Dear Counselor Mom,
My baby is 6 months old and doesn’t sleep through the night yet. My friends babies have slept through the night since 2 months old. How can I get my baby to sleep through the night?
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this. All babies are different. My son slept through the night at 4 months old when we switched him from the pack n play to crib, and my daughter started sleeping through the night at 15 months old (VERY recently). I have friends whose babies slept through the night at 3 months old and some parents who have 3 year olds who still do not sleep through the night!
I do have a few suggestions. First, check the obvious. Is your baby comfortable at night and tummy full? Is she wearing appropriate clothing that does not keep her too warm or cold at night? There is some debate on message boards that a full tummy doesn’t help a baby sleep at night. To me, that sounds silly. Can YOU sleep well when you are hungry? It’s common sense. Second, try switching sleep environments. Is she currently sleeping in the swing? Try switching her to a crib if possible.
Third, do you have a schedule? Although some babies can be unpredictable, especially nursing babies, try to implement a nightly routine. Just because your baby doesn’t sleep well, doesn’t mean you don’t need a routine. A routine will help your baby learn what to expect each night. Another suggestion is the cry it out method (yes, I know). To me, this does NOT mean letting your baby cry all night long. Sometimes babies are OVER tired and cranky, and the way they express their unhappiness with being overtired is by crying. Letting a baby cry for a FEW minutes does not make you a bad mom if you know that your baby is safe and needs are met. After a few minutes, if your baby is still crying, then please attend to your baby.
If none of the suggestions help, unfortunately this might mean your baby is just not ready to sleep through the night. I know that is not the answer you want to hear but all babies really are that different. If you are concerned about your baby’s sleep pattern, please talk to your pediatrician about your concerns.