Probably the most frequent question a new mother is asked is: Is she sleeping through the night yet? Having been asked this question literally hundreds of times over the last 10 years and 7 children, I have some tips for new mothers on how to train your baby to sleep through the night!
1. Nurse your baby but offer one bottle a day… the last feeding at around midnight. For five of my children I have been blessed to be able to nurse them from anywhere from six to eleven months. (For my twins I expressed the milk into bottles for 9 months as they were born premature and never could latch on.) With all of them however I have used the Avent bottles from the very first week to supplement with one bottle feeding per day and maybe one more in emergencies when it was impossible or extremely inconvenient to nurse them. The bottle feeding is saved for the very last feeding of the day usually between 10 pm and midnight. Since the bottle is easier for a tired baby to suck on, they get a little more milk in their tummy than they would if they had been nursing. The formula also fills them up a little more than mommy’s milk! Usually this one trick will keep them full till about five am or six am!
2. Keep the lights out! When those middle of the night feedings come, don’t turn the lights on or talk to your precious bundle. A good idea is to have a nightlight or a lamp with different settings so you can have a low dim if needed. After feeding your baby, only change the diaper if absolutely needed or change them before you nurse. You want to have as little activity as possible during the night. The goal is to train them to go back to sleep right away!
3. Have the baby in your room for the first six months. Nurseries are nice but they are for later! Having your baby at arms reach allows you to pick up your crying baby before they reach the desperate screaming stage!
And that’s it! Sorry if you were expecting a secret formula! That is all I have done with all of my children and all of them started sleeping through the night almost immediately.
If you have a baby with day and night switched, all I can say is ENJOY your baby! Pretty soon they will learn to sleep through the night and it will all be a memory… and a sweet memory even if it does not feel like it at the time!