You don’t have to be an experienced parent to know that it is a mammoth task to get newborn babies to sleep peacefully through the night. The excitement of bringing your little bundle of joy home is unparalleled, but it can slowly be replaced with fatigue. Understanding how your little one’s sleeping and waking up cycle functions can help you create an environment that ensures a peaceful sleep for them.
What we’re going to discuss here are various techniques and strategies that are tried and tested to help get your baby to sleep. If left undisturbed, then even a 3 month old infant can enjoy up to 5-6 hours of sleep at a stretch. Experimenting with many different techniques can help you stumble upon one that works the most for your little one.
- Establish a routine:
Studies show that establishing a daily routine helps your little one feel safe and comforted. Even at such a tender age they are able to predict what can come next if a routine is followed. Having bath time for your baby every night before laying them down to bed can help encourage the drowsiness set in. The scent of soap, foamy bubbles and warm running water is perfect to get your baby to calm down and get sleepy.
- Don’t assume they’re hungry:
Instead of offering a bottle or breast feeding them as soon as they start to wake up or cry out, wait it out a little. Generally, your newborn will wake up every 40 mins to an hour and look around for a bit and go back to sleep on their own. If they don’t resume their sleep and are continuously crying out, then it’s a good time to try something else. Singing to them, gently patting them or rubbing their belly might even help lull them back to sleep. If the crying still persists, then you may go ahead and try a feed. Young ones need to be fed at least 2-3 times in the night after all. This brings us to the 3rd technique.
- Stretch out night feedings:
Another way to ensure your baby sleeps for longer is by slowly starting to feed your little one right before they are put to bed. Then the chances of them waking up more often during the night will be reduced. This process might not work immediately or too early on but keep at it and you will see a difference in the amount of times your little one stirs in the night.
- When in doubt, swaddle:
Swaddling is the go to technique for how to make your baby sleep. This is another way to make your little one feels safe and comforted. If you think about it, being swaddled reminds the baby of the warm, cozy environment of your womb. Securely and firmly wrapping your little one up will instantly ease them and get them ready to sleep. Sometimes, swaddling helps them wake up more gently as well. Babies tend to wake up with flailing arms and legs and that could have the potential of hurting them.
- Handle night wakings:
A newborn is bound to wake up several times during the night, that’s just how babies function in the beginning. This is because their circadian rhythm hasn’t quite kicked in yet. The circadian rhythm basically determines the sleeping and waking up patterns of human beings and it isn’t so developed in young ones. When your little one starts stirring at night or cries out, make sure to keep the room as dark as it was while they were asleep. Maintaining quietness, darkness will make your little one stay sleepy. If you or your partner put on the lights or make too many loud noises, then it’ll be harder to put your baby to sleep again. Remember: keep the atmosphere as boring and quiet as possible. Little ones are more sensitive to lights and sound than we are so even something small could make them wake up. Make sure you don’t move them around too much, and breast feed in the dark if possible.
- Put the baby to sleep when drowsy:
Another trick that’s helpful to make your baby sleep is to put your little one down when they are drowsy or just about to fall asleep. When you do this instead of putting them down when they’re already asleep – the baby learns that it must sleep when put down. Your child will associate the feeling of being sleepy with their own bed or crib. They will know that once they’re laid down in the crib that they should fall asleep. Another reason why putting them down when they’re already sleeping doesn’t work as well is because they might have fallen asleep in your arms or in another environment. So, when they stir in the middle and find that they’re on the bed- they will get confused or even afraid that they aren’t in your arms any more.