Your baby is now three months old and you want your baby to sleep through the night, or at least for longer periods of time. Babies at this age are able to sleep for longer periods, but the length will vary from baby to baby, even within families. Babies generally need a certain amount of sleep in a 24 hour period and you want to make sure your baby’s longest period of sleep occurs during the night and not during the day.
There is no set normal sleeping pattern for any baby, regardless of age, or adult for that matter. Encouraging longer sleep times at night from the beginning is best because once a baby establishes a sleep pattern, it’s difficult to change. Usually, bigger babies are able to sleep for longer periods at night because they can handle more milk at one time which will help them sleep. Also, if you’ve been feeding baby on demand when hungry, instead of at set periods regardless, you will likely have more success getting baby to sleep longer at night.
If your baby wakes up during the night and you know she is not hungry, leave the baby alone and see if she can go back to sleep. This may involve letting baby cry for a while. If crying does not subside, you may make sure baby is has not soaked his diaper and bed linens, then leave the room and see if she can go back to sleep. Helping baby find a lovey or pacifier may aid in going back to sleep. If baby has been taught to go to sleep independently of mom or dad, this will be easier.
Having a regular bedtime routine and time will aid in teaching your baby to go to sleep on her own. I know it’s a special time when you rock your baby to sleep, and you can still rock her, just put her in the crib before she is completely asleep so that she can get used to going to sleep alone. The time for bed should not be so stringent that if baby is sleepy earlier you do not put her down. A baby that is exhausted will have a harder time falling asleep and sleeping peacefully.
Some babies who have been sleeping “through the night” may suddenly stop as she gets older. Several things may be the culprit, like learning to roll over or sit up. You can still leave baby to go back to sleep. If it becomes clear that baby is not going back to sleep on her own, you may get baby up and rock her back to sleep. Try to avoid feeding baby during the night unless you know hunger is what woke her.
Bedtime can become a stressful time of day for some parents. Keeping to a routine will help take some of this stress away. Once your baby begins sleeping through the night the nights of letting baby cry and having sleepless nights will seem farther away.