – and stay asleep – on her own:
1. Get her to sleep without feeding
If your baby is used to being put to sleep with a feed or by rocking, your goal is to get her to go down without these props. This means putting her to bed while she's still awake so that she learns to fall asleep by herself.
2. Change your feeding habit
The easiest way to break the association with feeding and sleep is to feed baby in another room, like the living room, before bed.
- Also read: 5 sleep secrets for new moms
3. Get dad to help
Once she's fed and feeling full, dad can help you out by putting her to bed to further break any sleep associations she has. Dad can still rock her to sleep at this stage to help her get to sleep.
4. Stop the rocking
The next stage is to break the association between rocking and sleeping. To start doing this you can rock your baby until she's drowsy but not yet asleep and put her in her bed in this state. Gradually cut down the amount of time spent rocking until you no longer need to do it at all.
- Also read: How to get your baby into a sleep routine
5. Keep things calm
Once you've reached this stage, it's time to tackle those night-time wakings. When your baby wakes up during the night, do not pick her up to soothe her, simply rub her back gently and make very soft comforting sounds. Don't put on a bright light either as this will really wake her up. She'll eventually learn to soothe herself back to sleep.
When and how did you get your little one to sleep through the night? Share your tips with us by commenting below or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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