In the beginning, I always respond to the baby's every needs because, as a newborn, the baby is crying for a reason. As the baby gets older, I try to minimize response time. It's important always to check because even if baby has eaten and has been changed, there still may be a problem.
Baby could have gas, want the pacifier, or even just have an itch. One of the challenges of parenting (that gets easier over time) is figuring out what that need is. A baby whose needs are met is more likely to get a comfortable sleep.
With my first child, I made the mistake of turning on lights, playing toys with her, and much more. This led to her thinking that night time was play time. I quickly learned that to turn that attitude around, I had to change the night time routine.
One thing I always did from then on with all the children was to keep lights and other distractions to a minimum when tending to baby at night. The point is to make night time sort of boring, while still attending to baby's needs. This lets baby know that nighttime is a time for sleep and there isn't much else going on that is worth staying up for.
Cuddling is, of course, fine. You don’t want to be unloving or cold. You just want to be sure Baby knows it’s time to relax when the lights are out.
The first night that each child slept all the way through was one of those moments in parenting that isn't easily forgotten. Motherhood is awesome, but there are times where it can drain all your energy. Infancy certainly is one of those times, especially before a baby sleeps the whole night through.
The relief from an actual full night of sleep is like bliss to a parent, not only because they can sleep. But, the main benefit is knowing you have taught your baby a valuable and healthy lesson that will be beneficial throughout their life.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network