I feel like the most common topic amongst families with newborns is how well your baby is sleeping, and in turn how well you are sleeping. There are lots of articles and books on how to get your baby to go to sleep (and stay asleep!), but I think you can never have too many tips on baby sleep because every baby is different and you never know what might work for them. Also, babies are always changing and developing so the same method might not work every time.
Here are my tips to getting baby to sleep:
- Establish a nighttime routine. The most important thing for me when Lilly was first born was for her to sleep at night. When she was 5 weeks old we started a nighttime routine that lasted about an hour. I would change her diaper and put her in a nightgown, and then give her 30 minutes to nurse while I sung to her with the lights off. Then I would burp her and rock her for a few minutes, and take her into the bedroom. I would then sway and turn her vibrator and white noise on, and then slowly lay her in her bed and tuck her in. Once we started doing this routine she began sleeping for 6-7 hours at a time during the night. When I first started the routine she had to be asleep before I laid her down, but now at 9 weeks old she can be moderately awake when I lay her down and we’ve condensed the routine to 40 minutes.
- Stay calm. When your baby is fussy and refuses to go to sleep (even though you know they’re extremely tired!) it can become very frustrating. However, your baby will sense your frustration and that will cause their distress to escalate. Sometimes I have had to remain calm and soothing while my baby is screams her head off for almost twenty minutes before finally she calms down and then eventually falls asleep. Getting angry at your baby does not do either of you any good.
- Be firm. Though you must remain calm, you also can’t let your baby rule her own sleep schedule. Some babies are great and fall asleep when they are tired, but if you have one like mine they will try to stay up 24/7. You have to determine when they are sleepy and put them to bed, whether they want to or not. You are the parent, you are the boss – and sometimes your baby will not know what is best for them.
- Be patient and persistent. Getting your baby to be well-rested and sleep at the appropriate times is a long journey. It will most likely not happen overnight, so rejoice in the small hurdles that you overcome as the weeks pass by. Be patient with yourself and your baby – it is hard on both of you.
Those are my tips for baby sleep! As I said before, you can’t have too many baby sleep tips, so if you have any good advice you would like to share, post it in the comments!