Tip #1: The Signs
Your baby spends a lot of time trying to communicate with you. Just as babies have feeding cues so you know when they’re hungry, they communicate tiredness through various behaviours. Losing interest in the things around your baby, going quiet and starting to fuss are all signs that your baby might be feeling sleepy. Try putting your baby to bed when you notice these tiredness cues. If you miss the cues, your baby will become over tired and grumpy and be much harder to settle.
Tip #2: A Routine
It helps babies and young children understand what is coming next. A routine can help to calm your baby down and prepare your baby for sleeping. Some parents enjoy a nightly shower with their baby, so this could be a good alternative. Dimming the lights, playing some calming music, and even a relaxing baby massage are great ways to relax your baby before bed. Researchers at Miami University found that babies and toddlers who were massaged for 15 minutes before bed each night, fell asleep more easily within just one month.
Tip #3: Music
Playing calming music can help your baby to settle at the end of the day. When in the womb, babies are surrounded by bodily noises such as your heartbeat. Once in the outside world, babies can be soothed by noises that remind them of this time. White noise or the rhythmic beat of a heart can help to soothe your baby. There are plenty of specialist recordings that incorporate both of these elements so that you can use music to relax your baby.
Tip #4: Motion
You may have noticed that motion still lulls your baby to sleep, especially when you’re in the car or on a train. To help your baby get to sleep, try cuddling your baby as you gently rock in a rocking chair. Slowly walking around the room might do the trick too. Swinging cribs help some babies to settle down at night as the rocking motion helps them drift off. You can even buy special baby hammocks that gently rock if your baby moves during the night.
Tip #5: A Dream Feed
When you’re about to go to bed, offer your sleeping baby one last feed. There’s no need to wake him, babies can feed in their sleep. This top up feed might help your baby a little bit of extra sleep.
Tip #6: Sharing Sleep Cycles
Sleeping close to your baby. Research has found that mothers and babies share sleep cycles if they sleep together, and that this can help the mothers get more sleep. You could use a co-sleeper, place your baby’s cot or crib next to where you sleep, or share a bed with your baby. Just like safe cot sleeping guidelines, it’s important to follow the safe co-sleeping guidelines. For example, do not let your baby bed share with a smoker or anyone who has consumed alcohol, avoid overheating and use a firm mattress.