Tips for New Moms – Baby Sleep
New moms: we know you are tired, so we’ll make this quick. It can be hard to get little ones to fall asleep in their cribs and keep them asleep all night long. There are many simple changes you can make to help your baby sleep for longer and make bedtime relaxing and enjoyable for both of you.
7 Ways to Get Baby to Sleep
1. Create a Pre-Sleep Routine
Follow some nighttime rituals to help your little one learn the difference between day and night and naps versus a good nights sleep. Start by turning down lights and keeping your little away from screens. Warm baths, massages, and cuddling help your baby to relax. Try lowering your voice and singing a lullaby to help your baby’s sensory system slow down just before bedtime.
2. Dream Feed
Dream feeding is one of the best ways to help moms stay asleep longer. The dream feed is a feeding given to the baby right before you go to bed. It’s a parent-directed, late-evening feeding in which you don’t wait for the baby to wake up hungry, but instead fill its belly just enough to steal a few more hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Swaddling helps infants fall and stay asleep for two reasons: firstly, your newborn was used to being tightly wrapped in the womb, so being wrapped in a swaddling blanket duplicates the experience which helps them sleep better. Secondly, sometimes babies feel as if they are falling, and this sensation causes the baby to incidentally wake up. Keeping a tight swaddle prevents babies from startling themselves awake, helping the newborn baby sleep both better and longer.
4. Form an Association between Crib & Sleep
As convenient as it may be to let your little pumpkin snooze in their car seat while you’re on the go, or cuddle in your arms while you relax, you should try early on for your child to always sleep in their crib. The more often you put them to sleep in their crib, the better association they will create between being in their crib and sleeping. This will be very helpful on nights when they are more active or awake – once you do put them in their crib, this association will come into play and help them understand that it’s time to sleep.
5. Lay Baby Down Sleepy
Every mom has gone through the frustrating cycle of having their baby sleep in their arms to only wake up crying once you let go of them! They can wake up from the difference in temperature, brisk movements, or from being in a different position. The best way to avoid this problem and teach your baby to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own. If you notice that your baby is sleepy, put them in their crib before they fall asleep. This will help them create an association between a crib and sleep (step 4) and falling asleep independently helps your baby drift back to sleep in case they wake up. Ultimately this will help your baby sleep better in the long run.
6. White Noise
In the womb, your baby was used to constant sounds of your beating heart and other noises of your stomach. White noises can be especially relaxing to for your little one as silence could actually be startling. Using a white noise machine, playing a relaxing-sounds playlist on youtube or even using a fan can help your babies sleep better.
7. Let Baby Cry
The hardest part for any new parent is to let their little munchkin cry! Make sure that the basics are covered (hunger, comfort, diapers, etc.) and pause before rushing in if you hear them making a fuss. As hard as it is to listen to cries, tough it out and see if your baby can work it out themselves. If the crying continues, intervene in the least direct way, like using a calm voice or patting their backs. Only pick them up as the last resort. With this difficult step, your baby will remember a little sooner that crying doesn’t produce results.
Every new mom knows what it’s like being tired. Just remember that sleeping is a habit that can be taught to your baby just like anything else. In the book “Winning Bedtime Battles: Getting Your Child to Sleep”, author Charles Schaefer mentions that most babies begin to sleep through the night between 3 and 4 months.
These tips will help you create triggers and cues for your baby which they will identify with sleeping. Developing these baby sleep habits will help you and your baby sleep tight.