The most pressing issue as a new parent is almost certainly how to help your baby sleep better. If you’re a mom or dad, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that parents lose an average of 44 days of sleep in their baby’s first year of life. The bad news about parenthood is that nothing can ever fully prepare you for the sleep deprivation of having an infant. The good news is, it won’t last forever.
Being a bit of a zombie myself, I’ve spent countless hours researching ways to help my baby sleep, talking to other moms about it, and trying different approaches. And while every baby is different, there are definitely some things you can do to help your baby sleep better and longer, and lots of great products that can make life easier for tired parents. Better sleep for baby means more shut-eye for you. And you know how the saying goes: If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!
Tip #1: Create a womb-like environment in the nursery
One of the best ways to comfort baby is to help her feel the sense of safety and security she felt inside the womb. There are lots of easy ways to do this.
Keep the room as dark as possible with blackout blinds. Avoid using nightlights–even the tiniest bit of light can be stimulating for baby.
Swaddling can help prevent your baby from waking herself with her startle reflex. It will also help her feel comforted by mimicking the confined space of the womb in the later days of pregnancy.
Using white noise is another easy way to simulate life inside the womb. My baby boy LOVES white noise—it calms him almost instantly! Most white noise makers can be bulky and take up space, but The Nightingale Smart Sleep System plugs into the wall outlet and allows you to choose from a huge range of sounds with an app on your phone, leaving you free to unload the dishwasher before bed without the risk of disturbing your little bundle of joy.
Tip #2: Make bedtime a positive experience for baby
If you want to help baby sleep at bedtime, it’s crucial that it’s not something he dreads. Starting a predictable bedtime routine will help calm you both and prepare baby to drift off into dreamland.
You can include things such as a bath, lullaby, baby massage, bedtime story, changing into pyjamas, and kissing him goodnight. Smile at baby, speak softly to him, and dim the lights.
Whatever you choose to include, be consistent–make sure you do it in the same order every time. And don’t include anything baby doesn’t like just because other parents are doing it. My babe didn’t have the patience to read a book before bed, so we stopped. If your baby doesn’t like bath time, or it’s too stimulating for him, save baths for earlier in the day.
Put baby to bed in a safe, comfortable place. My four-month-old has almost outgrown his bassinet, and I’ve been eyeing up the Kidiway Zeni 4-in-1 Convertible Crib. This gorgeous bed will last baby his entire childhood and can be used as a crib, toddler bed, day bed, and double bed, making the transition to the “big boy bed” a cinch.
Tip #3: Prevent baby from getting overtired
There’s a commonly held belief that keeping babies up during the day will help them sleep at night. In fact, sleep consultants claim the opposite is true. By ensuring your baby naps regularly during the day, you’ll prevent her from being “tired but wired” by bedtime.
I can definitely vouch for the fact that when I mess with my little guy’s routine, he’s a lot more restless at night.
Watch for baby’s “sleepy cues”, such as rubbing her eyes, yawning, fussing, or staring off into space. Put her down for a nap at the first sign of tiredness.
Follow these tips and I’m confident you won’t have to resort to putting baby in his car seat and driving around to get him to catch some z’s. If all else fails, take a deep breath and remind yourself that these sleepless nights will pass! One day, you’ll wake up before baby in a panic, only to realize he’s been asleep for six hours straight. You’ll breathe a sigh of relief and feel like a million bucks the next day! Also, if you have a great tip to add to this list please share it in the comment section below.
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