- 12 baby-sleep tips for exhausted new parents
- Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings
- Teaching Your Baby to Put Himself to Sleep
- What's the best way to get my child to go to sleep?
- 6 secrets I’ve learned as a baby sleep consultant
To encourage good nighttime sleep, you can begin a consistent bedtime routine as early as 7 weeks. A bedtime routine cues your baby to prepare for sleep by offering low stimulation activities like feeding, reading a story or singing. This routine supports her being able to fall asleep with less assistance from you over time.
Equally important is to establish a consistent wake up time for your baby. Put your baby to bed within the same 30 minute window each evening and wake her between the same 30 minute window each morning. Keep the sleep environment dark at night because light has a very strong impact on the circadian rhythm.
12 baby-sleep tips for exhausted new parents
Auditory changes in the environment can also disrupt sleep so avoid any white noise machines that turn off on a timer or change in pitch or tone. The sleep environment should be the same all night long. Once your baby is rolling on her own, it is no longer safe to swaddle her. Transition her to a sleep sack to offer the feeling of being snug and cozy while still keeping her safe. The sleep sack will also prevent her legs from sliding through crib slats and keep her little toes covered and warm. Sleep associations are the conditions present when we initiate sleep — we all have them.
Being aware of the associations your baby develops can help you determine if changes should be made to improve her sleep at night. Yes, this is another sleep "crutch. Feed your baby when he first wakes up from sleep, and again a bit later if he is awake and still hungry. But when he is just sleepy, experiment with walking or rocking him instead of feeding him.
That way, he begins to learn to fall asleep without sucking. Of course, you are still using rocking or walking to get him to sleep, but we'll break that sleep association in the next phase. You don't start this until your baby is several months old, nursing or eating well, and physically thriving.
Infants need to eat very often, so you will often find that your infant is hungry and tired at the same time.
Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings
If you walk or rock your baby and he continues to cry and protest, then he may very well be hungry as well as tired. In that case, feed him right away.
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- Teaching Your Baby to Put Himself to Sleep.
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More and more often, he will indeed fall asleep without sucking. If he's hungry, he will keep crying to let you know, in which case of course you will feed him. Once she's used to falling asleep being rocked or walked instead of eating, the next phase is to get her to fall asleep without rocking. So you begin with rocking, but then, before she is actually asleep, you stop rocking, and just sit, holding her calmly. If she protests, begin rocking again.
Keep repeating this. It may take 25 attempts, but eventually she will begin falling asleep even though you have stopped rocking. Do this for a week or so until she's used to it as your new routine: getting sleepy while rocking and then falling asleep in your arms while not rocking.
Teaching Your Baby to Put Himself to Sleep
Again, do this for a week until he is used to this routine. The next step is to begin lowering him into the crib or bed still awake although almost asleep. When he protests -- which of course he will -- pick him up again in the rocking position and rock a little, then stop. It may well take 25 attempts, but eventually he will let you put him into the bed without protest. Be patient. You're almost home! Eventually, you will be able to put your baby in the crib and hold her there while she falls asleep, because she will not need rocking any more.
Then you move to touching, but not holding, your baby, while she falls asleep in the crib. Eventually, she will be able to fall asleep with you simply holding her hand. Keep doing this until she accepts it as your new routine -- getting sleepy rocking, but then being put into her bed lying on her back and falling asleep there, holding your hand.
At some point, you can substitute a toy instead of your finger. Guess what? You now have a baby who can be put down in the crib awake, and who will fall asleep on her own!
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- How to help your baby sleep at night.
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I suggest that you begin by reading the section on Infants and Sleep , for a general framing of this issue, including my bias toward keeping infants near you during sleep. Why this bias? Because it gets you more sleep, and reduces the risk of SIDS for your baby. If you're considering Ferbering , you'll also want to read my biased view on that. Then administer the floppy-arm test: Lift up an arm and drop it. That continued pressure will ease the transition. If they startle, try patting their belly before you slink away. Lay your baby flat not head first into the crib.
What's the best way to get my child to go to sleep?
Use a step-stool if you need the extra lift. Buy an LED push night light that operates on batteries so you can put it wherever you need it and turns on with a quick touch. Put a hot water bottle in the bassinet or crib, which will warm it up and can sometimes make the transfer from your arms to bed a little easier. Plan for this by sleeping in shifts with your partner or support person. Put them down somewhere safe, which may even be the floor.
6 secrets I’ve learned as a baby sleep consultant
Not applicable if you have dogs or toddlers at home with you! Enjoy this period of portable naps.
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