When you're a parent, "sleeping through the night" can be a little ambiguous. Before becoming a mom I considered a good night's sleep to be a solid eight hours of glorious slumber. Once home with that little bundle of wiggly noise, however, my standards needed to be lowered. Considerably. I breastfed my son and when he spontaneously, at 3 months, stopped his 3 a.m. feed and snoozed from midnight through to 6 a.m., I was so happy and surprised. So, I asked 10 moms for their real-like hacks to get their child to sleep through the night, because that level of happiness and surprise should be shared with new parents the world over.
I've also realized that, truth be told, I was just lucky. Although I did follow a few steps to encourage my baby to sleep well, I am pretty sure some babies just sleep better than others, and there isn't much poor, sleep-deprived parents can do (except survive). If you are willing to try anything, though, you can always give a few of the tips I used a whirl, and try to calm your little one in preparation of a good night's sleep.
I followed Dr. Harvey Karp's tips from the book "The Happiest Baby on the Block." He has a program where parents practice the "5 S's" to help calm fussy babies ready for sleep. The "5 S's" are:
- Side lying (just to calm baby, babies should always be placed on their back to sleep)
- Shushing (like the sound inside the womb)
- Sucking (using a pacifier)
These tips worked for me and my baby, but read on for some other moms real-life hacks for getting their child to sleep through the night:
"We used a Wabanub. It's a pacifier attached to a little soft toy, and lays gently on baby's chest so it never gets lost in the night. Genius!"
"My tip is blackout curtains. My toddler was always waking up at 5 a.m. as soon as the sun was starting to come up. So, I got really thick total blackout curtains and now he sleeps until a more reasonable 6:30 a.m."
"I practice meditation with my daughters before bed. We stretch, and then sit quietly in the dark and listen to some relaxing music. It really sets the scene for a restful night."
"I bought a bunch of cheap dollar store glow-in-the-dark stars and put them all over my kids ceiling. It made a big difference."
"I let my daughter help decorate her room. Because she felt involved, she now loves being in her bedroom and spends a lot of time in there, quite happily."
"I am a big fan of swaddling. It totally calmed my baby and signaled that it was sleep time."
"I swear by essential oils and massage. I use lavender drops and give my baby a relaxing massage before sleep time. I actually went on a baby massage course and it was fascinating."
"My mother taught me a tip, where you very lightly rub the child's face and scalp. It works every time!"
"My hack sounds silly, but I just really wear my kid out. I believe in lots of physical activity and sunshine every day, so I literally run them until they drop and we always get a good nights sleep."
"I read a tip about making sure you gave your baby a stuffy that smelled like you. I actually slept with his soft toy between my boobs for a few days and even sprayed some breast milk on it! It seems to be working so far."