When your baby does not sleep well, neither do you. However, sleepless nights and stressful days can be avoided if you are equipped with the top tips for putting your baby to sleep. Use the following ideas when it is time for you and your baby to be visited by Mr. Sandman.
Develop a routine:
Creating a bedtime routine with your baby is one of the best preventative measures against restless nights. The routine helps your baby’s internal clock begin to recognize when it is time to sleep.
Another great tip is to develop a routine that also allows for bonding time with your baby. Give your baby a bath, followed by rubbing soothing lotion into your baby’s skin. You can also work in a bedtime story, or just spend time together sitting quietly.
Sleep separately from your baby:
One of the worst sleep mistakes that parents can make is bringing baby into their bed. While it initially may seem like a fun, cozy, bonding experience, sleeping in the same bed with your baby can quickly become one of the most difficult patterns to break. Your baby will become dependent on you sleeping with him or her, so when you finally want to reclaim your bed, you could face a real dilemma.
It is best for your baby to have his or her own bedroom for sleeping. Your baby will become accustomed to his/her own space, and know that when he/she lies down at night, it is time for sleep. However, if you do not have an extra bedroom to convert into a nursery, and your baby must sleep in your bedroom, you can still give your baby his or her own space. Try using a space saving solution like a portable or mini crib.
Break the rocking habit:
Rocking your baby is a natural motion and habit that begins at birth. While rocking is both soothing to you and your baby, and can help your baby fall asleep, there comes a point when your baby needs to learn to fall asleep on his/her own. Otherwise, your baby’s sleep patterns will be dependent on your rocking.
Cry it out:
A pediatrician named Dr. Richard Ferber popularized the sleep training method commonly known as “cry it out” (CIO). This technique is useful for breaking the rocking habit, and for teaching your baby to go back to sleep if he/she wakes during the middle of sleep. With this method, babies learn to soothe themselves, instead of having to rely on rocking, or other calming methods performed by parents.
Try these steps when you use the CIO method of sleep training:
- Before lying your baby in his/her crib, try participating in calming activities like a soothing bath, reading a story, or cuddling together for a few minutes.
- Lie your baby down and make sure that the crib is free of stuffed animals, heavy blankets, or anything else that could be a suffocation hazard.
- Your baby may start to cry at this point, so mentally prepare yourself.
- Go in and check on your baby at increasing time intervals. For example, go in after 5 minutes, then after 7 minutes, and then after 10 minutes.
- Increase your time intervals every night.
- In approximately 7-10 days your baby should be able to fall asleep on his or her own.
If your baby is having trouble getting a complete night’s rest, try these tips for putting your baby to sleep. Developing a routine, sleeping separately from your baby, breaking the rocking habit, and using the cry it out method are all great ways to help you and your baby sleep better at night. If sleep problems persist, please consult your baby’s pediatrician, or other qualified health care professional.