Sleep is often one of the biggest mysteries and struggles of parents with young babies. There can be nothing more frustrating than a baby who wakes at 3 a.m. and refuses to go back to sleep. Getting a child to adjust his (or her) sleep patterns is going to depend on his age.
For example, a newborn baby up to around 3 months can go through numerous wake and sleep cycles in a day. It’s not until about the third or fourth month that a baby can begin to sleep at about 7-8 hour clips at a time. So this is a good time to begin to set sleep routines with your baby. It will help you and your baby get better sleep this way. Check out these tips for better sleep for you and your baby.
Establish a Bedtime Routine
Bedtime doesn’t start when you put baby to bed. It begins well before that.
* Have a soothing routine. Start by turning the lights down low and running a soothing bath with lavender in it. Sing some lullabies, read some books, or play some soft music. Avoid active play. Just keep everything soothing and quiet.
* Don’t rock your baby to sleep. Just before he begins to drift off, place him in his crib or bassinet. This way he begins to learn how to self-soothe and go to sleep.
* Take note of your child’s sleepy cues. This is important for nap time as well. Always put baby to sleep in his crib or bassinet for nap and bedtime. Don’t wait until he’s overtired.
What If Baby Does Wake during the Night?
* Feed a hungry baby. Don’t let him get too worked up, though. Feed him as soon as he begins to wake. This will make it easier for him to fall back to sleep with a nice, full belly.
* Don’t turn on any lights. If you can’t see, turn on a hallway light to give a little light in your baby’s room, but no bright overhead lights.
* Speak to your baby in a soft voice at night – and as little as possible. If he’s not feeding and is just playing, then get him to settle down with a little rocking and put him back in his crib with a quick hug and kiss once he settles down.
* If he’s not settling, check to make sure something isn’t making him uncomfortable like a soiled diaper. Change the diaper quickly with no talking or playing and lay him right back down in bed once he’s all cozy again.
* Do your best to keep your frustration at bay. No one likes to be woken up, but if your child senses your frustration, then it’s going to be harder to settle him down to go to sleep.
All in all, keeping a routine of quiet, soothing tones before bed will help your child go to sleep at night. Helping a baby from a young age learn how to self-soothe will make late-night wake-ups easier to deal with. Being quiet, calm, and serene are all very important to getting a good night’s sleep for you and baby.