Sleeping in children and sleeping through is very often a very big problem in households. Babies can start sleeping through from as young as 4-6 months, but this often does not happen and as the child grow older sleeping becomes just more and more of a battle. This scenario often ends in exhausted parents and hyperactive children.
Sleeping through is a learned behaviour. It is something the body had to learn to do. You normally go through a number of sleep cycles every night, at times sleeping deeper and other times sleeping lighter again. Usually you will fall asleep in a certain position which your brain associates with the induction of sleep. On your tummy, back or sides, with a teddy bear, or close to your partner. When you are finished with a sleep cycle you will automatically turn back to that specific position and go for a second sleep cycle again, without realizing it and without waking up.
Babies also sleep in cycles, but instead of immediately going into the next cycle they wake up and usually something must happen in order to put them back to sleep again. During the first couple of months mothers usually do a lot to make their babies to sleep. Rock them, Push them in a pram, put them in the car, on the dishwasher etc. or put them in their beds or on their chests. This leads initially to a very good sleep pattern but after 6 months they start waking up more often, become more demanding, and generally sleeping poorly.
If baby gets used to be in mommy’s bed or that mommy needs to do something like rocking to make him asleep, every time he wakes up and find that the environment has changed, like finding himself in his own bed suddenly – he will cry and the process will have to start all over again. If he is used to fall asleep in mommy’s bed he will not go to bed when he is older unless the parents go to sleep as well.
So the best way to guarantee your baby to start sleeping through is to from an early age – 6 weeks teach him how to fall asleep in his own bed on his own. From 6 weeks, they start sleeping longer stretches and will not wake up that often for feeds any more. If they are able to get themselves to sleep in the beginning of the evening they will often wake up, realize that they are not hungry, talk a little bit, and then go back to sleep. To help your baby sleep through at night it is important to not give a lot of attention to your baby during the night time. When he wakes up, feed him, burp him, change his nappy and put him back. Do not talk with him, make eye contact, switch on the lights or rock him back to sleep. The more attention he gets during the night, the more your baby thinks night time is supposed to be playtime instead of sleep time.
With this early routine your baby will often sleep through by 6 months of age.
Night time drinking after 6 months often has nothing to do with hunger, but is more of a habit. Try to wean him off drinking during the night before then.
If you train this way from early on, you will often find that sleep does not hold any nightmares for you – Good night with sweet dreams.