You’ve got your bed time routine or daytime nap plan all in place, you know when your baby needs to sleep and you have a regular schedule? but your little one has other ideas! What do you do when your baby simply won?t drop off?
It can be one of the most frustrating and exasperating aspects of parenting ? if your child won?t sleep, you can?t sleep and the pressure mounts, the stress builds until your baby is picking up on the problems and finding it even more difficult to drop off. It creates a destructive cycle and this is exactly what makes it so difficult to maintain a schedule.
Here are our 7 tips to help baby sleep;
1. Make sure the room is right ? well ventilated, warm (but not too hot) and of course, clean and tidy. This will make it easier for baby to get to sleep and stay asleep without getting too hot, it will also make you feel more in control, and give you a more pleasant place to be on those long nights.
2. Only lift your baby when necessary ? don?t change them every hour whether they need it or not! Don?t lift your baby to rock them or bounce them if they are lying awake. You might not think you pick your little one up unless you have to but you might be surprised how often you will find yourself lifting your baby when you don?t really need to.
3. Don?t be tempted to give your baby an extra feed or a few ounces of milk ?just to get them off to sleep?, as this can set your baby up to see food as a comfort. It can also make it even more difficult for your baby to get off to sleep due to a full tummy and the possibility of reflux.
4. Make sure the environment isn’t too quiet. It might help if your baby has a sound to focus on. Read very quietly and softly, sing gently or leave the door open a little so your baby can hear background noise ? a television downstairs or the hum of traffic. While noise might keep your baby awake, silence can do the same.
5. Don?t be afraid to ask for help. If you are getting frustrated, your baby can pick up on your stress. This doesn’t mean you are failing, or not doing things right, it is perfectly natural ? all parents feel this way. Sometimes a change is as good as a rest and it makes sense to have someone else, a trusted adult who your baby knows well, to take over. Just for a night, to give you a break and perhaps even get another opinion on your little night owl and how you can best deal with the problem.
6. Give your baby a quick Spa treatment! – A study carried out at the University of Miami School of Medicine found that newborns who were given a massage before bedtime fell asleep faster and also slept more soundly than those who didn’t have one. If you have time before bed, try to give your baby a 10 to 15 minute massage using slow strokes, moderate pressure, and a baby-safe oil. For more information on baby massage classes, visit Kathy at Bump, Baby & Me.
7. Give baby a bath before bedtime – While it’s not necessarily practical or recommended to give your baby a bath every single day, i have found that on the nights my little one is given a bath, he is much more relaxed and tends to fall asleep without much fuss at all.
Babies have times when they don?t sleep well. They have times when they seem to not want to do anything you want them to do. There isn’t always a clear reason and there isn’t always a clear solution. They key is persistence. This phase will pass, and soon you will forget all about those long nights (however unlikely that may seem).
Please let us know if you have any other sleep tips to share!