How do I get my baby to sleep at night?
Generally, each baby has its own sleeping pattern, where some sleep for long periods and others sleep in short bursts. In most instances, your baby’s sleeping schedule will not fit into your sleeping needs, especially at night. Here are some tips to help your little one sleep at night, so that you can get your much-needed rest as well.
1. Create a bedtime routine
To create a bedtime routine you need to understand your baby’s sleep needs. Babies have different sleep cycles, which change as they grow older. You can introduce a simple and calming bedtime routine when the baby is around 3 months old.
If your baby is overstimulated or active in the evening it will be difficult for the baby to fall asleep. Soothing and calming activities such as bathing before bedtime, cuddling, singing, playing quiet music, or reading in a softly lit room, will prepare the baby for sleep. This routine should be maintained every day and should be done before the baby is overtired. The routine should be completed peacefully.
During the first six months, your baby should sleep in the same room as you, in a cot or bassinet. This will reduce the risk of SIDS.
2. Teach your baby that night-time is different from daytime
During the day, engage the baby in active games and play. Have the room well-lit and even while the baby is sleeping, maintain everyday noises, you don’t need to be too quiet. By doing so the baby will become accustomed to the sounds that prevail during the day.
At night, keep the lights low and avoid any active games. Maintain a quiet and peaceful atmosphere. Prepare the baby for bed as soon as he or she has been fed and changed. In this way, the baby will learn that nighttime is for sleeping.
3. Put your baby to bed when drowsy
Soothe your baby until they are drowsy, and you can start this from as early as 6-12 weeks. As they are about to fall asleep, lay them down and allow them to drift off to sleep on their own. Always place your baby to sleep on his or her back, and make sure that all toys and blankets have been removed from the crib or bassinet.
4. Allow your baby to cry and settle
Usually, your baby will cry as you keep him or her to sleep, before finding a comfortable position to naturally fall asleep. However, when the baby cries, wait for a few minutes before checking on them. If the crying doesn't stop, then check on the baby and comfort him/her. But don’t stay for long or carry the baby because then it will become a habit. Your reassuring presence will calm your baby to fall asleep. Furthermore, a pacifier might also help the baby to settle down.
5. Maintain the natural sleeping patterns of your baby
It is always best to respect your baby’s natural sleeping patterns and adjust schedules accordingly while helping them to recognize day and night. Keep in mind that babies change their sleeping patterns so you need to be flexible too.
Whether your baby sleeps at night or not, does not reflect on your parenting skills. It is a matter of recognizing their sleeping patterns and adjusting schedules and activities accordingly while introducing your baby to a sleeping routine. Parents tend to immediately go to their babies and pick them up as soon as they cry, but you need to also allow them to grow and learn by themselves.
If your baby constantly has difficulty sleeping do speak to your doctor.