By John E Laing
One of the most rewarding things as a new parent is to hear the sweet sounds of silence; that is, your baby peacefully sleeping! Every baby is unique in their sleeping habits, and it can be a tough rough for parents to navigate.
To help you achieve better baby sleep, consider these 15 tips to improve your baby’s snooze sessions.
1. Consistency is Key
A bedtime routine can help a child to wind down before bed, and can also help them prepare mentally and physically for the end of the day. Pre-bedtime activities might include a bottle, a bedtime story, and pajamas.
When these things appear, children will know what is expected of them, and that playtime is over. Try to keep the room a little quieter when this routine begins.
2. Make Sleep Time Enjoyable
Sleep should never be seen as a bad thing in the eyes of a child. Make bedtime a soothing, relaxing experience for them by incorporating a soothing nightlight, some natural music sounds, and their favorite blanket or stuffed animal. Nighttime should be a comforting experience for them.
As an extension of that, bedtime shouldn’t always be a punishment for children. This makes sleeping, by association, a thing that children will want to avoid. If they’re in trouble, a time-out might be more helpful.
3. Swaddle Your Baby
Especially in their first few years, children will still prefer a warm, protective space similar to what the womb provided. Sleepsuits and swaddles are great for keeping the baby warm and wrapped in a comfortable position.
Swaddles can also stop babies from waking themselves up with sudden movements and jolts, and it can even halt jumpy babies from hitting or scratching themselves.
4. Give Children Time to Fall Asleep
The key to good sleep is to put your baby down while they’re still awake. This way, they associate their bed with the thing that makes them cozy and sleepy.
While it is gratifying to have your child fall asleep in your arms, this can teach them lousy sleeping habits as they get older. Having them fall asleep in their crib will help them to become more independent sleepers, and it will be much easier for you.
5. Give Kids a Moment
It’s hard to hear a baby’s cries and not tend to them-but this is precisely what you should do! If you hear your baby crying in their crib, stop and wait for a few minutes. You do not necessarily need to help them; they may already be in the habit of crying just because they don’t want to go to bed yet.
Instead, wait a little while. If children need a change or have lost their soother, you can go in. However, he or she may be able to put themselves back to sleep after a few minutes, which is a huge win.
6. Don’t Make Eye Contact
If your child makes eye contact with you during sleep time, they might think that it’s time to wake up. If you need to go into the room for any reason, try to soothe them without looking at then, and put them back down without too much interaction.
Sooth them, but do not talk to them. Keep the room dark, so it’s clear this isn’t the time to be awake.
7. Refuse the Fun
Kids can easily switch off their tired mode and head back into playtime. As a parent, it’s essential to try to stay calm and collected when bedtime rolls around.
Kids will try to entice you to have a giggle fest but now isn’t the time. Even if you feel guilty for not playing with them, this will make both of your mornings so much more manageable!
8. Avoid or Prepare for Diaper Changes
Even if you know there is going to be a mess in the morning, it is helpful to skip diaper changes. These movements might trick your baby into thinking it’s time to wake up and play.
If it’s unavoidable, have all of the necessary changing items you need in a location outside of the bedroom. This practice will help you to avoid spending too much time in the room looking for the items, and you won’t have to turn on the light to find anything.
9. Create a Soothing Environment
Soothing music can help to drown out other sounds around the house and helps to put babies to sleep faster. Choose a music player that has a few different sound options, so that you can find out what your child likes the most.
It might be white noise, water sounds, or even a lullaby. Once they’ve found something they like, have that noise playing in their bedroom before they lie down.
10. Block Out the Light
A dark room is the best way to tell your baby that it’s time to go to sleep. Additionally, if they do happen to wake up in the middle of the night, they’ll know by the darkness that it’s not time to get up yet.
Find some light-canceling curtains that will block out the light. As they get older, you may slowly open these curtains so that they don’t get too accustomed to complete darkness.
This will help them to stay asleep when they’re in new environments that don’t have the same light-canceling curtains.
11. Recognize a Tired Baby
If you see any sign of your baby feeling tired, whether it’s a yawn or rosy cheeks, take action right away. Timing is critical when it comes to a baby’s sleep, and if you miss your window, there’s a good chance you’re in for a fussy night.
These little signs show that the body is ready for sleep, and taking action right away will improve the chances that they easily drift off to sleep. Waiting too long will make your baby over-tired, and wakefulness hormones will start to kick in.
At this point, it may be too late for your baby to go to sleep without fighting. You’ll get to know the signs of your baby quickly; just be sure both parents know the signs.
12. Lower the Temperature
People of all ages tend to get better rest when they sleep in colder temperatures. The thermostat should be between 68 and 72 Fahrenheit so that your child can experience their most comfortable rest.
Not sure if they’re too cold? Lots of parents tend to feel their baby’s fingers or toes when they’re checking their temperature. In most cases, these body parts will feel chilly, but it doesn’t mean your baby is cold.
Instead, check the temperature of your baby’s chest. This part of the body is the area that will tell you if they’re comfortable or not.
13. Have Necessities Ready
A full diaper might mean a massive mess in your baby’s crib, but turning on the lights and trying to do a total sheet change is game over for a good sleep. Instead, be prepared with necessities always at-the-ready. To do this, you might consider putting extra sheets and swaddles in a cabinet outside of the bedroom.
You might also consider adding a waterproof pad between two sheets. If a mess does occur, you can peel off the sheet and pad and still have a dry layer waiting underneath. Preparation will make the sheet change a quick, simple process, and your baby will be back in bed in no time.
14. Tag Team
Partners who can get a solid 5 hours of sleep each night is critical to their overall health and their performance as parents. To do this, partners must work as a team each night, even though the nursing job is a one-person show.
Partners can wait their turn, changing or soothing the baby, or whatever else is needed. Depending on work schedules, you might have varied “night shifts” so that everyone still feels rested in the morning.
15. Lead Children to the Pacifier
Lots of babies wake up in the night simply because they cannot find their pacifiers. You can fix this issue by teaching your child to learn where they can find a pacifier on their own!
Simply put pacifiers in each corner of the crib, then spend each night guiding your baby’s arm to reach for the pacifiers in any corner. This practice will ensure that no matter how they twist and turn, they’ll be able to locate an edge of the crib.
After about a week, they should know to reach for the corners and find the pacifier themselves. This will alleviate the need for parents to go into the bedroom at all.
A Better Sleep for All
By following these tips, not only will the baby get a night of better sleep, but her parents will, too! Consider incorporating these suggestions so that everyone gets to bed on time and wake up feeling happy and refreshed.
Not every tip will work with your child, but it’s all about patience and consistency. Work on an agreed routine and sleep schedule that works for everyone in the family.
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