Expert sleep strategies for babies

How to make your baby fall asleep quickly:

In the early stages, babies have a hard time knowing the difference between the day and night, which explains their short sleep sessions throughout the day. Additionally, things in the household like toys, baby laptops, or other baby gadgets can keep a baby awake.

But, as the days pass, it is important for you to induce right sleep cycle in their daily routine, which will keep them active and healthy.

Using Light strategically

Light is the key factor, and using this strategically will help you induce sleep to your kids routine, effortlessly.

On the other hand, the darkness stimulates the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin. Let your baby know, when it is day and when it is night, and this will 80% of your job.

  • Allow plenty of sunlight into his/her room, and take him out during the day time, which will make him/her sense that daytime is meant for being active.
  • To induce sleepiness in the initial stages, use dimmers in your baby’s room, where you both spend a lot of time. Lower the lights in the evenings, which will let him/her know that the sleep-time is nearing.
  • In case, your child wakes up during the night, instead to taking him to a bright room or turning on the lights to soothe him, you should soothe him back to sleep in his bedroom, which has the right light setting for his sleep.
  • You can install room-darkening shades, in the case early morning sunlight prompts your child to wake too early, or he has problems with his short nap in the afternoon.

Wait for your baby to get tired

Babies who drift on their own, find it easy to soothe themselves to sleep, when compared to the babies who don’t. She says, putting your baby to sleep, just before he/she nods off, gives the best sleep to him/her.

Kim suggests on creating a sleepiness scale from 1 to 10, when your baby’s age is 6-8 weeks old, where one stands for the wide awake state, and 10 for out cold. You baby must be put to bed when your baby hits 7 or 8.

Don’t rush to your baby when they wake up

When the babies wake up and start crying, the first thing, parents do, is to rush to their rooms and soothe them. This does seem a good idea, but it isn’t a good one, actually. You need to give your baby a little time, to settle back to sleep on her own, and reach out, only when it has a hard time to go back to sleep.

Know that, you need not run to your baby, for small gurgles, but only when he/she is distressed.

Don’t make eye contact

Eye contact signals playtime according to Claire Lerner, a senior parenting adviser at Zero to Three. Eye contact is a form of interaction that motivates your baby to get up. To avoid this kind of stimulation, you should not make an eye contact with your baby, talk excitedly or sing his/her favorite song. So where to look at, instead? You can keep your gaze on your baby’s belly, and make her sleep with a quiet voice and the gentlest touch.

Don’t rush to change their diaper

You need not change your baby’s diaper, every time he/she is up. Check if it is soiled, and change the diaper, only if there’s poop. Pantley suggests using high-quality, nighttime diaper, which has higher absorption rate and lasts till morning. When you are changing, when he/she is asleep, use the warm wipes that have been warmed in a wipe warmer.

Late night feeding

This is another strategy to make your baby sleep for long hours. If he/she has trouble sleeping, consider waking him/her up for a late-night feeding; this may help him sleep for longer stretches.

Again, during all this, keeping the lights dim, is very important. You should gently lift your baby out of his/her crib, and settle him/her down to nurse, or for a bottle-feeding. He/she may wake up and start feeding on, or there might be no response. When there is no response, gently nudge your baby’s lips with the feeding bottle’s nipple, until he/she latches on. Once, you are done with the feeding, he/she should be put back to bed, without burping.

Time adjustment for baby sleep schedules

All the tips mentioned above can be implemented right from the first month, but your baby takes at least four months to get adjusted to it. By this time, not only sleeping for longer stretches would be easy, but, your baby will be more responsive to your techniques.

In spite of your sleep techniques being good, regressions are common, and you should know them. These are not so major and are commonly seen during the major developmental milestones, changes in the routine, the arrival of a new sibling, traveling and illness. These sleep regressions are commonly observed when your babies become more active, i.e., around four months, and again around nine months, due to the increase in the separation anxiety.

Lullaby your baby to sleep

One way to help your baby drift off into sleep is with a lullaby. If you still have household chores to finish up, then consider searching YouTube for a baby lullaby, such as this one:

Patience with your baby’s sleep

Getting through these sleep regressions is a lot easy, and all you will need is some patience. Strictly keep your baby’s daytime active, and night time for rest, with the dim, calm and soothing environment. Not all sleep training strategies have to work, pick one, and follow it for a week. If it works, you can continue with the same, and if it doesn’t, then try a new technique.

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