There is a new baby in your house, and no one is getting any sleep at all! You ask yourself, why is my baby not sleeping through the night? What can I do to get her on a healthy sleep schedule?
In the first year of your baby's life there are many variances to what are considered normal sleep patterns. Some babies are able to sleep from four to six hours at a stretch by the time they're 2 months old. Some babies don't sleep through the night until they're 3 - 6 months old and beyond. If your baby is happy and alert, seeming to be playful and cheerful during the time she is awake, she is probably getting enough sleep.
Consistency is key! Consistency is important to establish in your home. Try to put your baby down at the same time each night. The same goes for an established nap routine. If your baby cries, do not rush back into the room. Be consistent and wait a few minutes. She may calm down and fall asleep after crying for a short time. Many babies do cry when they are laid down to sleep, and this is not uncommon. The crying usually does not last for long, and your baby will soon fall asleep.
Swaddle your baby when you lay her down at night, and keep the lights dim. A soft night light sheds enough radiance for you and your baby to see in the darkness, but not so much light that it keeps her awake.
Establish a routine for your baby. There are some things you can do to encourage healthy sleeping habits for your baby. Even at a very young age babies need an established routine. Rocking your baby, singing or playing soft lullabies to lull her to sleep can be helpful. She will associate these soothing activities with nap time or bedtime and this will help to relax her.
If your baby sleeps too much during the day, she will have more trouble sleeping at night. A good rule of thumb is not to let your baby sleep more than two or three hours at a time during the daytime hours. When midnight rolls around, you will be very happy that you had such foresight!
Giving your baby a bath is a great way to start the bedtime process. That and her bedtime feeding should be a relaxing way to end the day.
No two children are alike and babies need time to adjust to this new life, just like we do. As you are learning, trust your instincts and try to relax. Do not stress too much, and be patient with yourself. Those first few months may be tiring, but they will not last forever, and you will sleep again!