Your baby’s sleep schedule may be one of the things you struggle to figure out. Sleepless nights and irregular nap times are part and parcel of every new parent’s journey initially. Newborn babies have not yet developed a circadian rhythm, the biological rhythm that helps them adapt their sleeping and waking, eating and other schedules.
Here are some smart tips to help improve your baby’s sleep schedule:
1. Feed Smartly
Breastfeeding your baby is one way to relax them, but by creating a difference between daytime feeds and evening feeds, you can prepare your baby to sleep. If you’re feeding your baby in the daytime, make the feeding time social and lively. On the other hand, make night time feeds quiet and calm. This helps your baby’s adjusting circadian rhythms to distinguish between day and night and create a more regular sleep cycle for your baby.
2. Create A Relaxed Ambience
Bright lights, sudden or big movements and other stimulation in the hours close to bedtime can keep your baby from falling asleep, because they are more stimulated to these new things in their environment. Try some dull and warm lighting, avoid upbeat music and help your baby relax a little when bedtime approaches. And in case they wake up in the middle of the night, try to soothe them and put them back to bed without talking to them, so that they are not woken up further.
3. Put Your Baby In Bed While Drowsy
You may have the habit of holding your baby while putting them to sleep, and then putting them in their cot once they are asleep. But many will suggest that you put your baby in the cot when they are still awake, but mostly drowsy. This may not help them fall asleep faster, but it teaches your child to soothe themselves to sleep, so that if they wake up in the middle of the night, they can usually go back to sleep, unless they are hungry or need a nappy change!
4. Avoid Long and Late Naps
Your baby needs to be slightly tired when it’s bedtime, so plan their nap times accordingly. Although naps are essential to prevent overtiredness and stress in babies, avoid your baby from taking a long nap in the afternoon. Allow your baby to nap in the morning, and take a shorter nap in the late afternoon so that they are once again, tired in time for bed.
5. Create A Bedtime Routine
Whether it’s changing your baby into their pajamas or giving a gentle warm bath, decide on a set of activities for a few hours leading to bedtime. This is how you can teach your baby’s body to prepare for bedtime. Since babies do not have an idea of day and night, giving them cues regularly can help them realise when it is time for bed.
Of course, every baby is different, so you might want to go about sleep training on a trial-and-error basis. Because while some moms find that feeding their baby helps put them to sleep, other moms say that a warm bath is what helps most. See what your baby likes most. It may take some time to figure out your baby’s sleep patterns, but be patient and try new things. It will most certainly help!