(KUTV) Having your baby sleep through the night may seem like a dream for many parents. However, there are ways to improve your child’s sleep and development while keep the child happy and healthy.
Good sleep habits start by establishing a bedtime routine early on and sticking to it. Next, comes the sleep training.
“With some of the sleep training techniques you can hopefully get them to sleep through the night so that the whole family can get healthy and happy sleep,” says Dr. Yohanna Vernon, Pediatrician at Intermountain Budge Clinic Pediatrics.
First, since every child is different, talk to your pediatrician about whether your child is ready to start sleep training. For most kids, this means sometime between four and six months of age.
Once your pediatrician gives you the go-ahead, there are two main approaches you can take. The first is called “controlled comforting.”
“Go into your baby’s room after increasing intervals of time and comfort them. You may start out by going in, giving them a little bit of love, giving them a little pat on their back after 15 minutes,” says Dr. Vernon.
The next night you would wait 30 minutes, followed by 45, and continue to progress. This allows the child to learn that you are still there, but also learn how to soothe themselves to sleep.
The second approach is called “camping out.” This is when you sit next to your child’s crib, not holding them, and wait for your child to fall asleep. Gradually, as nights progress, you will move your chair away from the crib until eventually it’s out the door.
“They eventually get used to you being further and further away and they can soothe themselves to sleep,” says Dr. Vernon.
Be sure to follow your baby’s cues and pay attention to why they are waking up during the night. If it’s just for comfort, then its healthier to focus on the sleep. However, if your baby is struggling to gain weight and needs to eat during the night, then make sure they’re getting the proper nutrition – even if it’s during the night.
“You want to keep stimulation to a minimum: lights low, you don’t want to talk or play with your baby during the night. You want to sort of keep your baby in that half-way sleep mode,” says Dr. Vernon.