Kelli J. Shidler, M.D.
Getting a baby to sleep through the night can be one of the most difficult challenges parents face. Many parents wake up three or four times a night to soothe their baby or toddler back to sleep.
On the other hand, teaching a child to sleep through the night can be one of the most rewarding accomplishments for both the child and the parent. For the parent, an uninterrupted seven or eight hours of sleep is well needed and deserved. For the baby, learning to fall asleep on her own and back to sleep when she awakens teaches her valuable skills she will use as she grows into toddlerhood and childhood.
A child depends on his parents to help him develop good sleep habits. In order to do so, it is important to have a sensible plan that both parents agree to and stick with. The earlier the guidelines for sleep are established, the easier it will be to prevent sleep problems in the future.
Parents can teach their baby good sleep habits starting in the newborn period. This is the time to begin teaching her how to fall asleep on her own, and as she grows, continue to sleep throughout the night. At around two to three months of age, many babies begin to sleep through the night.
Contact your child's physician during office hours if you are unable to find a way to soothe your newborn's crying. If your baby cries constantly for more than 2 hours or acts sick, call his or her pediatrician immediately.