Getting your baby to sleep is a feat in itself. For all those who think we are exaggerating, wait till your little one comes along.
Fresh out of childbirth, you’re extremely exhausted. You’re dying to get a good night’s sleep, but you’re baby does not allow it. Not that he or she is doing it on purpose, only that they are yet to get accustomed to your sleep-wake cycle.
You empathize with your little one; however the successive sleepless nights are becoming a real dilemma for you. How can you get your baby to sleep peacefully through the night? We’ll tell you by helping you understand the factors that promote and hinder sleep.
Tip 1# Recognize Your Baby’s Sleep Needs
New moms are often surprised at the number of hours their little one sleeps for. Babies sleep for almost 10-18 hours a day. Additionally, infants tire out easily and can stay awake for not more than 30 minutes at a stretch. After this happy half-an-hour, your baby starts getting irritated and cranky. Mothers play with their little one or jiggle them in order to pacify them. However, doing so will only increase your problem as your little one gets overtired. Over tired babies are hard to put to sleep.
Following a session of feeding, diaper change and light playing, watch out for signs of tiredness. The most common is eye rubbing. Pick up your baby and lull him to sleep. A baby that is well rested during the day will sleep well at night.
Tip 2# Let your baby drift into sleep naturally
This concept is hard to absorb at first, but as days pass you realize that it is one of the best. Many mothers use sleep props – a blanket, a pacifier, the bottle, nursing, stuffed toys, back rubbing, rocking, swinging and jiggling. A child or a baby becomes dependent on these props to fall off to sleep. They associate going to sleep with these props. So, when the props are unavailable, your baby won’t fall off to sleep. It is difficult to break the association later and hence sleep props are better avoided in the first place.
When your baby gets drowsy, cuddle him for a few minutes. After this lay him down gently and let him soothe himself to sleep. It works, try it out.
Tip 3# Swaddling
This method has been prescribed down the ages. Swaddling promotes sound sleep in babies as it restores a sense of security and safety; that of the mother’s womb. Wrapping the hands and feet tightly against the baby’s bodies also prevents the chances of the baby waking itself up with an accidental punch and kick.
Tip 4# Establish a Sleep Routine
Just as much as a sleep routine is essential for adults it is necessary for babies too. Babies who follow a regular bedtime routine fall asleep easily and quickly. Also, it reduces the number of night time waking. What does a baby’s sleep routine look like? It includes:
- Avoid over stimulating activities before bed time. Keep play and other activities for the day. When your baby starts getting drowsy, try moving to a darker, quieter room.
- Do not change the order of the activities.
- Create a sleeping environment for your baby. It is preferable to conduct the bedtime routine in this environment giving your baby a hint that’s it is now time to relax and chill.
- Babies wake up in the middle of their sleep – don’t need a feed or a diaper change. In this case avoid picking up your baby. Gently pat or stroke your baby. He will fall off to sleep again. If it leads to crying and restlessness, cradle your baby and soothe him. But make sure to put him down before he falls off to sleep.