If you watch almost any TV show or movie, parents of young babies are often depicted as bleary-eyed zombies. They’re just ambling from room to room, fuelled on coffee, and not much else. If this describes you at the minute, then read on for our tips on how to get your baby, and yourself into bed and ready to sleep!
You’ve probably heard this one a million times, even before the baby was born, but a schedule can really help. Obviously things happen and schedules can be forced to adjust. But sticking as close to bedtime and naptime as possible can help keep your baby in a good routine, helping to make getting them off to sleep a little more of a possibility.
If your baby is sharing your bedroom, you should try to set the room up to be a space ready for the best sleep possible. This might mean that you’ll be doing all of your own pre-bed rituals outside of the bedroom and trying to stealth your way into bed. But it’s worth putting up with as it can be helpful in establishing good sleep habits for your baby.
Try to avoid using bright lights, or overheads at night. They’re more likely to wake your baby up, so switch bright bulbs for softer, dimmer lighting. You could also try changing your baby before you put him or her down for the night. Middle of the night changes could wake your baby, but they will be necessary. With practice, you’ll learn how to change your little one without disturbing them too much.
Getting a good bedtime routine in place when your baby is young is a great idea. They’ll learn to anticipate bedtime because of the routine as they grow into toddlers. You will need to develop a routine that suits you, your baby, and your household, but it may look something like this:
- Bedtime feed – a feed at bedtime can help fill your baby and make them feel drowsy.
- Reading a story – it doesn’t really matter what you read to your baby, it’s more about the tone of voice you use. You could pick a child’s story, or just read a magazine or book you’ve been wanting to read yourself. As long as you read out loud in a calm, soothing voice.
- Baby massage – Infant massage may be able to produce melatonin in your baby’s system. This is the hormone needed for sleep.
- Noise – Babies can find it difficult to sleep in a completely silent environment. The uterus is actually very loud, so some babies will sleep much better if there’s music, or white noise in the room.
Many parents can get their baby to sleep in their arms, but the little one wakes up when they try to move them. There are techniques that you can learn that can help you move your baby without waking him or her up. You can check if your baby is asleep by watching their eyes. Rapid eye movement can indicate that your baby is in a deep sleep. Another test is to check how relaxed their muscles are. If you lift and drop your baby’s arm, and your baby doesn’t move, then they’re in a deep sleep.
Next you can move but try to keep your baby in the same position as they were. Try to move in fluid motions, while keeping your baby still. As you’re laying them down, lay them down body first, while keeping support on their head and back. You can keep your other hand on their stomach, and if they do stir, you can gently pat their tummy to help them settle.