Soon-to-be parents worry once their new baby arrives they will never sleep again. There are different recommendations on how to help your newborn sleep, leaving you with too many options.
Luckily for you, things don’t have to be so complicated, and you can help your baby sleep more soundly by following a few simple steps each night.
A restful sleep is essential for your baby’s health and well-being. Their body is growing and needs proper rest to build new tissues and recover from daily stress. To make your child grows healthy and happy, check out these tips on how to put a baby to sleep.
1. Set the Mood for Sleep
There are numerous ways for babies to feel stimulated and entertained. Even something as simple as gazing into their eyes can stimulate their little bodies with excitement. As you prepare them for bedtime, it will be important to minimize these scenarios.
For the last hour before putting them to bed, remove stimulating activities such as playtime and music to allow them to feel the change of setting. Quiet the house by turning off the television and speaking in soft, hushed voices.
While it should be quiet, your baby was used to hearing lots of noise while in the womb such as your heartbeat and stomach. For this reason, they may be uncomfortable with complete silence. Instead of music, turn on a white noise machine or oscillating fan to prevent over-stimulation.
When learning how to put a baby to sleep, setting the mood will be one of the quickest ways to help them feel drowsy and move closer to shutting their eyes.
2. Establish a Routine
A newborn baby can begin to feel the effects of a nightly routine as early as four months old. Many adults can take that much time to get themselves into the habit of a routine, so the earlier you can start, the better. It will be beneficial for both you and your baby to know the process involved before sleep each night.
Start them off with a lukewarm bath to calm their senses and relax their body. Use a warm washcloth to massage their bellies, arms, and legs. Avoid playing with toys or getting them overly excited during this time to maintain the calming mood.
Once out of the bath, get them dried off and apply a light baby lotion with a relaxing scent, such as lavender. Be sure to rub the lotion on your hands before applying to ensure it isn’t a cold shock when it is put on your baby’s skin.
Singing a song or humming to them can also be a good way to help them calm down. They are used to their parents’ voices from the time they heard them in the womb and can often be comforted by your words.
3. Get Them Fed
While it can be good to feed your baby prior to sleep, you want to be sure not to overfeed them with the hope of them sleeping longer. This overfeeding mindset may actually have the reverse effect. Feed them the normal amount you would in a normal sitting.
If you would like, once they are asleep, you can also try something called dream feeding. This is the process of gently feeding them a while after they have already fallen asleep to fill their belly just enough to give you some extra sleep for yourself.
As with feeding beforehand, be sure not to overdo it as this can cause tummy troubles for your little one and cause them to wake up sooner instead.
4. Clean Diaper
This may be an obvious one, but sleeping in a wet diaper can be bothersome and uncomfortable for a newborn. Always be certain to put them down with a clean, super-absorbent diaper at bedtime. Add a bit of diaper cream to protect their skin and keep them comfortable.
If you check on them in the middle of the night and they have had a bowel movement, this should be changed immediately to prevent diaper rash and overall discomfort. When done gently, you can often get through this without waking your sleeping baby and keep them down a little longer.
5. Put Them Down When Drowsy
A common thought is that a baby needs to be asleep before putting them in their crib for the night. When they wake up, they will notice that their surroundings are different than when they fell asleep, leading them to feel confused and upset.
It is often better to put them down after the mood is set and they are feeling drowsy. This will help them to self-soothe and also sleep for longer periods of time.
If your baby struggles with self-soothing, try rubbing their belly after putting them in bed and either speak, sing, or hum softly to them as they calm down. Remember to avoid eye contact as this can be stimulating for them. Over time, this will help them learn to relax and soothe on their own.
6. Tucked in and Lights Out
It is never a good idea to leave toys, blankets, or other loose articles in your newborn’s bed. These become potential choking or suffocation hazards and should be left out altogether.
You can, however, swaddle them. The skill of making a “baby burrito” will be a key factor when learning how to put a baby to sleep. Over the course of up to nine months, your baby has been confined to the small space of your womb and are used to that feeling.
As an added measure to help them understand when it’s bedtime, turn off the lights in their room. Avoid using nightlights and keep the room dark with shades or curtains. To help them learn the difference, you can open the curtains and allow natural light in when it is time to wake up.
Learn How to Put a Baby to Sleep and More Ways to Keep Them Happy
For more great tips on how to care for your baby, be sure to check out our blog. There you will find helpful info such as how to put a baby to sleep, baby product reviews, and also tips on baby formula.