Having a baby who's born prematurely can change the timeline of your baby's milestones. Since he made his way out of the womb and into the world before his time, your baby may take a little longer to catch up with his other newborn peers. But your baby will do what other babies do — just on a small delay. But are there some things that are harder to accomplish due to a premature birth? For instance, can you sleep train if your baby is a premie?
No matter if a baby is born early, late, or right on time, all parents are wondering the same thing: when will my child sleep through the night. Putting those multiple nightly wake up calls behind them is something parents dream about, but for those of you who've had a premie, start summoning all the patience you can. According to the website Healthy Children, from the American Academy of Pediatrics, a premie baby may not sleep a full eight hours until they're 6 months old or later, as opposed to a full term baby, who might sleep a full eight hours by 4 months of age.
But just because a premie isn't going to be ready to sleep train until later on, doesn't mean the opportunity will never present itself. In fact, you can start paving the way for good sleep habits right away. Try focusing on good naps, using skin-to-skin contact, and sleeping with your baby near you to lay the groundwork for solid sleep, as Baby Center suggested. All of these techniques are ways you can help your premie develop positive associations with slumber.
When it comes to sleep training, the fact that your baby was born prematurely will have no effect on the process, with the exception of a later start date. Keep in mind that as a baby grows, the developmental changes that happen can effect sleep, according to Parents magazine. So roadblocks such as day and night confusion and sleep regressions are things to factor in when you're ready to start sleeping training your baby. Establishing a healthy and effective sleep schedule for your premie may take a little longer, but eventually he will be snoozing through the night (which means more Zs for you, too).