Establishing healthy sleep habits

The key to getting your baby on the right path to successfully sleeping through the night and getting adequate rest is establishing healthy sleep habits. We were not as adamant about establishing a sleep schedule with our second child as we should have and quickly realized that was a mistake. When you set up a sleep schedule it helps your child (both of them if you have more than one) to sleep better.

Don’t wait!

baby and mom sleepingDon’t wait until your baby is showing obvious signs that he’s tired because by then they are usually overtired and will try to fight it. Establishing healthy sleep habits works best when your baby isn’t fussy.You want to put your baby down when he is just becoming tired but still awake. Trust me on this, you do not want to get into a habit of letting them fall asleep in your arms or while rocking because they will not learn to fall asleep on their own. When they are older and have adapted to healthy sleep habits, it’s fine if they fall asleep in a random position (on occasion) rather than move them and chance waking them up.

Co-sleeping and room sharing is perfectly fine and often recommended for infants younger than one. After baby’s first birthday, however it is advised to begin letting your baby sleep in their own room. This is especially true with bed-sharing. The longer you allow your child to sleep with you, whether it’s in your bed or in your room, the harder it will be for them to adjust sleeping in their own room.

This may sound contradictory but if you put your baby down a little earlier, he/she will actually sleep longer. Set a time when you want to put your little one down, say 8-8:30, and stick with it. Establishing a bed time routine and remaining consistent with it is the key and the earlier you do this, the better it will be on both of you.

 

The four B’s

Many suggest a good night time routine is a bath, bottle, book, bed. This worked ok for my first child, but with my second bath time was play time for him and it just roused him up more. I would give him a bath earlier then when it was closer to bed time gave him a gentle massage to help him wind down. Another trick is after he’s had his bottle softly patting him on the butt seemed to comfort him.

There are many tips and tricks for helping your baby to fall asleep and your mother/mother-in-law will likely share some with you as well. You have to find what works and what your baby will like. What may be comforting to one child may be more stimulating for another. It may take some trial and error, but when you find what soothes your baby it will make bedtime much easier on both of you.

Comments

  1. When my daughter was about 4 or 5 months old she started sleeping longer stretches through the night, eliminating a feeding. But at the same time, she also stopped gaining adequate weight, to the point where my lactation consultant became concerned and suggested I wake her up before I went to bed to get in another feeding. It worked!

    But now, at 8 months old, I’m wondering if I should still be waking her up. Any opinions?

    • Hello! Thanks for taking the time to read this post and commenting with your question. This is a question I would suggest consulting with your daughter’s pediatrician. If she’s eating solid foods at this stage she should be getting enough during the day to no longer need that late night feeding. That is my personal opinion, however. I do not know the status of your child’s weight and health concerns and by no means am I health care professional. Definitely ask your doctor if it’s needed and what their concerns are with your child’s health.

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