As a new mom, it can be hard to adjust to not getting enough sleep. Getting enough sleep is important so that moms are able to properly care for their child. But as we all know, babies don’t always sleep very well, especially as newborns. It takes a while to get a baby to sleep through the night, sometimes it can take up to six months to get a baby on a solid sleeping schedule. There are always the lucky moms out there that state that their babies started to sleep through the night during the first month.
It can make moms think that they are doing something wrong. All babies are different and there is no way to know when a baby will start to sleep through the night. There are lots of things that can be done, to encourage a baby to sleep more peacefully and for longer. Wouldn’t that be nice? Once a mom starts trying things with her baby, she is likely to find that the process becomes easier and the next thing that she knows is, the baby is sleeping through the night. Check out these 20 things that a mom can do to help baby sleep more peacefully.
20 Change The Way You Feed Your Baby At Night
If you are able to change the way that you feed your baby, it might be possible for your child to start sleeping more peacefully. That way, you can also get some sleep. Your daytime feeding routine should be different from your nighttime feeding routine. During the day, it’s okay for you to have a social and lively feeding time with your baby. But at night, you should be doing something completely different. It can’t be a social hour. Your nighttime feedings should be calm and quiet, to allow your baby to settle down. The baby will also start to learn the difference between day and night.
19 Swaddling Is A Miracle Cure
Experts have been saying it for years, swaddling really does work. For the first four or five months of their life, babies experience a startle reflex that makes them feel like they are falling. As we all know when you feel like you are falling, you tend to twitch which can wake the baby up. By swaddling the baby tightly, it prevents the baby from startling awake. Your baby will sleep longer and more peacefully throughout the night. There is a reason why they say “snug as a bug in a rug.”
18 Avoid Eye Contact At Night
You may be thinking that it’s cold as ice to avoid eye contact with your baby, but it really helps them to get to sleep. We all love looking down at our babies but making eye contact generally excites your baby because she is happy to see you. Eye contact with our babies is stimulating to them and it will be harder to get them to sleep because of that. So, when you are putting your baby to sleep, or even calming her when she wakes up in the middle of the night, just avert your eyes.
17 Introduce Dream Feeding To Your Baby
Dreamfeeding your baby is the meal that they get before they go to bed. It’s done right before bed so that they don’t wake up in the middle of the night hungry. We don’t like when our babies wake up just as we are starting to go to sleep and a dreamfeed prevents that from happening. That’s how moms end up with sleep deprivation because they are constantly being woken up just as they start to fall asleep. You can use this method up until four months so use it while you can.
16 Limit The Length of Naps During The Day
It can be tempting to take advantage of naps during the day because you want to get some rest yourself or take the time to do some laundry. You may even want to shorten the naps, which means waking your sleeping baby. The idea of that probably makes you recoil but shortening a nap can help a baby sleep better at night. Don’t let baby sleep past 2-2.5 hours, after that point you should wake your baby up. You can feed the baby, keep her up a little while and then put her down for another nap if you need to. Breaking up the sleep into smaller sections will help your baby sleep at night.
15 Allow Baby To Fall Asleep On Her Own
It’s really important that you try to let your baby try to fall asleep on her own without your help. You can start doing this as early as six weeks. During that time your baby is developing her natural circadian rhythms or the “sleep-wake cycle.” The best time to put her down is when she is awake but sleepy. If you are always rocking or feeding your baby to sleep all the time, she will learn to depend on that and then you will have difficulty weening her off later. It would be great to get your baby used to settling herself instead of depending on you.
14 White Noise Is Heaven Sent
If you haven’t tried using white noise to put your baby to sleep, then you are in for a real treat. It can be hard to put a baby to sleep, especially if you are still up doing things. Babies don’t like to miss the party and if they can hear you, then they may not want to go to sleep. White noise is perfect for stifling out your noise so baby can go to sleep. You can use something as simple as a fan. Just don’t place it so close that it’s blowing on the baby all night. There are also white noise machines that you can buy.
13 Follow The Eat, Wake, Sleep Cycle
The cycle that you want for your baby should run like this: baby wakes and should immediately eat, you keep baby awake for a short period of time to play and then go back to sleep. There is a reason why this is beneficial. By feeding baby right away you encourage full feedings because babies have the most energy when they have just woken up. You may find that you are doing a dreamfeed before bed at nighttime and that’s okay as well. Aside from that, try to avoid feeding your baby before sleep.
12 Start A Bedtime Routine Of Winding Down
You might think it’s silly to go through a winding down period with a baby but you might not realize how much stimulation your baby gets from noises around her whether that be the radio or the television. Just start a short and simple bedtime routine around the three-month period. Allow about a half hour of quiet time before you put your baby to sleep. Your baby will be able to relax if things are quiet and that will allow her to fall asleep easier and she is likely to sleep more peacefully as well.
11 Have Bath Time Before Bed
You know how relaxing it is when you have a bath. It’s the same thing for your baby. It helps to relax her so that she can get ready for bed. There’s nothing like soaking in some warm water to get your baby ready for bed. You can provide your baby with soft and soothing strokes with a washcloth which your baby will also find relaxing. Don’t use any squirt toys or doing anything that is too exciting, let your baby get some downtime. It’s also best to talk in a low voice as well during downtime so that your baby can start to get sleepy.
10 Consider Co-Sleeping
There is an ongoing debate on whether it’s a good idea to co-sleep with your child and there are pros and cons to it. You definitely don’t want to sleep with your child to the point where she can never sleep without you. There are studies that show that babies who co-sleep with their parents grow up to have higher self-esteem and less anxiety. We would suggest not actually sleeping in the same bed as your baby but instead having a co-sleeper or bassinette next to your bed. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should not actually share a bed with your baby.
9 Give Your Baby A Security Item
This is only recommended for babies who are six months or older because at the beginning you don’t want to put too many things in the crib. But after the six-month period, you can give your baby a security blanket or a stuffed animal. A familiar object can provide comfort to your child at night. You can also keep the stuffed animal or blanket near you for a while so that it smells like you when you give it to your baby. Your child has a strong sense of smell and may be comforted by your scent.
8 Understand How Your Baby Sleeps
If you can try to understand how your baby sleeps, you will have an easier time to get her to go to sleep. You may think that the longer you keep your baby awake, the better the chance of them sleeping at night but you would be wrong. You are actually over-stimulating your baby and she will experience more difficulty at night trying to sleep. Not only that but she won’t be able to stay asleep for long periods of time. An overtired baby will sleep much shorter, not longer and that’s not what you want.
7 Try A Fragrance In The Room
Having a fragrance in the room can help your baby fall asleep as long as it’s not overpowering. If you use just a few drops of natural lavender oil on a tissue by the bed, it can help to lull the baby to sleep. Essential oils are super popular because they are known for their relaxing properties. They also provide benefits like anti-anxiety. This is something that is recommended for babies that are six months or older. For babies who are younger, it’s best to use unscented laundry detergent for their crib bedding.
6 Try The Hands-On Method
When it comes time to place your baby in the crib, you can try putting your hand gently on your baby’s stomach. You can place your hand on your baby’s head or arms as well in order to soothe and comfort her as best you can. Just the simple act of you being close can work wonders on getting your child to sleep. It’s that little bit of comfort and security that your baby needs to fall soundly asleep and to sleep peacefully throughout the night. It’s one method that you can try and see how it goes.
5 Establish A Consistent Bedtime
Setting up a consistent bedtime is so important for providing your child with a steady routine. The more consistent that you can be, the easier it will be for your child to fall asleep. If you try to put an overtired baby to sleep, you will find that it’s virtually impossible, so try not to keep your baby up past their usual bedtime. Experts have suggested that a bedtime of between 6:30 and 7 p.m. is an appropriate bedtime for babies under 1. "Take into account your work schedule and your little ones need to spend time with you," says Nancy M. Silva, M.D., of the AAP and certified pediatrician.
4 Make Sure The Temperature In The Room Is Adequate
You know yourself that it can be hard to sleep if it is too hot or too cold in your room. Whether that is warm enough or even slightly cool? Well, the same is true for babies. You need to have the temperature in the room just right for your baby so that sleeping is easy for her. The perfect temperature according to the AAP is between 65- and 70-degrees Fahrenheit to prevent SIDS. You will find that your baby will sleep much better with those temperatures.
3 Keep The Lights Off
You may think that your baby needs the lights on because they are so little but it’s unnecessary. By keeping the lights off, you help your child to understand when it’s bedtime. It’s even a good idea to stay away from night lights. Babies aren’t naturally afraid of the dark, so you don’t really need it. Keep the room dark and even get blackout shades if possible, to stimulate nighttime during the day. Dark curtains would also work well. When it’s time for her to wake up, it would be a good idea to open the curtains to bring in light so that she will learn the difference.
2 Try A 15 Minute Massage
A massage before bed can work wonders for your baby’s sleeping patterns. How could it not? We all know how good a massage feels. It leaves us feeling so relaxed. Toddlers and even babies who get a 15-minute massage before sleep tend to fall asleep faster than the children who are only read a story before bed according to a study conducted by the University of Miami Touch Research Institute. Grab yourself some baby oil and give your baby a massage with moderate pressure and make sure to use soft strokes.
1 Give Overnight Diapers A Shot
The one thing that can cause your baby to wake up in the middle of the night is a wet diaper. It’s uncomfortable and no one wants to have to sleep like that. Although a wet diaper can be bothersome, it’s advisable to not wake a baby to change the diaper unless you are treating a diaper rash. A bowel movement should be changed immediately. If you are using super absorbent diapers, along with a healthy dose of diaper cream for protection, your baby should be comfortable for the night. She will hopefully sleep through the night.