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Basic Tips for Baby Sleep Routines

by Tania Cowling | March 21st, 2016 | Behavior, Infants/Toddlers

sleeping_babyAre you sleep deprived? This is nothing unusual for parents who are very sleepy and their baby isn’t. Whether this is your first baby or not, getting your infant to sleep like a dream takes some planning. Here are a few tips to settle down your sweetie and hopefully get some extra zzzz’s for yourself.

Good sleeping habits for babies are all about routine. Newborns don’t really know the difference between day and night – their internal clocks aren’t up and running yet. Besides, their tiny stomachs can’t hold a lot of milk so they will be hungry every few hours. Around six to eight weeks, a baby will start to sleep for longer stretches. At this age period, babies can begin a sleep schedule linked to feedings with a nightly bedtime around 7 or 8 PM even though he isn’t sleeping through the night. Get into the routine of bathing your child, zip up his pajamas, and put on soft music. This will eventually send a signal that it’s bedtime. As your baby gets older, he should be sleeping longer between bottles/nursing, and you may be able to drop one middle-of-the-night feedings.

Comfort your baby with caution. For the first few months it’s difficult to hear your baby cry, and you want to run to her and pick her up with each whimper. And, do you rock your little one to sleep each time? As babies get older they need to learn to self-soothe. It’s best to put your drowsy baby (not totally asleep) in her crib, so she connects this feeling with sleep and not having to drift to slumber in your arms. If she wakes up and it’s not time for a feeding, try to gently place your hand on her body or softly sing in her ear and she’ll probably fall back asleep without much coaxing. Also, make sure the room temperature is comfortable and dark. You may need some room-darkening shades or drapes for daytime naps.

One of the hardest things I encountered was getting errands done during the day and attending to my baby’s nap times, too. Letting your baby doze in the car seat or stroller allows you to shop, but a little one who gets used to motion for snoozing may find it hard to sleep in his crib later on. Plus catching those little naps when out-and-about means naptime will not be consistent. I know it’s hard, but try to organize your day where errands are done during awake time and still be home for scheduled naps in your baby’s bed.

As your baby is adjusting to sleep routines, don’t forget about the amount of hours you need, too. Crash early, as you know you will be up later that night for feedings or other reasons. This may save you from complete exhaustion during the day. And keep this comforting thought in mind: your baby is growing and he should be sleeping through the night sooner than you think.

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