Five Ways to Give Your Baby a Good Night’s Sleep
A mother’s quality of sleep is only as good as her baby’s. Since your little one is still getting used to literally everything, whole nights of sleep are a rarity. You’ll want to take necessary actions to put your baby and yourself in the best position for a full night’s sleep to enjoy each other’s company during daytime.
Here are five ways to give your baby a good night’s sleep:
- Pass on the Pacifier
Pacifiers often fall out of infants’ mouths in the middle of the night. This slight change is enough to wake them up and cause them to cry. Around their 8th month, most babies will have developed the fine motor skills required to place the pacifier back into their mouths. Until then, however, you’ll be dealing with a cranky baby.
“Your choice is either to get rid of the pacifier altogether, or to let your baby cry it out in the middle of the night,” warns founder of NYC Sleep Doctor Janet K. Kennedy, PhD. Foregoing the pacifier may cause a rough couple of days, but eventually your baby will not need it to sleep through the night.
- Say Yes to An Electric Fan
The slightest noise can disrupt a baby’s sleep. To avoid this, consider utilizing a white noise machine such as an electric fan. With the constant humming of a fan, majority of other noises are masked. When integrated as part of the bedtime routine, babies associate that constant hum with sleep and eventually sleep better and longer.
- No to Nighttime Feeding
Many mothers feed their infants at odd hours of the night to soothe them back to sleep. While this can work, it does take its toll on these already exhausted mothers. Take a load off, close shop, and get some rest! Consult your pediatrician when you can completely cut off your baby from night feeding. According to Kim West, clinical social worker and author of 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies, 90% of 6-month-olds can sleep through the night without feeding.
To do so, put your baby to bed while they’re still awake but clearly sleepy. Leave them be without feeding them and check in on them every few minutes until they’re asleep. If you don’t want to suddenly stop nighttime feeding, you can gradually decrease their nighttime food intake. Eventually your baby will realize that the milk bank closes at night and will sleep through it.
- Set a Bedtime Routine
This is no hack or trick: a bedtime routine is important to set your baby up for a good night’s sleep. “Creating a bedtime routine for a child is a simple step that every family can do,” says Jodi Mindell, PhD, Professor of Psychology at Saint Joseph’s University and Associate Director of the Sleep Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “It can pay off to not only make bedtime easier, but also that a child is likely to sleep better throughout the entire night.”
To set a routine, consider the following:
- Set active games for daytime and quieter games for nighttime. This way, your baby won’t be as hyper before bedtime and will be tired from the day’s earlier games.
- Give your baby a bath right before bedtime to put them in a calmer state.
- Your baby’s favorite activity should be saved for last and performed in the bedroom. It’s simple association: your baby will associate their favorite activity with their bedroom, which makes them look forward to bedtime. (link to 7 Tips to Make Baby’s Bedtime Easier article)
As much as possible keep the conditions of their sleep space consistent (lights, sounds, temperature, etc.). This will comfort them should they wake up abruptly.
- Develop Their Skills during Daytime
Babies spend all their energy trying to master newly acquired skills, like rolling or crawling. A baby can find themselves stuck in a new position and may be unable to get back to their original position, though they’ll try as much as they can. They can get so excited that they have a hard time getting back to sleep.
To help tone down your baby’s persistent late night work ethic, devote time during the day for them to practice their new skill. Avoid the stroller if you can and allow your baby to move around. Let them exert energy and tire themselves out during the day for a deeper nighttime sleep.
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