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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Top Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep Better

Top Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep Better

* A bedtime routine
* Put baby in bed while awake
* Rock your baby's bed
* A lot of eating in the evening
* Stuffed animal or blanket that smells MOM
* A light cotton cloth over the eyes
* Slowly shorten nighttime feeding length
* Introduce a pacifier
* A sleep bag
* GET DAD INVOLVED!

1. A bedtime routine

This may seem as a laugh when your child is newborn. And it is. But at around two months according to my experience, it is possible to get into a routine that makes your baby want to goto sleep at around the same time every night.
Depending on how much time you want to allocate to this, you could give your baby a bath and a massage or both before putting him to bed. Or you can sing lullaby or read a story.
With three kids to put to bed, my routine for our baby was merely to wash him (no bath), put on a new diaper and a pyjamas, put the lights out and put him to bed with his stuffed animal and pacifier. I swaddled his lower body and one arm untli he was a few months old. I might have to go in and give him his pacifier a few times before he falls asleep, but that I can handle while helping my other kids to get ready for bed.

You need to introduce a morning routine too, getting up at about the same time every day, to make this work smoothly.
Do you think your baby wakes up too early in the morning? Here's some advice.

Other than having some free time in the evening, there is another great advantage with having your child falling asleep in his bed - he will not become terrified waking up in the middle ofthe night! If your baby always falls asleep in your arms, he will start believing that this is his bed, everything else must be terribly wrong.

Would you go back to sleep if you found yourself on the floor instead of in your bed waking up in the middle of the night? Probably not. The same thing goes for a baby.


2. Put baby in bed while awake

Yawning baby
Yes, they can go to sleep by them selves if not hungry!
This you should do both at night and every time your baby takes a nap at day time.
During his first weeks your baby will probably fall asleep at your breast every time he nurses (or with the bottle). Don't worry about it.
When he is a little bit older, at two months or so, you can feed him while he is still not too tired and then put a tired, full baby to bed half an hour later.

3. Rock your baby's bed

This one is not new to you, I'm sure. This is what all parents do, right? But a reminder of how much it helps might be good when deciding on where the baby shall sleep during his or her first months.
Two of my kids slept in a cradle during their first four months. Our youngest slept in a regular crib. Not good. How do you rock a crib?? Well, you could buy Vyssanlull feet to the bed, a great Swedish invention.
You just put them onto the crib's legs and - ta da - you have a rocking crib. Great help.

My last suggestion is to put your baby in his crib on a flat pillow (again, check safety issues), not only his head, but a large part of his back. When he starts waking up, gently rock his upper body by slightly lifting the pillow up and rock it gently.It is of course not ideal that the infant needs to be rocked to go back to sleep, but as a means to lengthen the time between his nursing moments, I think it is a great method, at least it has worked for me!

4. A lot of eating in the evening

This may also help a hungry baby sleep better. Feed him until he doesn't want more. Do it ever second hour or even more often in the evening.

5. Stuffed animal or blanket that smells MOM
Mom and milk is usually what babies want when the most waking up. With a stuffed animal with your smell on it, he might not feel as lonely when waking up in the middle of the night.

Put the animal close to your body for a few day and nights and then give it to your baby every time he goes to sleep.
However, you need to use a small stuffed animal, to make sure that it can't cover your baby's face.

6. A light cotton cloth over the eyes

I know many babies that fall asleep almost instantly if their face is cover by a very thin cotton cloth. I suppose it helps them shutting out distracting visual impressions.

Try this for naps rather than falling asleep at night, and don't leave the cloth with the baby out of your sight (for example at night) if you think there is even a remote risk that the baby could be suffocated by it, or that it could impact his oxygen uptake, and increase the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

7. Slowly shorten nighttime feeding length

Do you have a very enthusiastic night time feeder? Try reducing the length (hence the amount) of every occasion, there by slowly teaching him to eat less at night.

8. Introduce a pacifier

Small children usually have a strong need to suckle. Both my youngest kids did not, however, accept a pacifier until they were 2.5 months old. So hang in there! And try some different kinds.
Some children need some help to learn how to use the pacifier. Having learned, it might be a lot easier for the baby to fall asleep in his bed instead of at your breast.
As an important bonus, recent research indicates that a baby sleeping on his back, using a pacifier runs an extra low risk of SIDS. Check this with your care provider!

9. A sleep bag

Babies who are too warm or too cold wake up more easily. Some sort of baby sleep bag might be of great help, as it keeps the baby warm: Also, there is no risk that the baby either kicks off the blanket or pulls it over his face.
Actually, even if your infant doesn't sleep better in a baby sleep bag, you might!
At least I did when I could stop worrying about my baby pulling the blanket over his face. Some babies tend to start doing this when a few months old.

10. GET DAD INVOLVED!

Ahh, I almost forgot the most important point!
To give you an example - ten months old my daughter still woke up every second hour to nurse. We decided that we had to do something drastic. Starting a Friday night, her dad took her up when she started crying at night. He rocked her in his arms, gave her the pacifier and - believe it or not - she went back to sleep within minutes.

After only three nights, she only woke up twice a night. At these occasions, we let her eat, because she wouldn't settle easily with dad. One month later she only woke up once and at the age on one, we did the procedure one more time to take away the last night time meal. It also only took a few days. WHAT a RELIEF! So WHY didn't I try earlier???

Don't do the same mistake! Work as a team with your spouse to improve your family's nights. Babies weighing more than 10 pounds (don't they all, almost?) and at least at 6 months don't really need to eat at night. (As always check your specific situation with your care provider).

13 comments:

rooteye said...

Good information, maybe I can do later if I already have a baby. My first step would be married first ...

mae_greatlife said...

hi there rooteye, yes we need a partner first before having a baby. thanks for the post

Steward said...

@rooteye: Hahah..

All in all, Dads have to join moms and work as a team. Still remember my uncle used to rocked my little cousin in his arm late night... There are too many things that most people couldnt see how deep is dad's love to his children. Just because they are not at home during the day, doesnt mean that they do not care right?


Regards,
Steward
www.stewardjohn.com

leondavis3@gmail.com said...

You cant go wrong with cute little babies, however as great as your site is; it's a little hard on the eyes because the font is so small

You may want to consider using a larger font

HealthyHoustonKids said...

Another great resource for tips to help children of all ages sleep is www.sleepfoundation.org.
Jessica

http://www.healthyhoustonkids.com

Bunglon Blog said...

hi..visiting here...
greeting friendship my friends..
this is nice blog
succesful

Amaka said...

Great tips indeed, will put them to practice with my little daughter. Check also http://www.familyjewelsandfun.com for secrets to unconditional happiness in the family.

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

You sure know a lot about babies. That's great for babies are God's most precious gifts to humanity. They are the great equalizer for they bring joy and excitement to all households irregardless of one's stature in life. Thanks for the post. God bless you all always.

mae_greatlife said...

Thanks to all who comment in my blog. Yes, babies are so sweet they are blessing from god. That is why i am inspire to write this blog.

Nice Veloso said...

I already went through this routine. It is very gratifying. Educating young people and children is creating the future.

Zach said...

Thanks for all your great tips! Here are some additional tips you might want to know. Never put your baby to sleep on his or her stomach as this might hamper the baby's sleep pattern.

Also be wary in buying crib mattresses that tend to emit a toxic chemical smell. This can cause SIDS or Sudden Infant Death syndrome.

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