Alright mamas, I have had one incredibly tough baby. I have had one incredibly easy baby. I have had 5 foster babies. All with different sleep needs. I kinda have some experience with this. These are my methods that work like a charm every time. I want to thank God for giving me the most difficult baby first, so every other baby I encounter I feel like the baby whisperer!
- Routine – Keep your bedtime and nap time routine consistent. Do the same thing every time. Your baby will know what to expect and it will help them to wind down and prepare for sleep. Bath, massage, read book, sing song, turn on white noise, swaddle, nurse/bottle/soother, rock, place in crib drowsy. This is my basic routine. I will change it up slightly depending on the baby I am caring for but I do this every night, and every nap time. Also if I am struggling with sleep I make sure I am consistenly home for nap time, I only change when the baby starts falling alleep easily, and then I feel like I push a stroller, or car ride nap.
- Happiest Baby on the Block – Read this book. I promise it will help. Knowing approximate awake times for each age is mega helpful!
- Swaddle – I know the swaddling recommendation comes and goes and is super popular in some circles and completely frowned upon in others. Here is my 2 cents. Babies are squished inside your womb for 9 months. Babies have startle reflex. Babies like to be warm and cozy. Swaddling mimics a warm, cozy squished womb, and doesn’t allow the startle relax to startle them! Swaddle your baby if she/he is having trouble sleeping.
- Shush – Did you know that what your baby hears inside of you is the equivalent of having a vacuum cleaner beside your ear? Loud, sudden, abrupt noise can startle sensitive babies. Constant noise like what they have heard for the past 9 months will help them to sleep. Get a white noise machine, personally we use a fan. My kids are 2, 3, 3 and 5 and they still sleep with fans….so do I.
- Suck – Sucking is a calming technique for babies. Breast feed, use a soother, let them find their fingers. I will let you be the judge of which option to use but let your baby suck.
- Sway – Again back to the womb. You didn’t sit still for 9 months, your baby is used to your movements. All of a sudden you stick them in a crib and they are still. They don’t get it and they don’t like it. That will come in time, but right now being still is not what will clam them. Use a swing, rock and play, your arms etc. Try and put them down in a crib/bassinet super drowsy but not asleep. Sway tip you get to that point.
- Pat their bum – May seem a little silly, but it mimics a heartbeat and for whatever reason it really works!
- Black Out Curtains – Guess what? A light doesn’t peak through your belly button. It is pitch dark in there. Mimic that.
- Sleep breeds more Sleep – Please do not keep your baby up all day in hopes that they will sleep at night. It simply does not work. All that does is makes your baby over tired and cranky and disturbs their natural sleep cycles. If they are overtired it is very hard for them to get into the deep sleep phase. It may seem like an odd piece of advice but it is true, the more well rested a baby is the easier it is to get them to sleep.
Try out these tips and see what works for you and your baby. Try one at a time, I assure you one of, or a combination of these tips will be sure to have your baby sleeping like a baby in no time!