Here are the top five ways to get your baby to sleep better at night.
1~ Establish the difference between night and day.
1A~ Does your baby know the difference between night and day? Let me explain, baby’s tend to view certain experiences as night and day activities. Such as feeding. This is particularly true in newborns but can also be with older babies as well. The good news is as they get older you can show them the difference and this will dramatically improve their sleep pattern.
Do this as early as possible. The earlier you start to teach them that eating is a day time activity the easier it will be during this transition. The longer you wait the harder it will be because baby will get used to this and realize you are now trying to change the rules and this can cause baby to get irritated and cranky.
1B~ Sleeping environment. Try to keep baby’s room as quiet as possible. Also keep it as dark as possible using the least amount of light for night time feedings. However, don’t put dark curtains in your baby’s room because you will want the natural sunlight to wake baby in the morning. This will also help distinguish the difference between night and day.
1C~ Try not to disturb baby one he/she is asleep. Do not over check on baby and try to ignore sleep noises. Watch your baby on the monitor and only go in baby’s room if necessary.
1D~ As well as the sleep environment try not to interact with your baby. Try to keep as quiet as possible or even silent. This will help baby know it is not time to be up and it is time to relax and sleep.
1E~ A full and active day. During the day your baby should be out and about as much as possible. If you can’t be out then make a in home play date for you and your baby. Find fun activities that will take energy and be lots of fun for both of you. When your baby is ready for a nap take him/her to their crib for nap time. Let them again, wake to the sunlight and this will also help distinguish the difference between night and day. Let baby play often and use up that energy.
2~ Ensure your baby’s sleep area is set up correctly
2A~ Create a private sleeping place as soon as possible. If you can do this right from the start for baby’s nap and at least part of the night this will help establish a routine.
2B~ Don’t have to many toys in and around baby’s bed. Many experts believe having mobiles with lights music and sounds can over stimulate a child and make it harder for them to fall asleep. Bedtime should be calm peaceful and relaxing for you and your baby. You should start quieting down about a hour before bedtime. This will help he or she fall asleep easier.
2C~ Make sure the room is not dusty, well ventilated, and at the right temperature. A really dusty room can give your baby a stuffy nose and this can disrupt sleep. You can even use a air humidifier if you need to. Especially in the winter months when the heat is on. The ideal temperature is between 65°-72° F. Children are comfortable at the same temperatures as adults.
3~ Have a routine
3A~ Try to establish your own personal routine. Make a routine that fits both yours and your baby’s routine. Don’t make a chore out of bedtime. This will only frustrate you. Make yourself have fun during this routine but keep it calm. It will be a trial and error but you will get it down.
3B~ Start with dinner. Have fun with this let your baby make a mess, throw his food and just get that last bit of energy out. Eat with your baby. This will show him that you are on the same schedule.
3C~ Now its bath time. Go ahead and run a bath and depending on the age of your child and your preferences you could get in the bath with him/her also. Splash around or just submerse and enjoy the water. Usually the water will naturally calm baby. You can even buy calming bath wash and lotion.
3D~ Now that that’s out of the way turn the lights down low and have some quality time. Cuddle and love your little one. Show them how much you love them. This quality time with you, your baby will feel your calming sensation radiating off of you and naturally relax your child.
3E~ Now its time to put them in their bed. Make sire you don’t put them in there when the don’t know they are being put in there. Make sure they are awake enough to know what is happening. This will help them understand that its OK to wake up and go back to sleep without having to be coddled in the middle of the night.
4~ The five S’s
4A~ Swaddling. This really works but only until your baby gets so big. So what I have figured Out is when your baby is asleep put the blanket over him and then wrap it around the mattress and tuck it in. It still gives the same tight being cuddled feeling to your baby.
4B~ Side/Stomach Sleeping. This is the “natural way” your baby feels most comfortable. Lie them on their side to sleep and this will help them feel most secure.
4C~ Swinging. While holding your baby swing them gently while this will help the relax and fall asleep but again, remember to lay them down while they are still aware of what’s happening.
4D~ Shushing. This technique works best for myself and my son. When he awakes in the middle of the night if he isn’t hungry then I don’t pick him up or talk to him and I just go in quietly and shush him back to sleep. I think of it as my own “White noise” it really does put him right back to sleep.
4E~ Sucking. Consider giving your baby a binkie. This gives your baby the sensation of latching on to mommy or if bottle fed just having the comfort of being held. My son hasn’t ever used a binkie. I tried to get him to at first but he just wouldn’t so I just let him be.
5~ Sounds to sleep
5A~ White noise is by far my favorite. This one really helps my ten month old stay asleep. It helps him fall asleep too. When its bed time go into your baby’s room shut off all the lights and turn on the white noise. Even for a baby that has never heard this before will be in a trance in no time. A fan, bubbling fish tank any of these low, light sounds will help baby fall asleep easy and sleep good through out the night.
So these are my top five ways to help baby fall asleep and keep him asleep all night long. I hope they work for you and help ease your mind know that your doing nothing wrong if you are having a hard time right now. I had a very hard time keeping my son to sleep at night but I tried a lot of different techniques and figured out what worked best for me. HINT: If you have a baby that is attached to mommy’s hip. Try putting one of your lightly used breast pad in your baby’s crib and he will smell the sent of you all night long. I figured this out one night when I let him sleep with one of my bras that he wouldn’t let go. Yes bras but hey what ever works right? Have a good nights sleep!