Step 1: Responding to your baby’s hunger in the first few months
Step 2: Helping your baby distinguish between night and day
Step 3: Provide your baby with a safe and secure night time environment
Step 4: Try to establish some rhythms during the day
Step 5: Establish an early bedtime routine
Step 6: Try to act on the physiological causes of your baby’s sleep disturbance.
Step 7: Consult an osteopath
In the first few months of life, a newborn baby must be fed regularly every 3 to 4 hours, including at night. Nothing can change this, but many little things together can help a baby sleep longer and more peacefully as soon as it is physiologically possible.
To sleep at least 6-8 hours at night, your baby must meet two conditions:
Be physiologically able to do so, which usually doesn’t happen until your baby is at least 5 kg or 9-10 weeks old.
Start recognizing day and night, which you can do something about as soon as he comes home.
This practical sheet reviews all the ways and tricks to help the baby sleep through the night as soon as possible.
1. Respond to your baby’s hunger in the first few months
In the first few months of life, your baby is awake with hunger and has a compelling need to be fed every 3 to 4 hours. The best thing you can do for your baby is meeting his or her hunger needs day and night.
When it comes to your baby’s physiological needs, you can control a few parameters. However:
Never wake your baby at night to feed him: allow him to gradually space out his feedings or bottles on his own.
As soon as he sleeps 5 or 6 hours in a row, he tries to gradually adjust his schedule so that you, too, can have some semblance of a good night’s sleep: perhaps you prefer to sleep without interruption from midnight to 5 a.m. than from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.? In this case, try gradually shifting your baby’s meals during the day to arrive at the night rhythm that suits you best.
2. Help your baby distinguish between day and night
As soon as you return from the maternity ward, you can help your baby make the difference between daytime when there is light, noise, and stimulation, and nighttime when everything is silent and dark. This will help your child integrate his daytime and nighttime circadian rhythms more quickly.
Take your baby as often as possible to the room where you are. Let him sleep with a bit of noise and daylight, and he won’t be bothered.
When he starts to have a certain rhythm of waking and napping, if you have him sleep in his room (or yours), leave the door open and dim the lights without making it dark.
At night, on the other hand, let your baby sleep in the dark: don’t worry, babies just out of the womb are not afraid of the dark.
As long as you’re awake, close the door to the room where your baby sleeps to filter out outside noise.
When feeding or changing your baby at night, keep the lights low, move slowly, and keep your voice low. Don’t prolong these moments as you would during the day: feed, bottle, burp, kiss, and put your child back to bed without delay. If you don’t need to, you may not even need to change your baby… It’s up to you.
3. Provide your baby with a safe and secure environment for the night
A private room
A study proves that sleeping in a single room is healthier for children over 6 months of age than sleeping in the same room as their parents.
Generally speaking, in a single room, the child falls asleep more easily on his own, sleeps longer, and wakes up less often at night. Moreover, it allows for stable sleep patterns.
A healthy and comfortable environment
The room’s temperature should not exceed 20°C at night: set the thermostat to this temperature or place a thermometer in his room to check.
If the atmosphere is too dry, consider placing an electric humidifier in the room or a simple bowl of water on a radiator.
A secure and cozy environment
For the first few months, avoid your baby feeling lost in a traditional crib:
Ideally, put him in a cocoon mattress, which not only gives him a sense of security but makes him sleep in a position physiologically approved by physical therapists and the medical profession.
Alternatively, have him sleep in a bassinet or stroller carrycot (placed in the crib for the night), or create a cocoon to reduce the size of his bed:
with a bed reducer
or simply by reducing the space with towels rolled around your child between the mattress and the fitted sheet.
Tip: If you are the mother, give your baby a scented reminder of your reassuring presence. Before putting a comforter in the crib, sleep with it yourself one night or wear it during the day so it can smell like you.
4. Try to establish certain rhythms during the day
At first, a baby’s rhythms are erratic, and his schedule fluctuates. There’s not much you can do about the timing of his meals, but you can try to give him some cues throughout the day:
Be sure to distinguish between playtime with you and time when your baby is left alone with a cell phone in sight.
As soon as you can, try to establish a certain regularity in his day (time for a walk, bath…), which will help him sleep longer at night.
5. Establish an early bedtime routine
A bedtime routine won’t get your baby to sleep earlier, but it will make him feel secure and help him sleep peacefully. It will also make it easier for him to fall asleep in the months and years.
Choose a relatively short and straightforward ritual that you can repeat regardless of the circumstances of the bedtime, at home or in another place, for example:
Pull up his music box or musical stuffed animal (always the same).
Please put your child in his sleeping bag.
Turn off the light.
Whisper a few soft, soothing words (always the same) as you rock and cuddle your baby.
Then, put your baby in his or her crib with a blanket.
If your baby cries, react according to your sensitivity, but try to leave him in his crib, for example, by sitting with him and stroking him to soothe him.
6. Try to act on the physiological causes of your baby’s sleep disturbance
Lying flat is unbearable for a baby with GERD.
In this case, have your baby sleep in a “proclivity” position, i.e., on an inclined plane of 30 to 40°, to raise his head and limit the acid reflux that strongly disrupts his sleep (and yours).
However, don’t improvise such a sleeping position yourself, but ask your doctor for advice, who will also prescribe medication for GERD.
Infants are more likely to have colic during the day, especially in the evening, than at night. In any case, use the different ways to relieve colic: your baby’s nights will only be improved.
As soon as your baby starts sleeping through the night, his sleep can be disturbed by teething. Homeopathy can help:
Ten minutes before bedtime, give your child 3 Chamomilla 9 CH granules.
Repeat in case of nighttime awakening.
7. Consult an osteopath
When your baby is about 3 to 4 weeks old, you can take him to an osteopath.
Through very gentle, absolutely harmless manipulations, the osteopath will be able to act on the various causes that can disrupt his sleep, including GERD and colic. He will restore an excellent physiological balance, favorable to a peaceful sleep and a balanced growth of your baby.
Note: legislation prohibits osteopaths who are not doctors from treating babies under 6 months of age without a certificate of non-contra-indication to osteopathy from the family doctor.
Materials needed to help baby sleep through the night