Few things make parents want to pull out their hair more than a restless baby. While it is normal for newborns to wake frequently, most children begin to sleep through the night by 3 to 6 months of age. If your baby is not sleeping through the night, using a combination of these five sleeping tips may help your household get some much-needed shut-eye.
Establish a Pattern
In a way, babies must be conditioned to fall asleep easily. Pediatrician Dr. Brenda Hussey Gardner recommends establishing some patterns around every nap time and bedtime. Before baby’s nap, play with him, feed him and lay him down at the same time each day. Before bed, give him a bath, read him a book and lay him down to sleep at the same time each night. These patterns will eventually result in those telltale eye rubs of a sleepy baby, and sleep time resistance should shrink to a minimum.
Babies can be surprisingly light sleepers. Something as slight as a heater or air conditioner kicking on may wake a light sleeper. If your baby wakes frequently during the night, music may by the solution to your problem. Soft, quiet music piped into the nursery all night long will act as white noise. This white noise will block out other sounds that may be waking your baby. Invest in a cheap CD player with a repeat option and a few bedtime baby CDs to ensure a full night’s rest.
Before your baby was born, she grew accustomed to spending every moment in motion. This is why most babies find rocking and vibrations soothing. When used properly, movement can also put a baby to sleep and keep her asleep. For newborns, the perfect solution is a bassinet next to your bed. This allows you to gently rock baby to sleep each time she begins to stir. For babies older than 3 months, consider adding a vibrating crib box to the side of the crib for the same effect.
Before a baby can sleep, he has to be completely comfortable. Each night before placing your baby down for bed, make sure all his needs are met. Give him a meal, change his diaper, change his clothes and tuck him in with the appropriate amount of covers for the temperature of the house. Once a baby is fed, dry and happy, he is more likely to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep through the night.
Circadian rhythms are those patterns that tell each person when to sleep or wake in relation to the sun. However, in an environment like a house, it is easy for a baby’s circadian rhythms to fall out of kilter. When a house is dark during the day and all the lights in the house are turned on at night, it is not uncommon for a baby to want to sleep all day and keep you up all night. The University of Michigan Health System suggests establishing proper circadian rhythms in your baby by taking her out during the day and exposing her to natural sunlight. Then, as the sun begins to set, try to keep the lights dimmed as much as possible to help your baby realize that bedtime is approaching. Her body will quickly slip into the natural rhythms of sleep.