Get Baby to Sleep!
That newborn of yours took a while to figure out the difference between night and day — and you expected this. But you didn’t anticipate that his whole first year could leave you feeling like you got a job working the graveyard shift. If sleep deprivation has you weeping into your coffee mug, take heart: It’s possible to put an end to those 2 a.m. wake-up calls. “After 4 months, a baby’s natural preference is to sleep,” says clinical social worker Jennifer Waldburger, coauthor of The Sleep-Easy Solution. “He just doesn’t always know how to stay asleep. But even bad habits are usually fixable in just a few days.” Use our advice to sort out what’s keeping your baby up at night.
Wean Baby Off the Pacifier
Slumber-buster: Your baby loses his paci again and again, waking him often.
Sleep-through solution: By 8 months, most Binky babies have the fine motor skills to put their paci back in their mouth — a good thing since experts say using a nighttime pacifier can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) during the first year. “Until then, your choice is either to get rid of the pacifier altogether, or to let your baby cry it out in the middle of the night,” says Janet K. Kennedy, Ph.D., founder of NYC Sleep Doctor, a sleep-consultation service. She’s helped many babies with this problem, including her own daughter when she was 5 months old. “From 4 to 5:30 a.m., we were constantly going to her room to put in her paci, so I finally just let her cry it out. It took a couple of days and was really brutal at first, but she was eventually able to go to sleep with a pacifier and then not need it again.”
Play White Noise Sounds
Slumber-buster: Slight noises — even you clicking off a lamp — wake your baby.
Sleep-through solution: Use a white-noise machine or a fan to create a gentle hum that masks other sounds. “A whooshing white noise becomes a sleep association,” says Dr. Kennedy. “If you turn it on as part of your baby’s bedtime routine, it’ll cue her to relax and go to sleep.” Don’t want to buy a noise machine? Search online for “white noise MP3s” for downloadable sound tracks, like one of a hair dryer.