If you haven’t had a good night’s sleep since your baby was born, you’re not alone! Getting your baby to sleep through the night is a common challenge among parents. As a newborn, babies need to wake every few hours to feed since their tiny tummies aren’t big enough to keep them full throughout the night. However, as your baby grows they need those nighttime feedings less.
Our 5 tips will help your little one start sleeping for those longer stretches.
1. Develop a consistent routine.
Make sure your baby is getting the right amount of daytime sleep to prepare them to get the right amount of nighttime sleep. As newborns, babies can’t differentiate between day and night, they just sleep ‘round the clock. As they get older, they start sleeping longer periods, the longest stretches being at night. If they are sleeping too much during the day they won’t stay asleep as long at night.
2. Keep a calming ambience.
Ambience can be everything! Keep the room at a comfortable temperature, make sure it stays dark and even try adding some white noise in there! The softest of sounds can disturb your baby at night, the white noise will provide a consistent, soothing sound for them to fall asleep to, and it will drown out any other noises happening around the house. The softest of sounds can disturb your baby at night
What are white noises?
This is a sound produced by combining different frequencies with equal intensities together. They may sound like a fan, a washing machine or even the sound of rain among others. Why do babies love white noise? Well, they have spent 9 months in their mother’s womb, a place not known to be quiet.
3. Avoid Eye Contact
It might sound a little strange, but it’s true. Prolonged or animated eye contact is actually very stimulating for babies, so it makes sense that you’d want to avoid this before bedtime and during night feedings and changes. When you go to feed your baby in the middle of the night, it’s important to keep them as calm as possible.
Although you might be doing all the right things when it comes to the ambience (keeping the room dark, white noises, etc.) you also have to take into consideration your own actions and presence. Just a short gaze or excitement in your voice can be a signal to your baby that it’s playtime. Be sure that you’re staying calm and low-key when you check on them at night.
4. Stick to an appropriate bedtime.
Putting your baby to sleep later in the hopes that they’ll sleep later in the morning most likely won’t work. If you’re following a schedule, it’s important to keep an appropriate bedtime for your little ones to keep them on track.
Remember, newborns don’t have a set bedtime, because they’re just sleeping whenever they need to. But around 3 months old, you can start to establish a healthy bedtime to accompany your sleep schedule.
5. Do What Works
Help can come in many forms. Perhaps it’s your partner taking some night shifts, a family member or friend coming over during the day so you can get some long hours of uninterrupted sleep, or it could be using a sleep aid- like a white noise machine, swing, pacifier, etc.
Moms might be wary to try any of these with fears of developing sleep associations or becoming dependent upon those aids. But let’s get real: sleep (for you and your newborn!) is a priority. If you can avoid using a sleep aid with your baby, that’s great! But these products exist for a reason, so don’t beat yourself up for using them. If it works, let it.