The largest gap I have had between babies was this one.
Between #4 & #5.
The younger boys are roughly 34 months apart.
Because of this gap, I forgot how to get in the groove of sleep with a baby again!
HENSE this post ;)
~ At what age can/will they sleep for a longer stretch of time? ~
~ How do I encourage them to sleep through the night? ~
~ What "method" is best for teaching them when to sleep? ~
First of all, like most, if not all, things pertaining to children, our job as parents is to TRAIN our children. We teach them everything from how to brush their hair, to how to appropriately close a door, to how to pick up their toys when their finished playing.
Potty training as well as training a baby to sleep is no different in my opinion.
|Duke loves to scoot his head onto my bed. I think it's because my sheets smell like me. :)|
#1) At what age can/will a baby sleep for a longer stretch of time?
They can be trained anywhere between 6 weeks and 3 months. By 3 months baby should be sleeping through the whole night. Some babies start to sleep for longer stretches much earlier then that.
Aryeh is almost 6 weeks now (6 weeks tomorrow) and I started training him 4 days ago to understand when night time is and how to fall asleep in his bassinet without me rocking him or nursing him to sleep.
I look for "ready signs". Each of my babies hit these at different times. The twins at 4 weeks, Hayven and Elias at around 5-6 weeks.
I look for times of cluster feeding (wanting to nurse every 30 minutes - every hour around bed time) as well as a nap or a night when baby decides to start skipping feedings (sleeping for 4-6 hour stretches!). I also consider baby's weight and overall health.
Have they gained their birth weight and some back?
Are they sick?
Have they been having horrible gas pains or signs of acid reflux?
#2) How do I encourage them to sleep through the night?
I've read the schedules/night time routines help babies a lot. I don't personally like giving my baby a bath every night or things like that.
I pick a "bed time". Duke's is between 9pm-10pm. I nurse him as much as he wants in the evening, then a final nurse right after a final diaper change. I tell him I love him, give him kisses, lay him down, give him his pacifier, rub his back a little, then walk away for 15-20 minutes.
I check on him, give him back his pacifier, rub his back, kiss him, tell him it's bed time and I love him, then leave the room again.
Night #1 He'll probably scream a good hour or two. He'll fall asleep and maybe wake up to nurse at his next feeding or maybe he'll skip a feeding.
** Skipping Feedings: If I am training at a young age (6 weeks - 2 months), I still feed every 2 hours if baby wants to, although I've found my babies will start to sleep for 4-6 hour stretches when being trained to go to bed by themselves. I like to encourage a good milk supply for as long as I can and don't force my baby to skip feedings if they want to nurse. However, with my twins I trained them to sleep 8 hours through the night without a feeding at around 2-3 months old. It's all preference really. But at about 3 months, you can choose to make baby to sleep for a longer period of time (8-12 hours). **
Night #2 He'll cry a little less and sleep a little longer.
Night #3 & #4 He'll maybe fuss a little or just go right to sleep. Even if he still screams for a long time, reevaluate if he's having other health issues. If not, STICK TO THE PLAN!
The point is, it should get easier as you go along. If not, make sure he's not dealing with reflux or other issues. Try different sleeping positions (in a swing, on a boppy pillow, swaddled up, on his belly ect)
I do not believe that letting a baby cry hurts their "self-esteem" or causes them to have "trust issues". I believe it's good for them to cry, (when they're perfectly healthy and get plenty of love from mama during most of the day).
I'll never forget when my twins were born and my babies were having a good SCREAMING episode at my grandmother's house while we were playing a card game. She encouraged me to leave them be.
"They need to know you can't always hold them. They need to be able to play or be by themselves. Crying is good for their lungs and helps them get tuckered out to fall asleep."
My husband also says,
"I'm pretty sure no baby has ever died from just crying..."
I think letting your baby cry is much harder for the parent then the child, like most things in parenting.
"Hayven, don't walk in front of that swing!"
There she goes in front of the swing... :/
You run out and grab her before she gets hit.
Does she look out for the swing next time?
Because she doesn't realize that it will hurt her, because you spared her from that. Now she's relying on you to save her instead of her learning to be vigilant.
**THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS TO THIS! I am not saying NEVER hold you crying baby. I am just giving examples that it is okay to let your baby cry when there is nothing wrong with them and you are teaching them to sleep by themselves or sit without being held for a short portion of time. **
|Aryeh and his cousin Jedediah!|
I always train my kids with a ministry event in mind. If my husband and I are over at someone's house late night ministering to a family, do I want to have to nurse and rock my baby to sleep, or do I want to be able to lay them down in another room and know that they can comfort themselves to sleep?
Also, in reality, I have 4 other children that need attention. I often will have baby strapped to me during the day so he gets held and snuggled, but I cannot coax him to sleep for 20-40 minutes every time he is sleepy.
Sleep is important for YOU and BABY.
Time in the evening is important for your marriage. ;)
So with Aryeh, Last night (night #4) I laid him down around 9:30pm, and he went right to sleep with no fussing at all.
He slept until 3:30am, at which point I nursed him and we both fell asleep.
He woke up at 6:30am to nurse again.
Once he establishes a good, solid sleeping routine at night, I will start to train for nap times and teach him when I want him to nap (during school, during our whole families nap time, and during dinner prep).
I'll work with his natural awake-sleep cycles, but I'll encourage them at specific times as best as I can.
Maybe another post about this later? :)
Sleep is important. For baby AND for mom.
Pray about it.
Look for ready signs.
Ask your husband to keep you accountable to not picking baby up when he cries.
Commit to a plan!