Sleep is easily the hardest part of the baby years. Some babies are decent sleepers, while others seem to loathe it. While it is a fact that babies spend the majority of their early life sleeping, it can be hard to get your baby to fall asleep. As a mom of three, I can say that each of my girls had completely different sleep habits. What worked for one did not work for the other, and so on.
To compare notes, I polled some friends and family members, asking them what sleep tips they had, and here’s what they had to say…
1. A Lovey
Most little ones love to snuggle. Giving them a soft lovey to snuggle with can certainly make them feel better.
2. Full Tummy
Make sure baby has had enough to eat before it’s time for bed. A hungry baby won’t sleep well.
3. Nursing Down
Some breastfed babies sleep best when they are nursed to sleep.
If your little one takes a pacifier, let them use it in bed. The sucking can be a great soother for them.
5. Room Sharing
Sometimes baby sleeps better knowing you’re near. A crib or cradle in your room might help them get more sleep.
6. Staying in Their Own Room
When Margot was sleeping in our room, she woke up constantly. We finally switched her to her own room and she has been sleeping soundly. I think she just needed some peace and quiet.
7. Consistent Routine
Some babies sleep better if they have a nightly routine. This prepares them for what’s to come and gets them in a better rhythm.
Babies love massage. Give your little one a relaxing rub down just before bed. This calms them down and prepares them for rest.
In the same way, a bath can relax a little one. Being fresh & clean and in new PJs can help them get more sleep.
10. A Sound Machine
Total silence can sometimes wake a baby up at night. Consider a sound machine to help them sleep better.
The back and forth motion of rocking your baby can be a great sedative. Plus, it’s great for bonding!
The soothing sound of Mama or Dada’s voice can help put baby to bed. Sing the same song every night to get them in the habit of calming down before bed.
If your little one’s room is too light, it can be hard for them to get rest. Consider some black-out curtains and just a small night light.
14. Mom’s Smell
Babies are usually more calm if Mama is near. Consider leaving an unwashed shirt in baby’s room so that your smell lingers on.
15. Rubbing Their Ears
Physical touch is one of the most calming things. Rubbing baby’s ears while they are nearing sleep can help them relax.
16. Essential Oils
Many mamas swear by using essential oils. Put a drop of lavender on baby’s feet at night to help her calm down and relax.
17. Shorter Daytime Naps
To help baby establish the difference between day and night, make sure they aren’t napping too long during the day. Shorter daytime naps usually means longer stretches at night.
18. A Clean and Dry Diaper
Make sure to change baby’s diaper right before bed. They’ll be more content and they’ll be less likely to wake up because of a leak, etc. Or, try Huggies OverNites.
19. Wearing Down
Another way to get baby to sleep is to wear them in a wrap or sling. Do some chores around the house with him attached to you until he’s just about asleep. Then, carefully put him in his bed.
20. The Right Temperature
Make sure the temperature of baby’s room is just right. Not too cold and not too warm.
21. Cozy PJs
Dress your baby appropriately for bed. Nothing too hot or too cold, and nothing uncomfortable, either. We learned this the hard way by putting our baby to bed in a sleeper that had a giant ruffle across the rear.
Many babies are comforted by soothing music. Put a few songs on from a CD or use an MP3 player to help baby fall asleep.
23. A Warm Bed
A cold bed sheet can be startling. Warm the bed sheet ahead of time by throwing it in the dryer for a few minutes, or by laying a hot water bottle on it before your babe lays down to rest.
The more activity your baby has had, the more ready they’ll be for sleep. Play, play, play if you want them to get a decent night’s sleep.
A baby can sense if you are stressed out. Try to relax as much as possible, so your little one can relax, too.
As always, talk with your doctor about what is best for your baby.
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