How to Get a Baby to Sleep
There are so many joys that come with a new baby. That first smile, the first giggle, the joy of the endless cuddles. However, with parenthood, there are a few things that new parents wish they had a handbook to give all the tips and secrets to caring for a baby. One of those things is how to get a baby to sleep. Many parents are faced with the loss of sleep because their baby is having trouble sleeping themselves. There are many reasons a baby may have difficulty falling, and staying asleep. However, with this guide, parents can rest easy by trying these tips on how to get a baby to sleep.
Starting and Keeping a Routine
From the first days home, it is important to start a bedtime, or naptime, routine with your baby. This can consist of many things, such as getting a warm bath, having a bottle, reading a story, singing songs, and wearing comfortable pajamas. Finding this routine is something only you and your baby can do together. Having different cues from the environment is what will give your baby the idea that it is time to go to sleep. The routine you establish should be consistent in order for your baby to become familiar with it. It is important to remember that if it doesn’t seem to work at first, keep trying. When learning how to get a baby to sleep, parents are often faced with finding the right routine.
Don’t Feed to Go To Sleep
Having a full tummy is essential to get a baby to sleep, but feeding should not be associated with going to sleep. The problem begins when the baby wakes up at night and the only way to fall asleep is by feeding. Additionally, for breastfeeding moms, it can become a problem when only mom can get baby to sleep. Of course, newborns fall asleep all the time while feeding, but by age 4-5 months, babies should not be stuck in this habit. If this is still the case, it is best to begin the bed/nap time routine earlier. Feed your baby earlier and then go through the rest of the routine, whether it be a book or song. When you tuck your baby in for the night, he should be awake, but drowsy.
Keep An Early Bedtime
Babies should stay consistent with their bedtime. In the winter this can be a much easier task, since the sun sets earlier. However, in the summer it can be harder because the sun doesn’t set until much later. Picking a bedtime and keeping it the same is very important when it comes to being able to get a baby to sleep. Bedtime should not be too late, as this can cause baby to be overstimulated, making it much more difficult to get a baby to sleep. Picking a time, such as 7:30, can keep the baby on a routine. The time may differ depending on your baby’s needs,but should not be much later. You can tell when a baby is tired by his calm mood. Rather than being active, he may appear to be bored. During the summer when sunset is later, make sure to put the baby asleep in a darkened room with the shades down. This will help with keeping the bedtime routine consistent.
Keep Napping Set To Guidelines
The younger a baby is, the more he needs to nap. As tempting as it might be, you need to let your little one take naps in their bed. This allows them to get used to their crib and sets the routine that this is rest time. Of course, sometimes cuddling with baby at nap time is great for bonding. But, the more you can get them used to the crib, the easier it will be to get a baby to sleep at bed time. This will also allow you time for yourself to either get rest or take on household chores. Naps should be set for the same time each day, such as one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Also, they should be roughly 1-2 hours long to ensure they got enough rest, but not too much that it will effect when you get baby to sleep at bedtime.
One method that seems to never fail when it comes time to get a baby to sleep is swaddling. Babies feel safe and comfortable when they are swaddled, as they feel like they are back in the womb. Swaddling is the method of wrapping a baby up in a blanket so movement is limited. There are many tutorials to show how to properly swaddle a baby and many products on the market to make it much easier to do. It is important to remember that before swaddling a baby, make sure they have a clean diaper. This will make things much easier later on and prevent waking in the middle of the night.
White Noise and Lullabies
If it becomes difficult to get a baby to sleep, consider playing soft lullabies or white noise. White noise has been shown to help get babies to sleep as it blocks out other noises around the house and tends to be soothing. Or, playing soft lullabies that come from a mobile or stuffed animal can help soothe baby to sleep. The best way to decide what to use is playing to your baby’s cues. They will show you what is working and what isn’t.
By keeping babies active during playtime, they will be more ready to sleep at bedtime. During playtime, keep them stimulated through a variety of activities, such as talking to her, including her in your daily activities, singing, reading, and even independent play with toys. This will make getting baby to sleep much easier as they will be more tired. As mentioned before, be sure not keep them active right before bedtime, since this will make the task of being able get a baby to sleep that much harder.
When Baby Wakes Up…
Even after successfully doing these tips to get a baby to sleep, they might wake up and have trouble getting back to sleep. When you hear baby cry, try to give her a few minutes to see if she can fall back asleep on her own. If not, quietly go to her to determine if anything is wrong. Perhaps she is uncomfortable from a full diaper or needs to be swaddled again. When fixing these problems, try no to make too much of a distraction. Keep the lights at a minimum, as well as the noise. Once baby is comfortable again, try to get her back to sleep without picking her up. If all else fails, meet her needs and do what has gotten her to sleep in the past.
Be Prepared For Sleep Changes
At various points in a babies development, their sleep patterns may change. This might result in a more difficult time when it comes time to get a baby to sleep and more waking up during the night. This happens during developmental milestones and major changes that might occur in the babies life, such as moving or a new family member. It is very important to continue to stick to the routine and not make any changes. If after a few days there still seems to be a problem, it may be time to add something new to the routine, such as a night light or white noise.