If you’re a new parent struggling with sleep, both yours and your baby’s, you came to the right place. Sleep is vital because it will help you have more energy to bond with your baby and reduce your risk of developing postpartum depression. Now, remember while we typically associate postpartum depression with women, new fathers can also experience this. It can get so bad sometimes that they can regret having a baby as a lot of things change when a baby enters the equation. One of those changes is not being able to sleep properly at night. Now having said that, here are some of the best baby sleep tips that will keep you and your child rested.
Understand baby sleep
Babies’ sleep routine isn’t the same as yours. Keeping your baby awake just to make them tired and sleepy can often have opposite results. There’s something called over-stimulation that will make it difficult for them to fall asleep and stay asleep. An overtired baby will sleep shorter, so keep that in mind.
Start with a swaddle
During the early months (four to five), babies have the startle reflex that makes them feel like they are falling constantly. This causes jerking movements that can wake up your child. However, if you keep them in a tight swaddle, it will prevent them from startling themselves while they sleep and allow them to sleep longer and better. When your baby is snug as a bug in a rug, you will also get to catch more sleep!
The dreamfeed is the feeding that you give your baby just before they go to sleep. This prevents them from waking up just as you get into your own bed which is the worst thing in the world for a tired parent. The dreamfeed will really help your baby get more sleep and give you some extra bedtime before getting up.
Limit day naps
Waking up a sleeping baby might sound cruel, but long day naps will definitely rob both you and your child of nighttime sleep. Make sure your baby doesn’t sleep more than 2.5 hours at once. Wake your baby up gently, offer to feed, keep them awake a little and allow them to grab another nap. If you feel like they need more sleep, prolong that one nap and go back on track with a next nap.
Invest in cozy baby clothing
Baby’s skin is very sensitive and even the slightest discomfort can cause irritation and even pain which will make it impossible for your child to get a good night’s sleep. Luckily, today you can find organic baby clothes made of bamboo that is stretchy and provides your baby with a perfect fit. These are super soft on your little one’s delicate skin yet are perfect for both sleep and daily activities. Plus, the cuteness factor is immeasurable!
Play some white noise
No one likes to miss a party, not even babies. If you leave your child listening to all the fun that’s happening around the house, it can be very hard for them to fall asleep. So, bring some party to them in the form of a light fan or white noise machine. Getting your baby used to noise will be super practical in the future when you have guests over or have a family outing. Your baby will probably end up sleeping right through the event without you having to shush guests.
Come up with good routines
Babies love a good routine. They bring some order into a chaotic world and provide them with a sense of safety. So, make sure to choose a good pre-nap or pre-sleep routine that works for you and your kid. For instance, you can take the baby to their room, close the blinds, turn on the noise machine, sing a song and end your routine with a few soft loving words. You can say “I love you and I hope you have a good nap”. A full bedtime routine might be a bit longer and can involve a bath, massage, reading a book and feeding. However, what’s important is to stay true to your bedtime routine as much as possible to cue the baby for sleep. Over time, your child will learn what follows after a bedtime routine and will instantly become sleepy.
Learn to move your baby
If your child falls asleep in your arms, it can be tricky to move them without waking up. However, there are a few tricks. Watch their eyes and see if their eyes are moving under the lids (this means they are in deep sleep). Wait until their muscles are relaxed and listen for deep breathing. You can even administer a little test: Lift your baby’s arm and drop it. If they don’t stir, you can safely move them. Still, try to be as gentle as possible when laying them in the crib. Keep one hand on their back and one hand on their tummy to provide a continuous pressure that eases the transition. If they start to move, pat their belly a bit before you pull away. Also, try to maintain the same position as you pick them up and lay them down (as flat as possible). If you struggle to keep the position while putting them down in the crib, grab a step-stool to make putting your baby down a bit easier.
Ditch harsh lighting
Sleeping in total darkness provides babies and parents with the tightest sleep. But, what do you do when you need to change a diaper or engage in a bedtime story? You need some lighting that doesn’t disrupt your baby’s inner clock. Luckily, there are light wavelengths that are less likely to awaken your child completely. White lighting that contains the blue part of the spectrum is the most harmful to sleep, especially when it comes to young children. So, if you can block that blue light, you might minimize the negative effects of lighting at night. Think of grabbing low watt amber bulbs that will provide you with enough illumination yet protect your baby from blue wavelengths. There are also blue light filters that can reduce the negative effect of viewing electronics at night.
Sometimes, even 5 minutes of extra sleep will mean the world both to you and your baby. So, keep these tips in mind and you’ll have a well-rested and energetic family!