How to Help Your Baby Sleep Better
As a new parent, one of the biggest challenges can be your newborn not sleeping through the night. With interrupted sleep patterns and the need to tend to your baby's every whimper, it’s easy to quickly become exhausted and stressed out.
But, with a few simple tips and tricks, it is possible to help your newborn get good sleep. Although your baby may have their own sleep schedule, you can establish a healthy sleep routine that will benefit both you and your little one.
Keep in mind that every baby is different and what works for one baby may not work for another. It’s important to be patient and persistent when trying different methods until you find what works best for your baby.
Establish a Bedtime Routine
One of the best things you can do for your newborn is to establish a consistent newborn bedtime routine. A consistent bedtime routine can help signal to your baby that it's time to wind down and prepare for sleep.
Your routine might include activities such as a warm bath, a bedtime story, singing a lullaby, or cuddling. It's important to choose activities that you and your baby enjoy. By consistently repeating the same activities in the same order, your baby will come to associate these cues with sleep and feel more secure and settled.
A newborn bedtime routine can also help to establish a predictable schedule, which can be key to promoting healthy sleep habits. As a newborn not sleeping, a regular bedtime can help your baby get good sleep, the right amount of sleep, and reduce the risk of overtiredness or sleep deprivation.
Create a Peaceful Sleep Environment
A peaceful sleep environment can make a big difference in helping your baby feel relaxed and promote better sleep quality. This means keeping the room quiet, cool, and dark. You can use blackout curtains or shades to block out any light from outside, and a white noise machine or fan can help to create a soothing background noise that can drown out any outside distractions.
Additionally, keeping the room at a comfortable temperature, not too hot or too cold, can help your baby feel more comfortable and get good sleep. A peaceful sleep environment can be an important factor in helping your baby sleep better.
Follow Your Baby's Sleep Cues
Following your baby's sleep cues can be a helpful way to establish a healthy sleep routine. Babies have their own unique sleep patterns, and paying attention to their cues can help you determine when they are ready for sleep. It can also help you determine when their bedtime should start. Common sleep cues include yawning, rubbing their eyes or ears, and becoming fussy or cranky.
By recognizing these cues, you can help your sleepy newborn get to sleep before they become overtired, which can actually result in your newborn not sleeping. Following your baby's natural sleep rhythms can also help to establish a consistent sleep routine, which can be key to promoting healthy sleep habits.
Swaddle Your Baby
Swaddling can help your baby sleep better by wrapping your baby snugly in a blanket, which can help to create a feeling of security and comfort. This can be especially helpful for a newborn not sleeping, who may startle themself awake with their uncontrolled movements.
Swaddling can also help to soothe a fussy baby and promote longer periods of sleep. Just make sure to follow safe swaddling practices, such as leaving the hips and legs free to move, to prevent any potential hip problems.
Use a Pacifier
A pacifier can also be a helpful tool in helping your baby to get good sleep. It can provide a soothing sensation and help your baby to feel comforted and relaxed. Using a pacifier during sleep has also been linked to a reduced risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Keep in mind a pacifier should not be used as a substitute for feeding. Make sure to follow safe sleep practices, such as offering the pacifier at bedtime but not reinserting it if it falls out during sleep.
Keep Daytime Naps Consistent
Babies thrive on routine, and having a regular nap schedule can help an infant not sleeping regulate their sleep patterns. Try to establish a consistent time for your baby's naps, such as mid-morning and mid-afternoon, and stick to it as much as possible. It can also be helpful to create a sleep-conducive environment for naps, such as a quiet and dark room.
Consistent napping can help prevent overtiredness and promote better sleep quality at night. But, remember that babies' sleep needs can vary so if your sleepy newborn gets tired outside of their normal nap schedule, it may be time to adjust their nap schedule.
Consider Sleep Training
If your infant is not sleeping through the night, sleep training can be an effective way to help them establish healthy sleep habits. There are a variety of sleep training methods available, from the Ferber method to the gentle sleep coaching approach. Before deep diving into one, make sure to do your research and find a method that feels comfortable for you and your baby.
The goal of sleep training is to help your baby learn how to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own, without relying on external stimuli such as rocking or feeding. While sleep training can be a difficult process and may involve some tears, it can ultimately lead to better sleep for both you and your baby.
Keep Your Baby in Your Room
Finally, studies have shown having your baby sleep in your room can be an effective way to help your baby sleep better. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep in the same room as their parents for at least the first six months, and ideally for the first year.
This can help to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and allow you to respond quickly to your baby's needs. Additionally, as a new parent, having your baby close by can provide comfort and reassurance, helping you and your baby to feel more secure and get good sleep.
The Bottom Line: Be Patient
As a new parent, getting your baby to sleep can be one of the biggest challenges you face. By incorporating some of these tips and techniques, you can help your baby sleep better and establish healthy sleep habits for the future.
From following your baby's sleep cues to establishing a consistent newborn bedtime routine, there are many strategies you can use to create a peaceful sleep environment and promote better sleep quality. Swaddling, using a pacifier, and keeping daytime naps consistent are all effective ways to help your baby sleep better.
Remember that every baby is unique, and it may take some trial and error to find what works best for your little one. With patience, persistence, and a little bit of creativity, you can help your baby get the restful sleep they need to grow and thrive.