Getting your child to fall and stay asleep can be the most challenging task for a parent, so having a few baby sleep tips up your sleeve is crucial for your sake! Many of us have grown up with our parents teaching us to sleep so we can grow tall, but sleep is much more than growing taller and feeling energized the next day. Sleep is how your baby will become a healthy and energetic kid with no speed bumps along the way. It has been shown that getting a fair amount of sleep daily leads to a reduction in illness by 50%, and it also plays a great role in the development of the nervous system, which is found throughout your whole body. Sleep can be the most beneficial time for your toddler, so being a pro at newborn sleep strategies is vital for a healthy and happy baby!
10 Baby Sleep Tips
As a parent, we all wonder how to improve baby sleep because it can be a huge struggle getting your baby to sleep, let alone your sleep as well! This makes it the hardest part for many parents, as they are overworked and exhausted from already a busy day. However, there are a few baby sleep tips that will work magic on your baby to help them sleep longer, quicker, and safer! Remember, everything is a learning process, so hopefully this infant sleep guide will allow your baby to sleep much easier and happier!
Create a Schedule best sleep strategies for babies
A messy life can be difficult to manage and cannot be sustained without feeling stressed and tired daily, but creating a schedule is one of the best sleep strategies for babies. A schedule is crucial for you to be able to get through the day and keep up with being a parent. The first few weeks will be a struggle, as creating a routine takes time, but once you get through it, they will sleep for longer periods and you will be able to plan activities around their sleep schedule. Knowing when they take their naps and wake up will make it much easier for you to plan out your day then trying to guess when they will sleep and wake up.
Put them to Sleep When they are Awake
When your newborn is 6 weeks old, putting them to sleep awake is a critical step that will ensure your baby and yourself a good night's rest. You want your newborn to be in a drowsy, awake state, which means they are still conscious of their surroundings but start to relax and settle in. Being drowsy awake is key, as you want your newborn to be aware of their surroundings when they sleep. This is so when they wake up later in the night, they know where they are and have a better chance of falling back to sleep. Just imagine if your baby was in the car, and wakes up in their crib. How would the baby feel? To achieve the drowsy awake state, you can do your usual nap time soothing routine which can include singing, rocking, or swaddling. If your baby is under 12 months old, swaddling can be extremely effective and should be done! Start practicing your baby sleeping awake at 6 weeks old, and by 16 weeks, they should be sleeping on their own!
How to swaddle a baby can be novel to many parents. Refer to our previous blog to find all the tips and tricks to swaddling! Once you know how to swaddle, keep in mind this should only be done for the first few months after your newborn is born, so don’t miss the window! Swaddling can be great to help babies sleep for many reasons, as it helps keep them on their back with arms tucked in. This is the safest position for your baby to sleep in. However, you want to make sure the blanket is wrapped tightly enough, so it does not come off at night, but not too tight where your baby’s legs can't move and it's hard to breathe. Swaddling calms your baby down, as it mimics a mother’s womb, and this is a great way to slowly show your baby their new sleep environment while making them feel safe and comfortable. This brings us to what blankets should you buy? When looking for a blanket, swaddle blankets are best, as they are made for swaddling. Free Birdees, an eco-friendly boutique, makes the best bamboo swaddling blankets that are sure to keep your baby snuggled and comfy all night long! What makes them the best? Their bamboo swaddling blankets are ultra soft, and breathable, meaning your baby will be cool in the summer/warm in winter.
Most of our attempts to sleep earlier are fruitless, but toddler’s are programmed to sleep early because of their hormones. When they turn around 8 weeks old, their sleep hormone, melatonin, will rise and lead to feeling tired earlier. If you keep them awake, you will find it harder to put them to sleep because they were overstimulated. A good indication of when it is time to put them to bed is when they start losing their energy and become more calm. You also want to make sure you put them to sleep when they are drowsy and not asleep already. This will help them become more independent in the future and help them fall asleep on their own.
Never skip Naptime
Another baby bedtime tip is to have naptime! Many parents try to use logic when planning out their toddlers sleep schedule. For example, many parents ignore nap time so their babies will sleep extra long in the night, which logically makes sense, but does not work for toddlers. Toddlers are different in the sense that they need to be rested in order to have a good night sleep. When they are too tired, their stress hormones rise, so once they fall asleep, the stress hormones will quickly wake them up and you will have a very uncooperative baby. This newborn sleep strategy seems unsound, but once you see the results, you will never question its authenticity again!
Bring you Baby to your Room
Especially during the first months of baby time, having them in your room can be a great idea. Although it may not sound pleasant, for the first 6-12 months, babies should sleep in parent’s room to decrease the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), and make your lives easier. When babies are in the parent’s room (not sharing a bed), they do not go into a deep level of sleep, as there is background noise, and this prevents the risk of SIDS. It also makes it easier to breastfeed, and you can have eyes on your baby more than if they were in a separate room. If they are a distraction, try having their crib in your closet, if you are fortunate to have a large enough one, and this still makes it safe for you and your baby, just with some more privacy!
Create a Calming and Peaceful Environment
Overstimulation can lead to your toddler becoming very active and hard to put down, so it is crucial you create a night time routine that ensures your baby will receive peace and quiet. Some great activities to slow things down and get into the sleep mood are to cuddle, read a story, and play soothing music. Once you're done, make it clear it is time for you to go and allow them to fall asleep on their own. You may also experience some babies fall asleep much easier when they know you are with them, so this is acceptable during the younger ages because some babies need the comfort and safety of a parent.
Get a Pacifier
A pacifier is known to be the holy grail of baby accessories, and for good reason! A pacifier is able to calm babies down and make them sleep easier, win win for both. They help babies relax if they wake up in the night, and are known to keep babies asleep so there won’t be as many midnight breast feeds! Pacifiers also help with safety, as they may decrease the chance of SIDS. Overall, pacifiers are great at calming down your baby on any occasion, which makes them perfect for nighttime sleep dreams!
Don’t Use Food
A very popular belief within the baby community is that food helps your baby sleep. False! There have been countless studies that have shown there is no correlation between food and sleepiness. If you do come across studies advocating for better sleep because of food, the babies in the study could have just slept more, as they still woke up in the night 2-3 times. In addition, many parents believe solid foods help with sleep, but this will only lead to an increased risk of choking. Unfortunately, as tired as you may be, food will not be a viable solution to help your baby sleep better.
Being a parent isn’t always sunshines and rainbows because there will be many stressful and challenging days, but the joy and love from a child is the best feeling no money can buy. Every parents goal is to shape their child into becoming a successful and good human being, but the road to that isn’t always easy. This is why you need patience. As it may not sound like the most clear sleep strategies for babies, being patient towards your child will allow for better sleep in the long run, as you will see the results in the changes you have made. Not only that, patience is needed in everyday life other than sleep. We live in a society filled with much hate and negativity towards each other, so being a little bit more patient everyday will lead to a better world, and better sleep.
It can be easy to overlook that baby sleep tips will not be needed when your baby arrives, but contrary to popular belief, you will find soon enough that it is important! Not only for your sake, but your baby deserves a peaceful sleep with the least interruptions, unless it’s for food! Many of these newborn sleep strategies can be implemented immediately, and do not need to bring more stress into your lives. So start tackling some baby bedtime tips for your baby, and practice early before it is too late!