One of the most difficult moments of being a new parent is learning how to teach your baby to fall asleep. Yes, you read that right. Babies, mostly, have difficult time soothing themselves, especially for the much needed night-long sleep.
Interestingly, it seems that most parents would rather talk about anything else, poopy diapers included, than discuss their bedtime routines for baby. No wonder – it’s one of the most stressful subjects in the early age of parenting.
Some may wonder why it is so important to introduce a sleep training technique – why not just let the baby fall asleep naturally, when she really needs to? The answer is simple. If you miss the window for putting baby down for a nap, you risk that they will get overtired, which leads to a hysterical behavior, fussiness and, simply, a lot of tears.
Plus, not sleeping regularly is not beneficial for neither the health of the baby, nor the health of its parents, as being sleep deprived can lead to a lot of complications, even depression.
Note that the will need different amounts of sleep as it grows, and the routine might and should shift to adjust its changing needs, but it is crucial to have one. Here are a few tips on how to help make bedtime a more enjoyable experience.
LISTEN TO YOUR BABY’S NEEDS
A newborn may sleep all the time, waking up just to eat. A few-month old, suffering from colic, may have trouble sleeping altogether, and may need to be physically close to their parents as it sleeps. A six-month old, however, may already sleep through the night, and have two to three naps during a day. Some may nap for hours, some just for thirty minutes. So the first thing a parent needs to do is to listen to their baby’s needs. Observe and watch for their signs of tiredness, like rubbing their eyes and yawning. Often, a few-month old baby will feel tired about two hours after waking up from a previous sleep. There is also such thing as a growth spurts, happening every few months, that can cause your baby to have more trouble sleeping.
If you’re reading this article, you are probably already a tired parent, looking for a solution. Instead of feeling low for not having enough sleep during the night or day, try to look forward to any sleep you can get. If the baby wakes up after an hour of sleep, be sure it will need to go back again to sleep pretty soon. Also, know that everything ends, and so will this period. Positivity will bring you calmness and calmness will bring you patience.
CREATE A ROUTINE
There are several methods you can try out, from the no-tears one (putting your baby to sleep and picking it up whenever it cries), to the infamous cry-it-out (putting your baby to sleep and not picking it up at all). Whichever you choose, be sure it works for you, and be sure to be consistent, as none of it will work otherwise. If you can’t stand your baby crying for half-an-hour, then don’t. Maybe you can figure something completely different that will help your baby fall asleep, like letting it hold your hand as it falls asleep. But what’s the most important is sticking to doing the same thing each and every night. Start the routine at the exact same hour, then give the baby a bath and feed them, before singing them a lullaby – for example.
When you plan to help your baby fall asleep, create the right atmosphere. Switch the TV off, close the shutters or dim the light, play soothing music if any at all, and talk in a softer voice. Help them relax, as you would, before going to bed.
Hopefully, these tips will help you look forward to the evening.
Author ~ Tamara