Teach your little one to sleep well so you can too.
Whether you have a new baby or are preparing for one, you probably know that life with a new baby sometimes looks like life with little sleep. Exhausted parents and babies alike can be a recipe for disaster - but this does not have to be the case! Here are a few tips to help set your little one on track to be a great sleeper. Consider implementing these tips that encourage restful sleep for your little bundle of joy.
It is important to keep in mind that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for teaching your baby to become a solid sleeper. Every baby is different and responds differently, but these tips usually produce positive results that are fairly easy to execute.
Soothing Bedtime Routine
We are creatures of habit. A soothing bedtime routine helps to wind your baby down while preparing him for what is coming up next: sleep. Try a warm bath and a massage, sing a song, or read a book (or all of the above) to help him learn when it is time for bed.
A regular bedtime is important for babies because babies thrive on schedules. If you keep him up too late, he is likely to become overtired and cranky, making it much more difficult for him to fall asleep. Many experts recommend setting a bedtime somewhere between 7 pm and 8 pm, which not only ensures baby gets in a regular routine with plenty of necessary rest, but it also gives you some extra time to yourself before you start snoozing.
Although it may seem funny, a baby who is well-rested sleeps better than a baby who is sleep-deprived. Watch for signs of tiredness, including the telltale sleepy-eyed gaze, eye-rubbing, and yawning. Your baby may need three to four naps a day starting out. Those naps will gradually decrease in number as he gets older.
Avoid Sleep Props
Sleep props are anything your baby needs in order to fall asleep. This can be anything from your baby needing you for every nap to a stuffed animal (which can get lost). Many parents begin life with their little one by rocking their babies to sleep, only to find themselves in trouble down the road when they no longer are able to rock their little one to sleep. Breaking habits like sleep props can be difficult for parents but is even more trying for babies. Expert advice says to “begin as you mean to go on,” which means that if you do not want to put your child to sleep like this in two years, don’t do it now.
Many experts also recommend putting babies to bed on their backs while fully awake. The idea is that he will learn to fall asleep by himself. He should show signs of sleepiness but not actually be asleep.
Use a Dark Room
To help baby differentiate between sleep time and awake time, make efforts to darken his room. Darkness increases the sleep hormone, melatonin, which helps babies to fall asleep. Room-darkening blinds may be a good option if a lot of sunlight comes in through your nursery window.
By implementing these tips and maintaining them, you will be on your way to getting a better night’s sleep and so will your sweet little one.
- Olivia, mom & a pediatric nurse
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