For parents of a newborn bundle of joy (or even one that’s a few months old, for that matter) getting your baby to sleep good so that you can get your own much-needed rest is often a challenge. What can you do when you’ve tried everything you know, and baby is still wide awake when the rest of the world’s sleeping? We have a few techniques you’ll find helpful.
- First, don’t make eye contact. Why, you may ask? Eye contact actually stimulates your baby, particularly if you look him or her in the eyes for too long, or in a way that’s animated. When putting your little one to sleep or calming him/her upon waking during the night, avert your eyes away from baby’s eyes.
- Considering a calming bath. Just as adults enjoy a nice soak in a warm tub to relax, babies do too. Leave the toys out of the tub – the last thing you want to do is get your baby excited. Use a soft washcloth to gently stroke your baby in warm water. So soothing!
- Don’t think keeping your baby awake longer will make her sleep better through the night. Actually, it’s best to put baby to bed around 6:30 or 7:00 during the first year of life, and a baby who’s overtired will have a harder time getting to sleep. Ironically, early to bed often results in a good night’s sleep – and a later wake time in the morning.
- Think cotton or other natural fibers for sleeping. Babies can be sensitive to synthetics, which could leave skin irritated and you guessed it – hinder sleep. Comfort counts!
- A cool environment induces sleep. Adults have a tough time sleeping when the room is too warm, and babies are no different. Keep the temperature between 65 and 70 degrees, and you’ll not only help baby sleep better but possibly prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) as well according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Forget the nightlight. Most parents use nightlights to help baby feel secure, but this isn’t the best idea. Instead, use blackout shades or dark curtains during the day when baby is taking a nap, and in the evenings when it’s time to go to sleep for the night. Upon your baby waking, open the shades or curtains up so that your baby correlates light with awake time, and dark with sleep time.
These are just a few suggestions that will hopefully help you and your baby get the sleep you need. There are countless things you can do as a parent to help your little one sleep better; when one idea or suggestion from a friend or family member doesn’t work, keep trying others! You’ll soon discover what works for your baby.