This is a tricky question to answer without digging deep into some specific details, which is unfortunate because when parents ask me this, I know they’re looking for a quick, concise, time-based answer.
Most of the time parents are hoping for me to respond “Three nights from now,” or “Six months old,” baby will be sleeping through the night. I really wish I could say it, but there are a lot of factors to consider, and some things to understand before you can narrow down the timeline and decide. Every baby has a different temperament which impacts their sleep needs. In order to find the right answer I need to assess the little one’s demeanour, needs, and wants.
The first thing I believe parents need to understand is this… Your baby will never sleep through the night. That’s true! Do you know Why? Because nobody ever does!!! No one sleeps through the night when they’re toddlers, or when they’re teenagers, or when they’re grown-ups.
We human beings sleep in cycles, which vary from light sleep to deep sleep and back again. Occasionally, when we get into the light sleep stage of a cycle, we hear a noise, or we’re in the middle of a crazy dream, the door slams or the dog jumps on the bed, or we just move a little, and that little thing, whatever it may be, is just enough to wake us up. As adults, we have experienced this a thousand times, so it’s very easier for us to just shake it off and go back to the next sleep cycle. Most of the time, the wake-up is so brief that we don’t even remember it the next day.
However, for babies who are utilized different ways to soothe themselves such as being rocked, sung, bounced, or nursed to sleep, waking up in the night requires external help to reconnect their next sleep cycles so they get a peaceful snooze. So that’s the main reason why baby’s never go to sleep throughout the night. But that’s not what parents are really asking. What they really want to know is:
“When will my baby be able to get back to sleep on their own?” That’s a much easier question to answer. Quite simply, this will certainly happen when they learn “how”.
What is Self-Soothing:
There are many different ways to teach little ones to sleep well depending on your baby’s needs. When you are teaching babies to go to sleep on their own, they’ll be able to utilize the skill that you helped them to learn multiple times a night, every night, for the rest of their lives in order to ‘self-soothe’ and ‘reconnect’ their sleep without disrupting parents’ sleep. Isn’t sound magical?
What is Cry it Out Method?
The traditional Cry-It-Out approach works for most of the family if they are comfortable handling longer periods of intense crying. This approach is more like leaving your child in front of a piano with some sheet music and saying, “Figure it out” by yourself. Eventually, they just might find ways to self-soothe after crying for longer periods at night and implementing the “extinction” method to not show up in their rooms.
Surprisingly, don’t get me wrong but that approach has worked for a lot of people, but it’s not one of them that everybody is comfortable using NOT EVEN ME. It is not the most gentle or effective way of teaching your baby great independent sleep skills.
Whenever a child learns new skills, they need to practice them multiple times to establish them in their daily routine. Practice is essential, so let them give it a shot. As we know whenever we make new changes in the kiddo’s routine ex. Weaning bottles, breastfeeding, pacifier etc. you always face a little bit of protest, but you are always there to pat, comfort, and soothe your child. So, it is the same situation here, you probably going to face a bit of crying, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay or go in to encourage comfort and reassure them.
What you shouldn’t do, however, is sit down at the piano and play it for them. Obviously, that doesn’t teach them anything. So, whatever it is that you’ve traditionally done to get your child to go to sleep during bedtime, or in the middle of the night, whether it’s giving them a pacifier, rocking them back to sleep, nursing them, whatever. These “sleep props” helps to teach them to sleep through the night so there are no “Bad Habits.”
They may be frustrated, and they may get upset, but they’ll learn with a little time and practice.
So, although I can’t give an exact date or age when your baby will go through the night without crying and demanding help to get back to sleep, I can tell you without hesitation that it will be much, much sooner if you start using props to soothe not to fall asleep.
As for teaching your little one to play piano, you’re on your own with that one.
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