Simple hacks to help your baby fall asleep at night
Having a baby is rewarding and yet trying time for a parent. Though everything around seems like a miracle when you little one is in your arms, but parenting certainly is way beyond just the goodies. Specially when it comes to putting down your newborn to sleep, the life changing decisions are to be made. Especially in initial few weeks post delivery. So we have some magical baby sleep hacks to help you come out of your blues
Babies are never timed to sleep or feed or for that matter diapering too. Most often we find a diaper explosion on our utter best outfits, a sleepless rather totally active baby when we are drenched in deep sleep. So the milestone of sleep through the night is rated as the most challenging and the most satisfying for a parent. Babies can’t sleep on time every day, but for most of the days we can ensure rather working baby sleep hacks to take ahead.
Let us first understand the schedule for a newborn, which we must try to stick with. All babies have different needs for sleep and feed, but average newborns adhere to the basic minimum hours of sleep in a day. A popular baby schedule for a day is:
1- 18-20 hours of sleep, yes you heard that. But what about those 6 hours or 4 hours which the baby did not sleep. Well! those are the ugly challenges we face, thats the time when we want them to sleep the most. These would normally be the peak hours past midnight when most babies do not sleep
2- Feedings of 2-4oz of formula or breast milk every 2.5 to 3 hours. And some kids drink more while others less than this but most kids at this age need every few hours as they have small tummy and get hungry easily and filled up easily too
3- Around 10-14 soiled diapers and 8-10 filled up diapers. On an average, a newborn must get around 10-15 diaper changes for first few weeks, which reduces post a month time
4- They need some stimulation and workout too. A healthy massage and bath time fun is great for sensory and language development of a child.
Some baby sleep hacks; much needed for mom and the baby:
Putting down a baby to sleep and more important part here is at least 4-5 hours or continuous sleep at night is what most parents look for. Specially the mother as she just delivered the baby, and there is a whole lot of change going within and around her. She must get her peaceful sleep for the night. Some baby sleep hacks are:
1- Establish a routine:
A routine from day one will help you to streamline the baby’s expectations and also the family’s schedule too. Babies understand time table too well, and even at age one month they can show excitement when clothes taken out for bath or massage, they smile when their favorite rhyme or toy comes up and more.
Make a never fail routine, which is realistic and fits in the schedule of the family. Stick with the schedule for weeks after weeks, babies take time to adjust. Have a time set for morning activities, bath time, tummy time, feeding, play, nap time and more. Try and comply to it as a time table is set up
2- Feed the baby properly:
Be sure to feed the baby a little extra around one hour before bedtime. If you are giving breast milk then try and pump to see if adequate supply is there during evenings, as most kids keep latching on for good minutes but because the supply reduces at night, they stay hungry. If your are supplementing then try to give formula feeding an hour before bedtime.
Give an ounce or so just prior to bedtime as a touch-up. Do not feed too much just before bed. No one cal sleep well with a full tummy. The baby must get ample time to digest the dinner before she gets ready for bed
3- Power nap just before bed time:
Though old schools would diss this theory, but i have followed it to believe even after years this works great for my little one. Try to give the child a power nap of 15-25 minutes 2 hours before bedtime. Make sure the baby does not oversleep. Just a few minutes to help the baby get some rest.
Even as adults we cant sleep when we are over exerted. So the power nap helps in relaxing the mind and body and prepares it for the night ahead. Keep the power nap routine at the same time everyday.
4- Bedtime ritual:
Bedtime ritual is extremely important. Remember the classical conditioning theory by Pavlov, yes the babies also get conditioned when they see the cues around. They learn bit by bit and relate every thing around. So if you have a bedtime ritual like massage, bath, touch up feed, reading stories, lullaby and kissing good night on baby’s forehead. Then stick with it. Within a few days of following it, the baby will start learning about the sleep routine at just massage itself.
5- Remove the element of surprises:
Avoid all the surprises from around the baby. Babies dislike changes as they get anxious when they see different things around. Keep the things around constant, and put them to bed in their own crib or cradle. Do not make them sleep at once place and then shift when they are asleep only to find themselves waking up at a different place.
6- Avoid lights in the bedtime zone:
Mark a bedtime zone, the room where baby has to sleep for the night must be away from glazing lights and brightness. Maintain adequate and comforting light for the baby to fast sleep.
7- Avoid too many sounds:
Do not make the baby sleep in places where there is a lot of noise, don’t talk and do not keep the TV on. A lullaby can be great but that too very soft and low in volume. Also if the baby wakes up within a few minutes do not talk, or switch on the lights as they may get active.
8- White noise:
As much as i vouch for this, i can say even now at age 5 my little one can sleep for hours under a slight white noise like a fan or a dryer. We have used washing machine, dryer and dishwasher sounds so generously during her early years, that she could sleep through the night as early as one month.
Swaddling is a very comforting and soothing way of putting a baby to sleep. The baby gets warmth and comfort of mothers womb and it also makes them feel safe. They can get afraid even at their own sudden movements. Swaddling requires learning as if its too tight it can get harsh to kids sensitive skin. Learn the basics of swaddling from your nurse practitioner or pediatrician.
10- Soothing massage:
A soothing and calming massage half an hour prior to sleeping helps in preparing the baby for longer hours of sleep. This is a great physical activity too. And helps in blood circulation and movement for the kids
11- Do not over stimulate the baby after evening:
If the baby gets over stimulated this will delay the sleep routine, and also cause sleepless nights too. Keep the baby adequately stimulated and also charged up for the day. Let the activities slow down to more of talking and reading stories for the evenings and pre bed time
12- Dream feed:
Most babies sleep easily but do not stay sleeping for longer, this can be because of improper feedings. Try for dream feed around 2-3 hours after they sleep. Burping is an issue but try to keep the head raised high so that the baby does not puke out.
13- Baby wearing:
Just put on a sling or baby carrier and keep walking with the baby if they get cranky at night. Just hold them and walk around without any noise or light. They may get back to sleep quickly.
14- Stay positive and do not get impulsive if the baby still does not sleep:
It is very important to stay positive and help the baby also stay happy. As the more stressed we are the worse it gets for the baby too.
Simple hacks to help your baby fall asleep at night is to help all the new parents to get over their postpartum blues and follow the above hacks for baby sleep. Better parenting skills help in healthier mom baby relationship. There are ample reasons why baby gets up too quickly, or does not sleep or stays awake all night. Try to figure out causes as these must be paid attention. Some reasons why baby sleep hacks don’t work are:
- Baby is teething and getting itchy and painful sensations on their gums
- Baby has colic and is uneasy
- Baby has gastroentro refluxes
- Baby has been over fed
- Baby is too tired and thus cant sleep
- Too much stimulated baby will not sleep at all for the night
- Baby is unwell and needs to be diagnosed
The above compilation on Simple hacks to help your baby fall asleep at night is to help all the new parents to get over their postpartum blues and follow the above hacks for baby sleep. For any recurring issue, check with your pediatrician. There may be some health related issue which the baby cant sleep wth. Stay positive as its natural for the baby to be awake all night and be cranky. Eventually they will grow out of it, we just need to be patient
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