Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Get Your Baby to Sleep with Merino Kids

It is the goal of every new parent to get their child to sleep more - to find that magic cure that will result in a solid night's sleep for everyone.  After 4 kids, and MANY sleepless nights I can honestly say that I have yet to find that magic cure that has worked for all of my kids.  For every piece of advice given by an "expert", there is an equally compelling counter argument by another "expert".  Some will recommend co-sleeping, while others advocate teaching a child to fall asleep on their own and never EVER rocking them to sleep.  It is commonly accepted that formula-fed babies sleep longer than breastfed babies (which has been my own experience), but then there are my lucky-duck friends whose breastfed babies came home from the hospital sleeping 5 hours!  (I'll admit that I had to hold myself back from slapping them when they told me that).

Whether you're in the midst of the all-night feeding sessions or just trying to get your baby to sleep a few more hours, you'll want to try out some of these tips.  They may not get you a full 8 hours, but when you're walking around in a zombie haze, a few extra hours is better than nothing.

1.  Establish a Daily Routine - Babies thrive on routine and the faster you can establish one, the happier everyone will be.  Do your best to wake your baby at the same time every day (and don't let them sleep in just because they partied all night).  Try to make daytime active for your baby.  Go outside and get some fresh air and make sure that they are engaged with new sights and activities.  Following your child's natural leads, try to keep naps at the same time each day.  This works best if you keep a written record for a few weeks of when your child naturally goes to sleep.  By charting their natural rhythms, you can figure out the best time to lay your baby down for a good nap, which will hopefully lead to a good night's sleep.  That being said, DO NOT SKIP NAPS!  A tired baby will actually sleep worse than a well-rested one.  I don't know why this is, but I can tell you without fail that an overly tired baby will end up keeping you up all night!

2.  Start a Bedtime Routine - I could have added this to the Daily Routine, but I find the most important part of getting a child to sleep is following the Bedtime Routine.  Other than my first baby who slept 12 hours through the night at 3 months, my other babies have not slept through the night until after they weaned from breastfeeding.  They are all, however, excellent sleepers now that they are toddlers and preschoolers.  I credit most of this to our bedtime routines.  Make sure that you have a bedtime routine and that it is SIMPLE!  Once a routine is started, your child will expect you to go through each step in it.  They will know if you try to rush it.  Our bedtime routine involves taking a bath, brushing our teeth, reading a story, saying our prayers, and going to bed.  It used to involve a snack, but we got in trouble with the dentist for that!  Oops!

3.  Let Them Fuss a Little - This may be one of the hardest things to do as parents, but babies really do need to learn to fall asleep on their own...and sometimes that requires a little fussing!  Now, I am not talking about letting your child scream or have a meltdown in their crib.  With our babies, we used the Ferber Method that has you put your child down drowsy but awake.  If they begin crying, you wait 5 minutes, go in to soothe them (without picking them up), and then leave.  This process continues increasing by 5 minutes (or more) each time until your child falls asleep on their own.  It is hard for the first few days, but your baby will soon learn to put themselves to sleep on their own.  In the middle of the night, I recommend letting your child fuss for a few minutes before going in to them to see if they will fall back to sleep on their own.

4.  Make Your Baby Comfortable - Try to make your baby's room as conducive to sleep as possible.  There should be a noticeable difference in the light between daytime and nighttime.  Nightlights can help alleviate fears of the dark and noise machines can help drown out any other sounds that might wake them in the night.

Also, consider using a swaddle or sleepsack to help your baby feel warm and secure.  We were recently given the opportunity to try out the Merino Kids sleep sack for babies 0-2.  This sleep sack is made of soft Superfine Merino wool with an organic cotton outer layer.  Their award-winning design is 100% natural, itch-free, and allergy safe.  Important for parents to note, this sack is machine-washable, durable, and naturally fire-resistent.

It is uniquely designed to grow with your baby with arm snaps and I just love the belt holes that allow you to take your baby from car seat to stroller to bed without removing them from their sleep sack.  Unlike other sacks that only last for a few month before your baby outgrows them, this sleep sack is designed to be used from birth-age 2, making it a great investment.

Another great feature is the sack's natural ability to regulate body temperature.  The sack captures and circulates air to insulate your baby when the room temperature falls, and releases excess body heat and moisture as the room temperature rises. Your child stays warm and dry without overheating.  I don't know the science behind it, but I do know that Baby C's first night in his sleep sack was the first night that I did not have to wake up to cover a chilly baby!

As parents, we will all spend many nights rocking, swaying, cuddling, consoling, kissing, and otherwise begging our little bundles of joy to sleep.  Try the tricks, test out some new products, and remember that this, too, shall pass!  Your little darling will be sleeping through the night before you know it, and you'll be on to the next parenting challenge!

Thanks for stopping by!  I'd love to hear from you and have you join us back again!
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