The biggest concern of any new parent is undoubtedly the quality and quantity of sleep their baby will get each night. As the saying goes, you snooze, you lose – and if your baby isn’t sleeping well, neither are you! The good news? There are plenty of ways to get your baby to sleep more soundly, so you can get more rest too.
1: Get an early start
It’s a good idea to start training your baby for good sleep habits as soon as you bring him home from the hospital. One of our favorite early techniques is called The Pacing Game, which was popularized by Dr. Harvey Karp in his book The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer.
2: Create a bedtime routine
One of the best ways to make sure you baby sleeps is to create a bedtime routine. Whether you like baby massage, feed your child, read a book or take it for a walk—creating an effective routine helps your child associate certain activities with going to bed. It takes about three weeks before a habit becomes routine. Stick with it and soon enough baby will be falling asleep by himself.
3: Prepare your baby’s environment
It’s a good idea to prepare your baby’s environment by making sure it is safe and comfortable. Babies should be put down at a designated time, not earlier or later. Babies who are accustomed to sleeping when their parents are asleep usually have an easier time learning how to self-soothe and go back to sleep without much coaxing in the middle of the night.
4: Take care of yourself
If you’re too tired to function, how can you expect to take care of a baby? It’s essential that mothers learn how not only to get baby to sleep, but also how important it is for them as parents. New mothers may be afraid of disturbing baby when it’s time for them to rest or nap, but babies need just as much attention and care (if not more) than they do while they are awake.
5: Feeding Schedule
Babies are creatures of habit, and putting them on a feeding schedule makes them feel more comfortable and secure. By establishing a regular routine, you can put babies down for naps and bedtime at consistent times every day. A baby’s feeding schedule should have three or four scheduled feedings, with three or four hours between each one.
6: Hold Baby During Feedings
When you’re breastfeeding, you can help your baby start (and stay) asleep by holding her close during feedings. When she’s latched on, gently rock back and forth in a rocking chair or while standing up. This will likely help both of you relax and drift off into dreamland faster.
7: Bedtime Destination
Put baby down for a nap in a quiet, comfortable room—not in your arms. Pick a room with few distractions and little traffic, like baby’s bedroom. The goal is for baby to fall asleep on his own, so he can learn that his bed is where he falls asleep peacefully.
8 Keep it dark and quiet
Light and noise are two of a baby’s biggest cues for signaling when it’s time to wake up. Getting them out of the bedroom can help make sure you both get some much-needed shut-eye.
9 Be consistent
Consistency is key when it comes to babies, so if you’re trying out a new method of getting your baby to sleep, be consistent with it. If it works on day one, follow through and stick with it. If it doesn’t work, don’t beat yourself up over it — just try something else and try again tomorrow. The important thing is not getting frustrated; babies are going to do what they want no matter what you do! Be patient and just keep at it.
10 Enjoy the night
Babies are just like us – they enjoy a good night’s rest. Your baby is likely to fall asleep if you put them down when they are relaxed and drowsy. Enjoy some relaxing time with your baby before putting them in their crib. A nice warm bath or massage can help you both relax before bedtime arrives. In addition, babies find it easier to fall asleep after eating a full meal, so try not to give them any liquids or food right before bedtime.