How To Put A Baby To Sleep
|January 19, 2012||Posted by under Newborn Baby Care|
Thinking about how to put a baby to sleep is one of the topics that make new parents and seasoned veterans alike feel a bit nervous. Everyone knows that no two babies are alike, and no one method of getting babies to sleep will work perfectly for every child.
I have six children, and none of them have followed the same pattern. Oddly enough, my most easy going child was my worst sleeper as a baby. He is our second child and we were so surprised when nothing we tried got him into a good sleeping pattern.
Our first son was a total dream in the sleep department, so naturally, we thought that we were baby experts, and were so surprised when we realized it was luck of the draw.
So, here’s what I have learned are the most important factors in establishing good sleep habits for your baby. And, please remember, if you cannot follow any of these guidelines, it doesn’t mean that your child won’t sleep. Getting a baby to sleep is a bit of an art form, not a science. If something is not working, try something else. Sooner or later, you will hit on your baby’s “secret sauce” for sleeping.
Create A Routine
This does not need to be elaborate, but just keep in mind what you want to do right before you put your baby down, and do it every single time. The routine that I created for my current baby goes something like this: Carry baby up to have a diaper change, swaddle with an Aden + Anais muslin swaddling blanket, hold him close in a cradle hold as I walk to his crib, sing a song while looking into his eyes, give him a quick kiss, lay him down. My baby knows when these things start happening that he is going down for his nap, or bedtime. The routine gets him in the frame of mind to sleep. So, put together a short routine, and stick to it.
Create An Order To Wake Time
Some moms like to follow an Eat, Wake, Sleep routine, while others like to follow a Wake, Eat, Sleep routine. There really isn’t a right or wrong. We follow EWS here, but my mother always did WES with her four children, and we were all dream sleepers (pardon the pun!). Again, the most important thing here is to do what your baby responds best to, and then stick to that one. Younger babies are going to need to eat more often, so they will go through the cycle much more often than older babies.
Create A Calm Sleeping Environment
We have a smaller house, so this one is always tough for me. The kitchen is on the same level as the baby’s room, so meal times are always tricky, especially when the baby is napping. Consider putting a fan, or a white noise machine in the baby’s room. This will act as a filter, and hopefully, help your baby to stay asleep.
Realize That Some Babies Sleep More Than Others
This has been a bit of a revelation for me with my sixth baby. For whatever reason, he does not nap nearly as much during the day as my other babies, so we are just going with the flow. If I were to put him down for as many naps as are suggested for his age, he would be miserable. So, I keep him up and watch him for signs of tiredness.
Signs of tiredness include:
- Rubbing the eyes or ears
- Rubbing his face into your chest or snuggling into your neck
- Shaking head back and forth
Now, it is not wise to wait for signs of tiredness in all babies. If you wait until they are showing tiredness, some babies may be past the point of not being able to sleep. For some, you will need to put them down right before the first signs of tiredness pop up. This is where knowing your baby is so important.
Expecting to have your baby all figured out in the first month or two, usually is an unrealistic expectation. This is a process that takes months and months.
The journey to sound sleep can be a long process, but don’t worry, you and your baby will get there, you just have to keep working towards consistency.