How to get your baby to sleep through the night

Baby not sleeping? Here are some practical steps you can take to help teach your little one to drift off to sleep peacefully.

It’s common for most sleep deprived parents to sleepily google ‘When will my baby sleep through the night?” and “How to get baby to sleep”. If this is you and your baby is not sleeping, we have some tips that might help. 

Establishing - and sticking to - a sleep routine can help send clear messages to your baby that it’s time for bed. Over time, these routines and cues can change a little, but the routine you set from day one can help lay a strong sleep foundation. 

If you’re struggling with how to get your baby to sleep, these tips on establishing a sleep routine can help.

For babies younger than six months

Once your baby becomes overtired, they can be harder to settle. So, it’s important to look out for some tell-tale signs that they’re tired. They may become grizzly and begin to cry, or they might jerk their arms or legs, frown, yawn, stare, rub their eyes and arch their back. 
When you spot these signs:
  1. Take them quietly to their room. Make sure their room is dark and quiet, and try not to interact with them too much, no matter how cute they are! The aim is to teach your baby that dark plus quiet equals sleep time.
  2. Wrap your baby and give them a dummy, if that is what they’re used to. 
  3. Give them a cuddle and a kiss and then put them in their cot or bassinette while they’re still awake - this is an important part of learning independent settling.
  4. If your baby is grizzly or quiet, leave the room and give them a chance to settle - some babies will always grizzle themselves to sleep. 
  5. If they start crying, go back in and quietly pat or stroke them until they stop crying, then leave the room.
You might need to repeat these steps a few times until your baby falls asleep. Remember the goal is to teach your baby to settle independently.  
a tired baby

For older babies and toddlers

As your baby gets older, consider adding a couple of extra steps to their sleep routine, such as giving them a relaxing bath and reading them a bedtime story to help them wind down. 
Try to avoid stimulation with TV or computer games as that can contribute to babies not sleeping. 
Then pop your child into their bed or cot with their favourite toy, another quiet story and a cuddle. Leave them alone while they’re still awake but sleepy and let them settle themselves to sleep. If they start to cry, go back into the room and quietly pat or stroke them until they’re calm, try not to pick them up. 
Don’t turn lights on or use a loud voice, keep things quiet and relaxed.

When will my baby sleep through the night? 

Most baby’s will sleep through the night by the time they turn six months old, but it’s important to remember we all have cycles of lighter and deeper sleep and it isn’t uncommon to wake up during periods of light sleep. 

Having the right sleep environment can help - if your baby or toddler wakes up at the end of a cycle of light sleep, they will see that everything is how it’s meant to be (dark and quiet) and hopefully go back to sleep.

Try to avoid using parent-dependent cues to get them back to sleep (rocking, feeding, driving around in the car) because your child will then want those parent-dependent cues to fall asleep again.

Where to get extra support

If you’re still wondering “When will my baby sleep through the night?” and “How to get baby to sleep”. or your'e concerned about how you’re coping, speak to your GP. For extra support with a baby not sleeping, follow our five-step plan to help your baby sleep through the night.

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