Sleep with babies is rough… you can have a good sleeper, an in the middle sleeper, or a bad sleeper, and there may be nothing wrong at all with baby. Remember, though, that babies often generally won't sleep through the night during their 8-9 months of life, and it's normal for them to want to get up and have a nighttime feeding at that age.
Supplementing with cereal in a bottle is not recommended unless there is a medical reason such as reflux, and solids of any kind are not recommended until at least 6 months of age. However, there are some tips you can try to help with sleep.
Babies, especially newborns, love to be swaddled. It can be a source of great comfort for them, and can help them feel as secure as they did in the womb, thus helping them to sleep better. When in the womb, the last month or so, their space is tight, and they're pressed in there with little room. Re-creating that environment can help them to feel safe, like they did when in the womb, and can help them to feel at ease.
They're thrust from a tight space to a wide open space, so some anxiety about that is totally normal. Babies often outgrow swaddling by 6-8 months of age, but may still sometimes want that tight feeling around them, like they had when swaddled. If you're having trouble mastering the swaddle blanket folding technique, never fear, you can buy a swaddler, which velcros around the baby, for as little as $10 to $20.
While this is not a habit you want following your child into later years, many children who do not take to a pacifier will turn to thumb sucking once they've discovered their hands. Thumbs work like a pacifier would, giving the child something to suck on when they're trying to self-soothe themselves to sleep. Benefits to it: It's free and they'll never lose their thumbs!
However, there is a downside: Thumb sucking is a hard habit to break, some have said it's harder than pacifiers because, well, you can't take away their thumbs, it can be pretty germy, and, like pacifiers, it can lead to crooked growth of teeth if you're not careful.
Although there's not much you can do about it if your child discovers their thumbs and begins thumb-sucking, it's not a habit that's very good to get into, so use this sleep technique sparingly.
8 Bedtime Routine
This is great for all kids to get into, and has shown to have many lasting benefits on sleep habits well into the young childhood years. Getting into a quiet bedtime routine (and don't forget to read to them!) can help get even babies ready for bed and able to relax.
Start with cleaning the room up, then a lavender bath, rub on some lotion to help relax baby, maybe gentle music, and a bedtime story, then tuck them in and let them drift to sleep. It's one of the best ways to get babies to go to bed on their own, and, if you modify the routine as they grow older, it can help them get ready for bed for years. And there's really no disadvantages to having a bedtime routine, only benefits!
Some babies find that mommy rocking them really soothes them into a peaceful sleep. Do the bounce if you need to, or the booty pat. Rocking can help recreate a feeling they had in the womb, which adds security and comfort to the situation, and can put baby right out.
And if you're worried about them getting spoiled, don't. Research is showing that you cannot spoil a young baby. If it continues into toddler-hood, that's another story entirely. But rocking can really be helpful in those first few months of life.
Breastfeeding has many benefits, and one of which is that it promotes and can help with better sleep habits for babies. Studies show that breast milk is not as harsh on baby's tummy as formula is, which can keep baby from having stomach problems which would cause discomfort, and disturb their sleep.
Breastfeeding is also shown to be soothing to baby, and promotes closeness and bonding with mom, which in turn makes the baby calmer and more at ease, which leads, often, to better sleep. If you already breastfeed, that's awesome! If you cannot or do not, then don't beat yourself up over it, there are other techniques you can use to help baby sleep.
Just like massage can help relax an adult, gentle massage at bedtime can help a child. There are many techniques you can use that are perfectly safe, and have been shown to promote sleep in babies who are restless.
There are even some techniques you can use to help with colic and gas. Many have seen a lot of positive results when using lavender-infused oils or lotions when giving infant massage to their children.
4 Motorized Cradle
The jury is out on this one, as to just how much a motorized rocking cradle or bassinet really helps with sleep, but one thing is for certain… some people swear by them. They can be pricey, but they could really be helpful to some babies, however, I think that's going to be a personal thing for each baby, just like some babies don't like swings while others do.
If it's something you want to try out, then go for it… just don't get your hopes up that this method will be fail proof.
Many, many mothers find that pacifiers work wonders for their child. However, if you're breastfeeding, some breastfeeding consultants don't recommend pacifiers out of fear it will cause latch problems.
Also, some kids don't take to pacifiers, some kids prefer to suck their thumbs or fingers. It's worth a try, you can get a 3 pack of pacifiers for cheap from almost any store that sells baby supplies, but remember that baby may not take to it.
Many babies need quiet, but for many others, they enjoy some quiet music playing in the background when they're trying to sleep. Just like some people need the background noise of a fan or TV, some babies prefer to have the background noise of soft music.
There are noise machines you can get that play white noise, but some babies don't like white noise and prefer to have actual, soft music. It's all about what works for that baby. You can get a cheap boombox anywhere, and simply burn a disc of classical or bedtime music and play it on low until baby falls asleep.
1 White Noise Machine
And on the other hand, while some babies prefer music, others still like White Noise Machines instead. These things can often be put on a timer, so that you don't have to go in and turn it off, and there's no disc burning needed, so it is easier in that regard. Again, some babies like quiet, and others prefer music instead, but if you think your baby likes white noise, there are apps you can download to test it out that will play white noise.
If your child has sleep issues that cannot be helped at all, then it may be time for a trip to the pediatrician to determine if anything else is going on. But, often it's just the tiniest change that can really help a sleep situation and improve your baby's sleep habits.