After you have a baby, sleep is a luxury. Believe me! I dream of sleeping uninterrupted for an hour more than going on vacations. It has been a long struggle to set a sleep routine for my baby but there are certain tips and tricks we tried that helped us get through untimely sleep schedules. Mentioning them below:
1. Every baby is different. Don’t stress over a baby being awake all the time. With days passing by, the activity level of baby increases, making them tired. Baby sleeps once he gets tired. Don’t hurry to sleep train baby. Start gradually and let it happen on its own pace.
2. If you rock baby to sleep, try reducing the time interval of rocking the baby or holding him in lap every few days. This way baby will learn to sleep in his bed and self soothe to sleep.
3. Make sure you adjust your house’ and room’s environment in such a way that baby is able to differentiate between day and night. Keep the drapes open during day time so that sunlight and natural light is present. Allow naps of 60-90 minutes only and not a long stretch. Don’t bother to lower down the sounds and if he wakes up in between nap, don’t force him to go back to sleep.
4. During night keep the drapes closed. The room should be dark (minimum light) and stop the external sounds like television, radio, phones, etc. this way baby will be able to differentiate between day and night.
5. There will be times when the baby wakes up in the middle of the night and will want to play. Don’t play or laugh with him. Tell him that it’s night and everyone is sleeping and he also needs to go back to sleep. At the seventh month, my baby used to wake up in between night and point towards door conveying that he wants to go out. We used to take him out in the hall and show him that there is no one awake to play with him and it is dark everywhere in the house and he needs to sleep back. It took him 2 weeks to understand that and finally, he stopped waking up and playing between sleep times.
6. Initially baby will wake up hungry and you have to feed him like every 2-3 hours. But after the baby has doubled his weight the interval increase to 4 to 6 hours and gradually he can sleep the whole night without waking up. But again, every baby is different and you need to be calm and patient. My baby is one year old and still wakes up 2-3 times in the middle of the night, breastfeeds for 10-15 minutes and falls asleep. Sometimes a few sips of water help. So you need to observe your baby and understand his pattern.
7. There are a lot of newborn baby products available in the market that will help you out. One of them is a baby sleeping mat. It not only reduces crying and boosts sleep ensures that the baby sleeps in the correct posture.
8. Know there will be regressions. Teething, illness, vacation and routine shifts all can lead to poor sleep, and that’s all right. These things affect the schedule for a week or less and when the phase is over, the baby takes another week to return to his sleep schedule. So don’t worry.
The night routine I follow:
1. I start half an hour after dinner.
2. As my baby is learning to walk these days, I make sure to massage his legs and feet properly.
3. A warm bath with little conversation or some light music.
4. I have had his night suits and jammies since day one. So I always change him in night suits. This way he knows that it’s time to sleep now.
5. Read him a story or sing a lullaby for him.
6. I use the NapNap Mat which provides soothing vibrations that help him sleep. In fact, since those vibrations resemble those of a mother's womb, it gives me some time to do other work. Yes, he sleeps peacefully even when not holding him. Since it has cotton covers that are washable, I don't even have to bother about the hygiene factor. The best part is that it is a portable sleeping mat, so I can take it along even when traveling.
7. Breastfeed till he sleeps as he is still dependent on feeding for sleep. Slowly we are helping him to shift this habit to self soothe him to sleep. For this, we make sure that his dad reads him the story and is beside him when he is sleepy. This way if he doesn’t see me near him, he doesn’t demand to breastfeed.
While you use the above tips, check out some fun facts about baby sleep patterns.
- Just because a baby shuts her/his eyes, it doesn't mean s/he is fast asleep.
- Sleep is directly linked to a baby’s growth and development.
- Depriving a baby of sleep during the day won't ensure that s/he will sleep a night.
- Babies are a light sleeper and that is why they wake up so often.
To buy NapNap Mat click here
Also read - Easy Ways To Make A Toddler Sleep