Just like you, your baby needs good, healthy, and consistent sleep. In fact, they need it more than you do, as they learn and grow into tiny people. But it doesn’t have to be a struggle — you and your baby can sleep through the night.
And we’ll to tell you how.
Establish a Routine
At face value, this is obvious, right? But right off the bat, the bedtimes we establish for our children may be many hours ahead of when we might be used to sleeping as adults. And somewhere in the new ordeal of parenthood, it can be easy to let this routine slip. And once you’ve given up on the idea of a routine, there’s really not much hope that your little one is going to pick up the slack. Keep to the same bedtime, and keep your bedtime close to your child’s, even if that occasionally means getting up in the middle of the night.
Also, remember to keep the daytime active, and plan your child’s naps for when they’re needed, and for making sure that they’re tired when it’s time for everyone to go to bed. An active day schedule is not only more engaging for your child’s growth and development, but a pattern of activity during the day and exhaustion before bed will condition their little bodies for healthier habits, now and later in life, to the benefit of the whole family.
Help Them to Wind Down
Babies can be restless. They are constantly growing, and they’re full of energy. Suddenly going from a lively and social home to turning off all the lights and being quiet may only make your child think that playtime has taken a strange and exciting turn. Let your child know that it’s bedtime from some time before they actually sleep and allow them to wind down, just as you do. Transition to lower light levels and softer sounds. Play relaxing music rather than night time television. Lay your baby on their back and read them a story. Make this winding down process a part of the routine that your child can observe and associate with the idea of restful sleep.
Just as important as creating a good sleep and living environment for your child by buying a comfortable crib, a high-quality and breathable mattress, and soothing lighting, is ensuring that this environment is responsive to the patterns and habits you need to help your child create. Even as babies and even in this day and age, our bodies tend to expect the day / night cycle. Even simply dimming the lights in the last hour or two before bedtime can go a long way towards easing them into the idea of a healthy activity / sleep cycle.
Train Your Baby (and Yourself) for Restful Sleep
While the environmental factors we’ve touched on can go a long way towards helping, there are a few other tips regarding sleep behaviors that you should keep in mind. Just as you’re getting your child used to the idea of going to bed, you need to create the right associations between sleep and your crib and nursery space. The AAP recommends that the sleep space be separate from other activities, and even other objects. For infants, the baby and their bedding should be the only things in the crib space. Feeding should take place in another safe space, such as an adult bed that’s free from any unnecessary blankets or other objects. This is especially true when feeding in the middle of the night — feed them safely and outside of their sleeping space, and return them to bed immediately afterward.
You can find more thoughts about children, parents, and how we can all sleep easier from Newton Baby, creators of the Wovenaire crib mattress, in their blog.