Putting a baby to sleep is hard work, and it’s absolutely necessary (for many different reasons, all of which we’ll be getting into today). Your child needs sleep in order to benefit her nutritional standing; when it comes to a developing baby, you need to keep them both well-rested and well-fed! They can be hard work, especially when it comes to getting them into the mood for sleep; but that’s why this article is here to help.
Your schedule might need to be changed in order to properly pamper your baby, and you can’t allow other things in your life to keep you away from inserting effective sleeping patterns into your babies’ life. Not only will it help them develop their brains at a quicker pace, but it will even keep them from being grumpy! When talking about sleep, it’s essentially quality over quantity. A baby can sleep for hours upon hours, and still be sad if it wasn’t a satisfying rest. This means that the baby needs to be still, there shouldn’t be any music present and you should also keep the lights dimmed/dark. Figuring out the proper time to put your baby to sleep is another hassle as well, but it’s something you need to worry about.
Getting Your Nursery Put in Place
It’s a known fact that your baby is going to sleep better in the right temperatures, so keep your nursery cold-conscious. You don’t want the setting to be too hot, and you definitely don’t want things to be too cold – you have to try and find that happy medium. When it comes to recommendations, the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) suggests that you keep the temperatures around 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit (in order to help prevent the development of SIDS).
This is a very serious thing to be looking at, as SIDS isn’t particularly easy to deal with. It’s tough on everybody, let alone the parents of the child who is dealt the unfortunate hand. With the right nursery, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about – so make sure that you aren’t trying to cut corners and such.
The room should be dark and cool, because that’s the most comforting (and soothing) setting to sleep in as a baby. It’s pretty much like sleeping inside of the womb at that rate, or at least, as close to it as you can get! Keeping the room dark is almost like a way to help trigger your child, and help them understand that it’s time to go to sleep. This is a trend that will follow them throughout their entire lives, as human beings tend to get more and more tired as the sun goes down (and the light of the world takes a little nap itself).
The lighting situation needs to be accounted for, as your baby can be very sensitive to said issue. In order to keep the biological clock of your baby in check, light needs to be used every single time you want to wake them up. The room setting and the light that is associated with it is no joke, it is very crucial to keeping a baby happy and sleeping.
Try and keep away from nightlights, and if you really need to, you can consider using blacked glass or really dark blinds/curtains. When it’s time for your child to wake up, open up the blinds and let the light spill into the room – it’s pretty much preparing them for what it’s like to wake up as a big kid!
Nursery nightlights that have a switch of some sort on them is a bit different, as you can control them pretty accurately. Whenever you want to dim the nightlight, or just turn it off completely, the switch allows you to do so. You shouldn’t keep it on while the baby is sleeping, but it’s great for when parents are preparing their children for bed.
Specific Tips: Understanding What You Need to Do
Don’t Look Your Baby in the Eyes!
Just don’t do it! They have a gaze of cuteness that will have you questioning how the world manages to produce something so beautiful. All joke aside, your baby is going to be easily stimulated – especially when it comes to interacting with the parents. Don’t look your baby in the eyes, as it’s going to stimulate them (and make it seem as if you’re ready and willing to play!).
Does that mean you can’t enjoy the beautiful eyes that you’ve blessed your baby with? Not at all, just don’t do it around bedtime! The last thing you want to be dealing with is a wailing and playful baby, only to realize that it’s 9:30 PM and you should have put them to sleep an hour ago. Apparently, it also makes it so that the baby wants to break out of their “sleeping zone”. The more interaction between you and the child before it actually goes to sleep, the higher the odds of it waking up in the middle of the night! Just look at their stomach, and soothe them to sleep as a parent should.
Co-Sleeping (Sleeping with Your Baby)
Sleeping with your baby is a nice thing to do, but not everybody is interested in co-sleeping. Some people say that the baby becomes much more dependent on the mother (or parents in general) this way, but there are also alternative studies out there. These studies suggest that co-sleeping could actually result in less anxiety as your baby grows, as well as a much higher sense of worth when it comes to ones’ self. If co-sleeping is going to improve upon the self-worth that your baby has as a teenager, I say go for it!
White noise would also apply to the co-sleeping category, as the white noise of your heart beating (or just breathing in general) is enough to soothe a child most of the time. They’re used to hearing stuff like that while they were in utero, so it isn’t anything new (and it’s quite enjoyable). White noise machines or even a mere fan could help with that as well.
Put Your Baby to Sleep When They Are TIRED!
When your baby is tired, the signs are there. They can barely keep their eyes open, and it seems like they are about to drop at any moment. Take this opportunity to grab a hold of your child, give them a light kiss on the forehead and then bring them off to bed. You don’t need to wait until a child has completely fallen asleep to move them, as a matter of fact, it’s better to do so when they are merely drowsy.
You’re the parent, and you know your baby quite well – just keep an eye out for those tired eyes and actions. When they start coming out in abundance, it’s time to put your baby to sleep. But do not (I repeat, DO NOT) wait until your baby has fallen asleep. You run the risk of waking them up, and disturbing their sleeping patterns that much more.
NOTE: Keep in mind that some people try and put their baby to sleep when they seem tired, only to find them crying about 10 minutes later for some food. Sleep associations are what we need to get rid of here, so you’ve always got to be putting your baby down when they are still awake. You can soothe them, but they need to get to sleep on their own.
Lay The Baby Down on Their Backs
Sleeping on their back is the most effective way for a baby to sleep, it’s also the safest. Lay them down slowly and gently, and always try to make sure that the baby is going to remain on their backs. As a baby, you have this sort of urge to sleep on your stomach – even as an adult, you may feel the need to do exactly that. When a baby is really young and you want it to get used to sleeping on their backs, you have to massage them at bedtime. This gives you time to adjust them into the right position, as well as just make sure they are comfortable in general.
Practice makes perfect, so the quicker you’re able to keep your baby sleeping (comfortably) on their backs, the better!
Feeding Before Sleep
When it comes to feeding your child, make sure that they have a full tummy before bed. This doesn’t mean that you should be feeding them literally minutes before bedtime, but just make sure that they aren’t ever going to miss a meal (and that shouldn’t happen in any case!). Make sure that you always belch and take care of excess gas present in the stomach of your child, and be ready to feed them throughout the night!
As a mother myself, I found that my baby was constantly waking up throughout the night and crying for food. Sometimes he would get up 2 or 3 times before I was able to sleep, but that’s just the way she goes! In some cases, your baby may just be getting up due to some gas (our digestive tracts are most active during the early morning as humans).
Some people actually take it upon themselves to breastfeed their baby to sleep, which I guess can go hand in hand with co-sleeping. You’re not only feeding your baby, but you get to soothe them to sleep at the same time – it’s sort of like taking out two birds with one stone. If you want to keep the relationship as intimate as possible, and you happen to be breastfeeding, it’s a good idea to breastfeed them to sleep. If your baby thoroughly enjoys it, and you’ve got no problem with doing so, what harm can it do?
Bathing Before Sleep
When you bathe your baby before putting them to sleep, it just may help them relax and develop a much more tired feeling. Your baby is usually going to be energetic and outgoing, which isn’t exactly easy to managel after-dark. By giving your baby a warm bathe before bedtime, they’re going to be much more relaxed than they would otherwise. Don’t put any toys in the tub, though! That’s just going to peak their interest and keep them up for a longer period of time.
Don’t use any sort of soaps or cleaning products that could irritate your babies’ skin, especially since a baby has some of the most sensitive skin you’re ever going to find on Earth.
Get Them Used to the Habit of Napping
Naps will not only give you time to take care of other things littered throughout your day (like take care of some e-mails, or maybe even just call your friends/family to check up on things), but they will also allow your baby to grow and develop at a quicker rate. The more sleep your baby can get, the better! Don’t try and stop your baby from napping in order to help them sleep later on at night, as it’s a positive trait to be sporting. Think about how often we take naps as adults – probably not very often, right? That’s because we’ve gone through our growing phase, and there’s no use for it!
We have the ability to operate on a few hours of sleep every single night, but a baby needs as much as it could possibly get.
There You Have It!
There is an abundance of tips that should help you get your baby into the habit of sleeping longer, and better in general. Use all of these tips to your advantage, and try to apply them whenever possible – it’s important that you give your baby every single opportunity to grow! They can’t do it themselves, so it’s up to you as the parent to take care of the sleeping patterns they show. They only learn what they are taught, so make sure you’re preaching the proper stuff!