Are you having a hard time putting your baby to sleep? Does your little one always wake up crying in the middle of the night? Most mothers experience this in the first few months with their baby, which can be frustrating. If your baby is not sleeping well through the night or you are having a hard time getting them to sleep, that can take a toll on you too. You wake up tired and moody all the time. If your baby sleeps well, then parents will have a good night too.
In this guide today, we outline some tips you can use as parents or guardians to put your baby to sleep and ensure they have a goodnight's sleep.
Establish a night time routine
Your baby learns to understand that It’s time to sleep by the cues in the environment. If you have a routine, let’s say thirty minutes before bedtime, you ensure to dim the lights and reduce any noise around.
The right lighting during sleep time is essential because it sets your baby's internal clock. Human brains associate light and dark with being asleep or awake. If you turn the lights low at night when you are about to prepare your baby to sleep and ensuring at daytime you expose your baby to sunlight will help establish this process. The baby learns that when the sun is out and bright, it is time to be awake, but when the light is low and it's dark outside, it’s time to sleep.
Once you set the cues and reduce any stimuli, you can introduce other calming rituals. Either try a warm bath before bedtime, sing your baby lullabies, soft music, or soft-spoken bedtime stories.
A few minutes before it's time to get your baby to sleep, you can wash them in a warm bath and dress them in warm baby pj’s, ensure you are using mild cleansers, and the temperature around is set just right.
Ensure you have a daily night time ritual and be consistent with it. You should ideally establish your routine from 6 weeks to 8 weeks thereabouts. If you are
consistent in doing things every night, your baby will learn what to expect every night. And it will eliminate fussiness during sleep time.
Don't rely too much on soothing techniques.
If you always put your baby in their crib when they are already asleep, if they wake up at night, which is normal, they won’t recognize their surroundings, and they will cry and need you to soothe them back to sleep. The best course Is to put your baby in their crib when drowsy and awake. Doing this will help the baby learn to soothe themselves and fall asleep independently. Even if they wake up at night and are not hungry, they can go back to sleep.
If you get used to repeating soothing habits to make your baby fall asleep, they will get used to it, and it will be difficult for them to fall asleep without the soothing technique. For example, if you always walk your baby to soothe them to sleep, the baby will get hooked to that. When the baby is a newborn, it's okay to soothe, rock them and even walk a bit to help them fall asleep. However, baby’s usually develop fast and don’t need such techniques forever. As the baby grows and reaches the 6-week mark, start your routine, and the baby will learn to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own.
Don't feed your baby to sleep.
Babies usually fall asleep every time they are feeding, especially newborns, which is not entirely bad. However, if your baby gets used to sleeping every time you feed them, they will learn to expect to be fed to sleep.
To try and deal with this issue, you can start moving the baby's feeding time and make it a bit earlier than usual until the baby can finish feeding without dozing off. Then you can complete your nighttime routine and place the baby in their crib while they are still drowsy.
Take nap times seriously.
If your baby rests well enough during the day, they will sleep better at night. Some people assume if you skip nap times and the baby is overtired at night that they will sleep better and for longer. This won’t work because when babies get too tired, their stress hormones are activated. Then when they finally settle down
and sleep, they won’t sleep for longer because the stress hormones wake them up again when they are still at the lighter stage of sleep.
That’s why regular naps during the day are essential to get the baby to sleep. When the baby reaches two months of age, their optimal span of awake time is usually 90 minutes between naps, which goes by fast. At this age, your baby has still not acquired the tolerance to stay awake for more than 90 minutes. They will be able to do so once they get to four or five months old. Ensure you keep an eye on the clock because knowing when the baby is tired and ready to sleep may not be easy.
Remember to also ensure at least once during naptime. The baby sleeps in their crib. Sometimes they may fall asleep in the car seat or on your arms, and you may be tempted to let them sleep there. However, if you let them sleep in their crib, they will get much-needed rest.
Once your baby gets to three months, you can have a naptime schedule, once in the morning, in the afternoon. If you stick to this schedule, your baby will rest better at night.
These are just a few tips you can try with your baby. Resist the urge to try out many things at once with your baby. Set a night time routine and stick to it, and you will see your baby slowly adapting to it and will soon be having quality sleep at night, and you too